On Tuesday, TSL released the roster for perhaps the team with the most cache, The Jousters. Longtime NFL coach Kevin Gilbride is returning to the sidelines for the first time since the XFL postponed their 2020 season, and he’s bringing with him to Houston many of the players and assistants who were on the New York Guardians with him.
The Jousters will be starting their six-week season on Saturday at 3 pm on Fox, and they will be facing TSL’s 2020 Champs The Generals. TSL’s first-ever marquee game on network television will feature two notable quarterbacks squaring off in the Jousters, Luis Perez and former NFL veteran Ryan Mallett.
Before we get there, let’s take a look at The Jousters roster position by position.
Luis Perez (Texas A&M Commerce/ Los Angeles Rams/Birmingham Iron/ Philadelphia Eagles/Detroit Lions/ Los Angeles Wildcats/ New York Guardians)-
Luis Perez, the former Harlon Hill trophy winner, has had a unique journey since turning pro back in 2018. And it’s a topsy-turvy voyage that has led the talented 26-year old to his next detour in the Spring League. In 2020, Luis Perez made great strides in the XFL as a Quarterback and as a leader. He was finally starting to put it all together before the pandemic abruptly pulled out the plug from him and many of the league’s ascending players.
Luis Perez is talented enough to be on an NFL roster, but the truth is leagues like the AAF, XFL, and now TSL are his best chances to get on the field, get meaningful reps and prove himself. Reuniting with Coach Gilbride in Houston might provide one final pathway back to the National Football League.
Drew Anderson (Murray State/Arizona Cardinals)-
The 25 year old, Drew Anderson spent time on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad in 2019 before briefly being elevated to the active roster of the final game of their season. Anderson originally went to the University of Buffalo, but as a backup to Tyree Jackson, he decided to transfer to Murray State to get playing time. His size (6’4 220) and his athletic ability is what got him looks in the NFL. Working behind Luis Perez and with Kevin Gilbride, who has guided many quarterbacks over the years to success should be a good learning experience for Anderson.
Lavon Coleman (Washington/ Houston Texans/ Seattle Seahawks/ Green Bay Packers/ Seattle Dragons)-
Lavon Coleman has bounced around NFL practice squads since going undrafted out of the University of Washington. Where he earned the Iron Husky Award, Coleman has had to fight hard to get notice and playing time, and in TSL, he could finally get his chance to shine. At 6’0, 209, Coleman has good size, power, and agility and has rededicated himself since his college days, where he weighed in at 235. Hopefully, the hard work pays off and leads to another look from NFL teams.
De’Lance Turner (Alcorn State/Baltimore Ravens/ Miami Dolphins)-
Turner, a first-team All-SWAC runner out of Alcorn State, went undrafted but impressed the Baltimore Ravens enough to last two seasons on their active and practice squad roster. The Dolphins signed Turner off of the Ravens practice squad. Still, ultimately, DeLance never got enough playing time to stick around and was released last offseason when NFL teams pared down their offseason rosters due to the pandemic. In TSL, Turner might get a chance to back to the days when he was terrorizing FCS defenses.
Damore’ea Stringfellow (Ole Miss-Washington/ Miami Dolphins/ New York Jets/ Seattle Seahawks/ Tennessee Titans/ Memphis Express/ Carolina Cobras)-
Stringfellow, the 6’2 218 long-limbed receiver, has never been short on talent, but his path since college has been a long winding road. In high school, Stringfellow was rated as the 51st best prospect in the country and the fourth-best recruit in California by ESPN.com, which also ranked him as the sixth-best wide receiver in the nation.
Stringfellow was an instant superstar at the University of Washington under Steve Sarkisian, before off-field issues led to him transferring to Ole Miss. After his junior season with the Rebels, where he posted career bests with 46 receptions for 716 yards and six touchdowns. Stringfellow decided to declare early for the draft and went undrafted.
As a pro, Damore’ea Stringfellow would have five different stints with four NFL teams in two years. Each time wearing out his welcome. In the AAF, he was waived after playing one game with the Memphis Express; if Stringfellow has his head on straight, he can finally live up to his immense talent level.
Tyler Palka (Gannon/Ottawa RedBLACKS/DC Defenders)-
The former Division II standout at quarterback and wide receiver. Tyler Palka has been defying the odds from day one. In his senior year in college, Palka made a move to receiver and racked up 1,121 all-purpose yards (459 rushing and 662 receiving) and also scored 11 total touchdowns on his way to All-PSAC Conference honors.
