The Atlanta Havoc of the AAL have signed former Jacksonville Shark defensive back, Micheaux Robinson, also known as the "Pit Bull".
Robinson played college football at Otterbein College. In 2005, he began his pro career with the Wyoming Calvary. In 2007, he signed with the Orlando Predators, where he finished the season with 38 total tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and three pass break ups. He then signed with the Jacksonville Sharks in 2010, compiling 73 tackles, three fumble recoveries, 23 pass breakups, and eight interceptions. In 2011 with the Sharks, he finished with 114 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, 46 pass break ups, and 11 interceptions. In 2011, he also signed with the Montreal Alouettes. In 2012, he played for Philadelphia and Jacksonville, putting up 64.5 tackles, one forced fumble, four fumble recoveries, 18 pass break ups, and six interceptions. From 2014 to 2017, he's been with the Sharks. In 2017, he had 38 tackles, five interceptions, and three pass break ups.
The 5'9, 175 lbs, 34 year old will be a great addition to the Havoc's defensive backfield. He is, among many, considered elite and he has a ton of experience that'll help the young defensive backs grow. I project that Robinson will have over 60 tackles, at least 20 pass break ups, five forced fumbles, and six interceptions to earn 2nd Team All-AAL honors.
And overall, the crazy, big off season for the Havoc of Atlanta keeps chugging forward.
Tampa Bay Storm Suspend Operations
Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment announced that it has decided to suspend operations of the Tampa Bay Storm, effective immediately.
Steve Griggs, Chief Executive Officer of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment released this statement, "We have informed the League Commissioner Scott Butera, and the remaining members of the Arena Football League, that we will not operate a franchise in 2018. This was not an easy decision, but after deep consideration, evaluation, and introspection, we have elected to reallocate the resources dedicated to arena football for other uses within our organization, including the growth of Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties".
This is a huge blow on the AFL, but it happened due to rising league costs and reduced league revenues which forced the organization to re-evaluate the teams financial situation. They will explore opportunities in the future.
This also puts players in the free agency. Big time athletes like elite receiver Joe Hills, quarterback Chris Bonner, defensive tackle Jordan Miller, defensive back Jabari Gorman, linebacker/wide receiver Alvin Ray Jackson, kicker Mark Lewis, among many others.
The folding of Tampa Bay is good news to some; like the NAL and AAL. They can bring in some of these players. This also may make other teams want to leave the AFL, and go over to these leagues. Not to mention, the players now have many options, and so do teams in other leagues.
Whatever happens next after this, it'll be sure to shake the arena world.
The Atlanta Havoc of the American Arena League have been shaping up their roster and coaching staff to be potentially the best in the AAL, and maybe even arena football.
Everyone has seen the eye opening, jaw dropping transactions made by this football team. But first we'll have to go all the way back to their first two signings; wide receiver Martell Moore and quarterback Michael Eubank. Those two alone made some arena fans get out of their recliner, but what since then has said this offense will be deadly? Receivers Thyron Lewis, Malachi Jones, Ryan McDaniel, Corey Alberty, Nnambi Agude, Isaiah Jupiter, Josh Holderfield, and Brian Robinson. Each of those guys are huge names, or have a huge ability to have a name in this sport.
The one thing this offense may have trouble with is the offensive line, but take it as a good sign that each of these guys have good size (ranging from 6'5-6'6, 300+ pounds), and the trench men came from big name colleges, with two veterans in the large group. Of the offensive line, keep an eye on Eric Janeau Jr., Spencer Whitehead, Brandon Lampkin, and Quentin Spencer-Jones.
The head coach of the Havoc, Boo Mitchell will most likely serve as the offensive coordinator of this team as well. He has served as a coach for 17 years and still going strong, and has a knack for offense.
He set records as a running back for Vanderbilt, won multiple SEC honors in his career, and as a coach he has won a state championships in the high school level as an assistant coach, and has two National Championship rings with the North East Georgia team as the offensive coordinator for the eighth grade Football University National Tournament.
