Pensacola, Florida is the fourth of eight cities we believe should obtain an XFL franchise. Pensacola is where Tim Tebow gets into the XFL. The city has a military tie, of which we’ve previously explained the importance, as well as the unique distinction of being one of the hottest hotbeds of high school football talent in the nation. Pensacola would be the perfect place to put a team, as the XFL can bring in young superstars from college who are uncomfortable about not being able to earn any money as NCAA players, while allowing them to come closer to home to play. Pensacola is the final team in the East Division.
This blog post is the fourth installment of an eight-part Nachmany Football series on our newly created XFL Blog in which we will try to create rosters for each team. The only way for the XFL to succeed is for its teams to bring in high-quality, marketable talent to play in the league.
In a recent long-form column, we laid out a roadmap to success for the XFL. If you want to read that piece, it provides an exhaustive analysis of the league’s potential pitfalls and opportunities for success, and you can check it out here. As it pertains to this series, we lay out eight cities in the United States where it would make sense to place a team, as well as identifying a talent pool that would make sense from the standpoint of recruiting.
Below is a roster from across the spectrum of recommended talent for the league: NFL free agents, star college football players who will not be eligible for the NFL (and therefore compensation), top-flight international and U.S. rugby players, and former service academy football players (Army, Navy, and Air Force). We tried to place players where they have some sort of tie to the geographic region, but if that was not possible, we looked for the best fit given their personality or background. For NCAA players, we list in parenthesis the class year they would forgo to prepare for XFL play during the fall of 2019.
Continuing on the topic of NCAA players, raiding the college ranks USFL-style is the perfect way to generate buzz and bring in some of the top talent in football – the fact that these college players are not paid, despite their play generating billions of dollars in broadcast revenue, is a significant market gap. Imagine if the XFL started poaching Heisman winners before the NFL even had a crack at them.
After looking at the roster, we will discuss the makeup of the team. Make sure to follow our parent Twitter account @NachFootball and our XFL blogging account @XFLBlog, where we will be posting this, so we can continue the conversation. Also, subscribe to our Nachmany Football YouTube channel for video content throughout the football year.
QB Tim Tebow (NFL Free Agent)
RB1 Trent Richardson (NFL Free Agent)
RB2 Dri Archer (NFL Free Agent)
WR1 Kevin Norwood (NFL Free Agent)
WR2 Jadon Haselwood (NCAA Freshman)
WR3 Dexter McCluster (NFL Free Agent)
TE Kennard Backman (NFL Free Agent)
LT Andrew Thomas (NCAA Junior)
LG Barrett Jones (NFL Free Agent)
C Cesar Ruiz (NCAA Junior)
RG Dallas Thomas (NFL Free Agent)
RT Alex Leatherwood (NCAA Junior)
EDGE Jake Bequette (NFL Free Agent)
DT Louis Nix III (NFL Free Agent)
DT LaBryan Ray (NCAA Junior)
EDGE Joshua Kaindoh (NCAA Junior)
LB Corey Lemonier (NFL Free Agent)
LB Dylan Moses (NCAA Junior)
LB Robert Beal (NCAA Junior)
CB Patrick Surtain Jr. (NCAA Sophomore)
FS Gerod Holliman (NFL Free Agent)
SS Richard LeCounte III (NCAA Junior)
CB C.J. Henderson (NCAA Junior)
Tim Tebow is back, folks. Putting this former SEC great into the heart of SEC country is going to sell thousands of tickets and bring in millions of viewers. He joins a team that features some other former SEC stars on offense, like Trent Richardson, Kevin Norwood, Dexter McCluster, and Barrett Jones. Alex Leatherwood, currently going into his sophomore year at Alabama, will be an anchor at right tackle to protect Tebow’s blind side. With the right combination of blocking scheme and utilization of personnel, this team could lead the league in rushing.
Title Game Moments | 2007 BCS National Championship: Tim Tebow hits Andre Caldwell for a TD, to cap a monumental 1st half by the #Gators on #OhioState#Florida #GoGators #SEC #CFBPlayoff #NationalChampionship pic.twitter.com/hy9tgqzzOq
— SEC Football Vids (@SECFootballVids) January 8, 2018
On defense, this unit is packed with future NFL first rounders. From Patrick Surtain Jr. and Dylan Moses to Robert Beal and LaBryan Ray, snagging this contingent of superstars would make this defense better than any in the NCAA when the XFL’s season kicks off in January 2020. Mixing in players like Corey Lemonier and Louis Nix III gives this unit some experience to help bring the younger players along.
It is likely that this team would be the favorite to win the first XFL Championship.