Palka defied the odds making a very deep DC Defenders receiving corps, which featured NFL veterans like Eli Rogers. Palka can provide a lot of versatility to the Jousters roster.
Anthony Ratliff-Williams (UNC/Las Vegas Raiders/Tennessee Titans)-
Back in 2019, many draft pundits felt that Ratliff-Williams made a mistake leaving school early. Ratliff-Williams caught 42 passes for 689 yards and two touchdowns in his junior year, but despite his size at 6’1 205 and good speed at 4.46 in the 40, many believed that ARW wasn’t a polished product coming out of school. Ratliff-Williams went undrafted, shined enough in the preseason to stick on practice squads, but teams like the Raiders gave up on him. TSL can be the perfect platform for his development.
Joshua Simmons ( Prairie View A & M/ BC Lions)-
In his two years on the Hill at PVAMU, Simmons was a versatile all-around contributor on offense and special teams. He caught 52 passes for 696 yards and four touchdowns. In all, he amassed nearly 1,300 all-purpose yards, 715 of them coming in an explosive 2016 season during which he was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Newcomer of the Year. The former track and field star may give the Jousters a jack-of-all-trades weapon on offense and special teams.
Johnathon Johnson (Missouri/Washington Football Team)-
The undrafted 5’9 slot receiver and returner out of Missouri looked like a promising prospect two years ago before injuries derailed his senior season. Johnson finished his career with 2,190 receiving yards — sixth on Missouri’s all-time list — with 153-career receptions, good for #8 in school history. Jonathon Johnson has a chance to get his career back on track by standing out with the Jousters.
Donnie Ernsbreger (Western Michigan/ Tampa Bay Buccaneers/ Jacksonville Jaguars/ DC Defenders)-
The former second-team All-Mac player is a terrific blocker. Ernsberger has played both fullback and tight end in college and his pro stints. Look for the Jousters to utilize him similarly.
De’Quan Hampton (Troy-USC/ Detroit Lions/New Orleans Saints/ LA Wildcats)-
Another former XFL player. The 6’4 225 former wideout is making the transition to tight end. TSL is the perfect training ground for a player like him to do just that. Hampton has great size and leaping ability, and in the XFL, he was just starting to scratch the surface of his potential and form a connection with veteran QB Josh Johnson.
Damien Mama ( USC/ Kansas City Chiefs/ New York Giants/ Dallas Cowboys/ San Diego Fleet/ Los Angeles Wildcats/ New York Guardians)-
With Luis Perez under center for the Jousters, it makes sense to protect him, by bringing in one of his former Guardian teammates in Damien Mama. The former USC road grader at 330 pounds has starting experience in both the XFL and AAF. After declaring early out of USC, Mama has spent time on NFL practice squads but has never been able to break through the glass ceiling and make an NFL active roster. At only 25 years old, Damien Mama still has good football left in him and might be TSL’s best linemen.
Tejan Koroma (BYU/ Kansas City Chiefs/ Houston Roughnecks)-
Undersized at 6’0 290, the former BYU center has been overlooked thus far in his pro career. Largely because of his unique build. After earning a contract in rookie minicamp. An injury back in 2018 with KC during a preseason game, which saw Koroma carted off the field, derailed his chances of competing for a roster spot.
Tejan Koroma had a highly decorated college career. He started in all 51 games played as a four-year starter. Consistently graded as BYU’s top offensive lineman, was named to the Pro Football Focus All-America Second Team (2017), And was a Three-time Remington Trophy watch list honoree. Pro Football Focus graded Koroma as one of the top four centers in college football. Koroma also received The Iron Man Award, the Offensive Player of the Year Award, as well as the Team Captain’s Award.
EJ Price (USC-Kentucky/ Saskatchewan Roughriders)
A former elite high school prospect, the Georgia native spurned several SEC offers to sign with USC. He was rated as the No. 10 OT and the state of Georgia’s No. 11 overall prospect in the 2016 recruiting cycle by 247Sports Composite Rankings.
After a few run-ins with the coaching staff at Southern Cal, Price lasted one season at USC before transferring to Kentucky. He never lived up to his billing in college, but there is still untapped potential there.
EJ Price played in The Spring League this past fall with the Generals, and he is back this time with the Jousters.
Hunter Watts (Central Arkansas/Denver Broncos)
The 6’8 Watts spent some time last summer with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent. He has great length with 35″ inch arms. Watts was a late developer in college and didn’t emerge as a standout until his senior season. The playing time in the Spring League will be invaluable for him.