Now let's talk about the defense of Atlanta. This side of the ball is extremely important. Defense wins football games, as the old saying goes. The defense is full of some serious, underrated skill. On the defensive line, they have guys such as Larry Ford, Dalvon Stuckey, Donte Rumph, and Larry Stallings. Ford and Stuckey are going reign havoc on some teams, for sure. But no one is throwing on the defensive back field that includes some great talents, young and old, from LaRoche "Action" Jackson, Eric Crosby, Antonio Bearden, and Calvin Harris.
A bold prediction for this defensive back field is allowing less than 50 percent of passes being completed. In the linebacker corp, you can see an intriguing name if you were a fan of the National Arena League this past season; Zachary Brown. Brown was one of the brighter lights on the Georgia Firebirds, a now folded team. He led the team in rushing with 79 yards and one touchdown, he also had one interception, eight tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, and one forced fumble.
The other linebackers include Norman White, Jordan Grant, Derrick Cannon, and James Hairston. The defensive coordinator of the Havoc is Willie Gary. He played college football at Kentucky, and professionally with the St. Louis Rams, Scottish Claymores (NFLE), and Georgia Force (AFL). His coaching experience takes him to North Gwinnett, where he was an assistant coach for three years, then to the Georgia Force where he was a defensive coordinator for two years, then he was Clark Atlanta's defensive coordinator for three years, and last at Berkmar for three years.
There is no doubting that the Havoc are very stacked and is shaping up to be the best in the AAL, and could even be thrown into the conversation as one of the best in arena football right now.
A former NAL team that has yet to play a snap have joined the American Arena League (AAL). The Jersey Flight are owned by the team's Vice President and CFO, Kyna Felder-Ruiz and team President and CEO, Samuel Davis, Jr.
"We have been given a chance to do something that we never thought possible - the chance to not only be apart of a movement that puts our state back in the map but also that we are here to stay. No matter what, we will persevere. We are proud to be a part of the AAL and excited to have the opportunity to play among so many talented coaches and players. We are a part of a league who are all as passionate as we are. The time has come to show that we are 'Jersey Strong' and that we will take flight,” Davis said in a statement.
“As Vice President of the Jersey Flight I am very proud to say that we will be a part of a league that stands with the same values as we do. The Jersey Flight, as well as the AAL, is passionate about getting the community involved and showing the youth of our community that with perseverance, anything is possible. We will show the community that the Jersey Flight is for the community and that we will be the definition of 'Jersey Strong'”, Felder-Ruiz said in another statement.
The current Head Coach of the Jersey Flight is Jake Grande. He has eight plus years of experience in arena football, where he was a part of two Conference titles and three Arena Bowl appearances, along with an Arena Bowl Championship in the AFL in 2012. Coach Grande says, "As the Head Coach of the Jersey Flight, I could not be any more excited to be a part of the AAL. This league is filled with talented people, from the front office, to the coaches and players. We look forward to the 2018 season and bringing pro football to New Jersey."
This is a huge deal for the AAL. This will now be 13 teams for the league. With schedules already released, they may recall those and fit in the Flight.
The Sioux Falls Storm have added not just one, but two quarterbacks to their roster in Quinn Epperly and Paul Jones. Epperly formerly played with the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League. Jones formerly played at Robert Morris University.
Along with playing in the CFL in 2017, Epperly attended minicamp with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and New York Jets. He was also a stud at Princeton University. He set the NCAA record with 29 consecutive completions. Epperly also holds the school record for most passing yards and passing touchdowns in a game.
Jones threw for 5,667 yards and 60 touchdowns over his four years of football in high school. He transferred to Robert Morris after playing at Penn State.
“Students of the game! Quinn Epperly and Paul Jones are both quarterbacks that want to learn everything there is to learn about the indoor game," Storm head coach Kurtis Riggs said, per the league press release. "Quinn Epperly is a quarterback that has been on the cusp of making the NFL. Quinn is a smart, athletic quarterback that we feel can make the transition to the indoor game and can excel with his versatility. We are excited to see him come in and lead this team.
