Los Angeles is the fifth of eight cities we believe should obtain an XFL franchise. The second-largest media market in the United States, trailing only New York, Los Angeles is becoming quite the football city. With two new NFL teams, the city also continues to support top-level college ball at USC and UCLA. An XFL team would probably test the bounds of the market, but it is better to be in Los Angeles than to neglect the city. Los Angeles is the first of four teams in the West Division.
This blog post is the fifth 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 McKenzie Milton (NCAA)/Tua Tagovailoa (NCAA Junior)
RB1 LaMichael James (NFL Free Agent)
RB2 Ronnie Hillman (NFL Free Agent)
WR1 Joseph Lewis (NCAA Junior)
WR2 Shaq Evans (NFL Free Agent)
WR3 Conor Murray (International Rugby)
TE Collin Klein (NFL Free Agent)
LT Andrew Wood (Navy Football)
LG Chris Watt (NFL Free Agent)
C Khaled Holmes (NFL Free Agent)
RG Andrew Vorhees (NCAA Junior)
RT Foster Sarell (NCAA Junior)
EDGE Jaelan Phillips (NCAA Junior)
DT Scott Crichton (NFL Free Agent)
DT Jordon Scott (NCAA Junior)
EDGE Brodie Retallick (International Rugby)
LB Colin Schooler (NCAA Junior)
LB Tony Fields (NCAA Junior)
LB Jordan Zumwalt (NFL Free Agent)
CB Will Davis (NFL Free Agent)
FS Brandon Hardin (NFL Free Agent)
SS Owen Farrell (International Rugby)
CB Darnay Holmes (NCAA Junior)
I could not decide on McKenzie Milton or Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, so I put them both in. Milton is the only current NCAA player on any of the teams who will be eligible for the NFL Draft (aside from the service academy players), but I believe will opt to go to the XFL. The rest of the LA offense is flashy, from exciting rusher LaMichael James to former college quarterback Collin Klein. If Tagovailoa bolts the NCAA for XFL money, it would be another blow to college football’s amateurism system.
The defense is star-studded, with a couple of amazing international rugby players giving rise to a host of possibilities. Brodie Retallick, in particular, is a 6-foot-8, 270-pound monster of a man who will set the edge like few others can. This team is loaded with UCLA players, perhaps the best of which is young EDGE Jaelan Phillips. A set of former NFLers, like Jordan Zumwalt (also from UCLA) and Will Davis, help round out the unit.