Quentin Hall (Assumption)-
As a member of the Greyhounds in 2019, Hall was an AFCA First-Team All-American, All-New England, and Northeast-10 Offensive Lineman of the Year. Hall has the versatility to play tackle or guard for the Jousters.
Shaquille Wallen (MidAmerica Nazarene)-
The Spring League was made for players like Wallen. The 6’6 340 tackle is a relative unknown who is banking on his chance with the Jousters as an opportunity to get noticed. Which, at his size, is not very difficult. Wallen has spent time playing indoor football and in Europe.
Darrius Hicks (Fort Valley State)-
Hicks, a former All-SIAC player, is a raw small-school talent, and the Jousters coaching staff will be looking to tap into his potential.
Bunmi Rotimi (Old Dominion/ Chicago Bears/ New York Guardians)-
Bunmi Rotimi surprisingly got no play from NFL teams when the XFL season ended prematurely last March. Despite being one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the XFL. The 6’3 275 standout from Old Dominion was one of the XFL’s leaders in hurries and tackles for loss. Rotimi, who can play multiple positions up front, will give offensive linemen in TSL fits.
Tomasi Laulile (BYU/ Indianapolis Colts/New Orleans Saints/ Dallas Renegades)-
Laulile is a 6’2 285 interior defender who has spent time on the New Orleans Saints practice squad. Laulile is an athletic tackle that is still fairly new to the game of football. Laulile ran a 4.7 40-yard dash on his pro day and put up 21 reps on the bench press. He played for only two years at Westlake High School in California before signing with BYU. Still only 25 years old, Laulile is looking to find his way back to the NFL.
Domenique Davis (UNC-Pembroke/New York Jets)-
Davis, a 6’3 315 DII standout from UNC Pembroke, racked up 122 tackles, 15 TFLs, and 6 sacks in his three seasons in college. The New York Jets signed him as a UDFA in 2020, but unfortunately, Davis was released last summer when he failed his physical. If Davis is finally healthy, he can show in TSL why teams were interested in signing him out of college.
Darius Royster (North Carolina Central)-
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference defensive player of the year in 2019 is probably one of the best football players you’ve never heard of. Darius Royster was also named the 2019 Willie Davis Defensive Player of the Year as the top defensive player in HBCU football. The undersized edge-rusher Royster, at 6’2 215, topped the MEAC with 16.0 tackles for a loss, 9.0 sacks, and three forced fumbles and had 75 tackles. A great showing in TSL could get him back on the radar for NFL teams.
Darrius Moragne (Kansas)-
The 6’7 294 DE/DT out of Kansas went undrafted in 2020. He’s had workouts with NFL teams like the Chicago Bears, but he hasn’t been able to latch on with a franchise yet.
Ja’Michael Edwards-Lott (Grambling State- Nicholls State)
Edwards-Lott represents the type of player that you see a lot of in The Spring League. A small school guy who is trying to keep his pro-playing dreams alive by any means necessary. The former honor roll student, Ja’Michael Edwards- Lott negotiated his own contract to play pro football in Finland for the Seinäjoki Crocodiles. He also recently played in the Fan Controlled Football League with the Zappers.
Christian Sam (Arizona State/ New England Patriots/ Miami Dolphins/ Detroit Lions)-
The former sixth-round pick of the New England Patriots back in 2018 has had a taste of the NFL life as a player, and he even has a Super Bowl ring but still wants to find his way back to the show. The three-star recruit out of Texas has had injuries derail his career dating back to college. When he is on the field, he is a hard-hitting linebacker who could make his presence felt with the Jousters.
Nyles Morgan (Notre Dame/ Chicago Bears/ Tennessee Titans/ Arizona Hotshots/ Seattle Dragons)-
The former team captain for the Fighting Irish had a stellar career in college with 246 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks. He led the Irish with 90 tackles in 2016 and finished his career with 92 tackles and seven stops behind the line for the 2017 Notre Dame defense. Morgan brings a lot of talent and experience to the Jousters defense.
Colby Duncan (Stetson)
The 6’1 223 linebacker was a team captain at Stetson and the Pioneer Football League defensive player of the year in 2019. Unfortunately, NFL teams ignored Duncan when he was available in the 2020 draft class. Duncan is another classic example of a small-school player that falls through the cracks unnoticed when his college days end. The Spring League is providing Duncan a platform to be rediscovered.