“Paul Jones is a big strong quarterback that can also run and pass. Paul is capable of making any throw needed but can also hurt you with his legs,” Riggs said of the second quarterback signed. “Both quarterbacks will come in and dominate the film room and learn the style of play that it takes to be successful."
The Indoor Football League will be playing their 10th season of play in 2018. The season will begin in February and United Bowl X is scheduled to be played on Saturday, July 7.
Sioux Falls will open their season with a rematch of United Bowl X against the Arizona Rattlers in Glendale, AZ. Their home opener will be on March 12.
Colin Kaepernick or Johnny Manziel to the AAL? Roughriders Co-owner Jim Jones Could Make It Happen
Jim Jones, new co-owner of the Richmond Roughriders of the AAL invited Colin Kaepernick to come dress in green and black.
TMZ Sports spoke with Jones about his new co-ownership with the Roughriders on Wednesday, and he also said he'd be willing to lay down a lot of money to bring in Kaepernick. Jones said that Kaepernick would be joining a winning team, and he's not wrong. The Roughriders won their championship just last season. Jones even takes Kaepernick's side on the anthem stance.
But that's not at all. Jones has reportedly said he's serious about courting Johnny Manziel to the team. And this could possibly happen. Some great NFL players and even current ones have played in arena leagues, like Kurt Warner and even Terrell Owens.
This would be huge for the young league. They already have big name players and teams, but Kaepernick and Manziel? That would boost the league's popularity and fan base by a lot. With Kaepernick hungry to play some ball again, this can't be too far off. Manziel has also been looking to play some football again. And while there is speculation that he could go north to the CFL, he could stay in states and play some AAL ball.
The Sioux Falls Storm have signed 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year Trey Watford. He recorded 129 tackles, six for a loss, and 12 pass deflections with the Nebraska Danger.
The 129 tackles were second in the league last season. He also had five games in which he recorded 10 or more tackles.
“Trey is a safety that can play so many different positions," Storm head coach Kurtiss Riggs said per the league press release. "He was Defensive Rookie of the Year and could have been Defensive Player of the Year. We are excited to have Trey's athleticism and leadership in our system."
Sioux Falls had run the league up until last season. They had won seven consecutive United Bowl titles before the Arizona Rattlers joined the league and defeated them in United Bowl IX.
Sioux Falls kicks off their season on Feb. 25 in a rematch with the Rattlers. That game will be played at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Glendale, AZ. Their home opener will be against the Bloomington Edge on March 12.
The regular season will conclude on June 16. The postseason will be begin the weekend of June 23. United Bowl X will be played on Saturday, July 7.
Maine Mammoths Make First Moves
The Maine Mammoths, who were announced on Tuesday, have made their first moves in franchise history with the hiring of head coach James Fuller, and the signing of quarterback Jonathan Bane.
Bane has 17 years coaching experience in football. He was most recently the offensive coordinator for the Bismark Bucks of the CIF in 2017, where he coordinated the Bucks offense to a CIF conference semi-final. In 2016, he was a defensive backs coach in the 91st East West College Shrine Game.
From 2011 to 2015, Fuller was with the Richmond Raiders of the PIFL. He helped lead the to a 10-2 record in 2012, along with their first playoff berth and PIFL Championship appearance. The Raiders had the #1 scoring offense and #2 scoring defense in the league. In 2011, Fuller's first year with the Raiders, he led them to a 6-6 record and a division championship game.
Before the Raiders, in 2010, he was the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Vigilantes of the AFL. He spent three years with the Dallas Desperados (2006-2008) of the AFL where he was the defensive coordinator, wide receiver and defensive backs coach and going to the playoffs each year with the team.
During the 2004-2005 seasons, he was a defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Soul. From 2002-2003, Fuller was the head coach of the Bakersfield Blitz and won the Western Conference Championship in his 2002 season. Fuller began his arena coaching career in 1999 as an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Portland/Oklahoma franchise of the AFL.
Bane played for the Bismark Bucks in 2017, where he played seven games and was later placed on injured reserve. Before that, he took snaps for the Tampa Bay Storm of the AFL and Colorado Crush of the IFL in 2016. Bane played for the Bloomington Edge of the CIF in 2015, and was later selected in the Major League Football Draft.
From 2014-2015, began his professional career with the Richmond Raiders of the PIFL where he earned the PIFL Offensive Player of the Year as a rookie. Bane was also First Team All-PIFL in 2015.
These are quality moves for the Mammoths. Bringing in a very experienced, successful coach such as Fuller was the right moved, and he brought in a quarterback in which he's familiar with. This will get the offense moving for the Mammoths.
The newest NAL franchise, the Carolina Cobras, have signed two elite players in quarterback Charles McCullum and wide receiver Jordan Jolly.
McCullum, a 6'2 quarterback out of Stillman College, has proven again and again why he is considered elite among the ranks of arena football quarterbacks. In 2017, he was second in the IFL in total yards, with 3,034 passing yards and 293 rushing yards with a combined 86 total touchdowns (74 passing, 12 rushing). In 2017 he was also First Team All-IFL Offense, as well being the back-to-back IFL's Most Valuable Player in 2016 and 2017.
Jolly comes to Carolina with McCullum. He played college football at Navarro College. In 2017, he was equally as mesmerizing as McCullum was. Jolly led the IFL in 2017 in receptions with 97, receiving yards per game with 69.4, and receiving yards with 1,110. He was also third in the league with 21 receiving touchdowns. Jolly was also on the First Team All-IFL Offense in 2017.
Carolina head coach Billy Back will be thrilled to have these guys back. Now he can play with a similar offense to the one he ran in 2017, which was very, very destructive to defenses. This also makes Carolina a very real competitor for the 2018 season.
The Atlanta Havoc of the AAL are shaping up to be one of the best in the league with the recent signings of Thyron Lewis and LaRoche Jackson.
Lewis, a 6'4 wide receiver, played college football at Howard University, where he recorded 30 receptions for 513 yards and four touchdowns from 2004 to 2005.
He was picked up by the Washington Redskins in 2006 as a member on their practice squad. He played for the Stockton Lightning of the af2 in 2008, where he recorded 28 receptions for 384 yards and six touchdowns. He was then traded to the af2's Tri-Cities Fever for future considerations.
He spent the 2009 season with the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings, still in the af2. He then went on to the IFL, and played for the Tri-Cities Fever in 2010 where he recorded 50 receptions for 675 yards and 25 touchdowns, earning second-team All-IFL honors. He was then assigned to the Cleveland Gladiators of the AFL in 2010. In 2013, he once again put up eye opening stats with 97 receptions for a team-leading 1,430 yards and 26 touchdowns.
In 2014, Lewis was assigned to the Los Angeles KISS. He was placed on recallable assignment on May 27, 2015. On June 4, 2015, he was assigned to the Gladiators. On Jan. 26, Lewis signed with the Jacksonville Sharks of the NAL where he recorded 42 receptions for 442 yards and eight touchdowns.
Jackson, a defensive back, played college football at Clark Atlanta University. He has played for a lot of his team's in his seven years of indoor football experience, including the Carolina Speed (2008), Bloomberg Extreme (2009), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2010), Jacksonville Sharks (2011-2012), Lakeland Raiders (2013), Cleveland Gladiators (2013-2014), Las Vegas Outlaws (2015), Jacksonville Sharks (2015-2017), and the Tampa Bay Storm (2017). In his career, he's recorded 587 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 29 interceptions, 59 pass breakups, 11 fumble recoveries, and six forced fumbles.
The Havoc have gotten their hands on some exciting players. These two are very experienced and will step up as leaders for this football team. These are the kind of players this team needs.