Manoa Pikula (BYU/Green Bay Packers)-
The former fullback and linebacker at BYU, Pikula is a TSL veteran, having participated in the showcase since 2018. Never giving up on your dream takes on a whole new meaning with Manoa Pikula. Undrafted out of college, Pikula signed a free-agent deal with the Green Bay Packers. He was subsequently released and hasn’t found a way back to the NFL since. It must seem like a lifetime ago for him.
Derrick Jones (Mississippi/ New York Jets/ Green Bay Packers/ Houston Texans/ Seattle Dragons)-
The former sixth-round pick of the New York Jets back in 2017. Jones has always had the prototypical size at 6’2, and the ball skills as a former three-star recruit and college receiver to be a top-flight cornerback. But injuries and a lack of opportunity have derailed what seemed like a promising NFL career. In the Spring League and with the Jousters, Jones is getting the chance to rebuild his career.
DeJuan Neal (Shepherd University/ Washington Football Team/ New York Guardians)-
Another former NY Guardians defender joining the Jousters defense coordinated by former longtime NFL assistant and St. Louis BattleHawks DC Jay Hayes. Neal, received first-team All-Mountain Conference honors as a junior and senior in college. The Shady Side resident is a raw player who the Guardians used at safety and corner, but in the very deep defensive backfield that New York had, Neal had a hard time cracking the lineup. With the Jousters, he should have an opportunity for considerable playing time. The experience should be a good one for him.
AJ Hendy (Maryland/ Miami Dolphins/ LA Chargers/ Houston Texans/ New York Guardians/ Saskatchewan Roughriders)-
The 28-year-old safety out of Maryland, Hendy has a ton of experience in the NFL and was most recently one of the XFL’s best swiss army knives in the Guardians’ secondary. A hard hitter who can play both safety positions. Hendy brings a lot of toughness to the table and should help aid the Jousters’ younger defensive backs.
Shalom Luani (Washington State/ Oakland Raiders/ Seattle Seahawks/ LA Chargers/ Houston Texans)-
The former 2017 7th-round pick of the Raiders is best known worldwide for his association football career. The American Samoa-born Luani became a sensation playing American Football at Washington State and spent time with four different NFL teams. As recently as last summer, Luani was on the Texans roster before being released. Strictly an NFL special teamer and a very good one, Luani hasn’t been able to see playing time on defense. Still only 26 years old, Luani should get a real chance in TSL for the Jousters to show what he can do when given an extended opportunity.
Joshua Simmons (Limestone College/ Chicago Bears)
Joshua Simmons was an outstanding ball-hawking safety at Limestone. Simmons posted 15 career interceptions for his career – four of which were returned for touchdowns – and he had 50 passes defended. He left the Limestone football program as the career leader in solo tackles (167) and forced fumbles (4) while ranking second in total tackles (224) and third in fumble recoveries (3). When his college career ended, Simmons signed with the Chicago Bears and got injured, and spent the entire 2019 season on IR. In 2020, he was released. The Jousters and TSL could be the right forum to reintroduce the skillset he displayed in college.
William Likely (Maryland/ New England Patriots/ Toronto Argonauts/ Hamilton Tiger-Cats/ DC Defenders)
A prolific record-breaking kick returner at Maryland, the 5’7 William Likely has had a hard time making an impact in his four short abbreviated stints with pro football teams in the states and north of the border. His size has certainly played a factor in that, but in TSL, Likely will get an opportunity to showcase his electrifying ability on special teams and maybe even contribute some on defense.
Brandon Brice (Harding)
A small-school corner and special teams player out of Harding University. The 6’0 Brandon Brice is another TSL vet who is trying to keep his pro-playing dreams alive.
Kicker Ricky Aguayo (Florida State)-
Ricky Aguayo ranks fifth all-time at FSU in scoring with 329 points… His PAT percentage of .982 ranks second in school history behind his brother Roberto… And his field goal percentage of .705 is seventh in school history. Aguayo also finished his FSU career with a perfect 85-for-85 on PATs in ACC play.
Long Snapper Alonso Vera (California)-
Vera, who graduated in 2020, has been working hard and staying in training for an opportunity in the NFL. The Carson native went his entire Cal career without any errant snap on his resume.
Colton Schmidt (UC Davis/ San Francisco 49ers/ Cleveland Browns/ Buffalo Bills/ Birmingham Iron/ LA Wildcats)-
The 30-year old veteran pro punter brings a lot of pro experience to the table. Schmidt has punted 338 times in the NFL with a 44.0 yard average.
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