Creating XFL Rosters: Johnny Manziel and the San Antonio Franchise

San Antonio is the eighth and final city we believe should obtain an XFL franchise. While it would require a waiving of the “no criminality” rule that Vince McMahon discussed in his initial press conference, Johnny Manziel and the XFL are a match made in heaven – it happens in San Antonio. The city gives the XFL a franchise in Texas, while also being another city with military ties, with the Air Force’s Joint Base San Antonio nearby. San Antonio is the final team in the West Division.

This blog post is the last 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 Johnny Manziel (NFL Free Agent)
RB1 Ka’Deem Carey (NFL Free Agent)
RB2 Knile Davis (NFL Free Agent)
WR1 CeeDee Lamb (NCAA Junior)
WR2 Jalen Robinette (Air Force Football)
WR3 Terrace Marshall (NCAA Sophomore)
TE Michael Egnew (NFL Free Agent)
LT Tanner Hawkinson (NFL Free Agent)
LG Jack Anderson (NCAA Junior)
C Creed Humphrey (NCAA Junior)
RG Jarvis Harrison (NFL Free Agent)
RT Austin Deculus (NCAA Junior)

EDGE Damontre Moore (NFL Free Agent)
DT Ego Ferguson (NFL Free Agent)
DT Marvin Wilson (NCAA Junior)
EDGE Corey Bethley (NCAA Junior)
LB Arthur Brown (NFL Free Agent)
LB Kenneth Murray (NCAA Junior)
LB Zaviar Gooden (NFL Free Agent)
CB Johnthan Banks (NFL Free Agent)
FS Jacob Onyechi (Air Force Football)
SS Sean Williams (Navy Football)
CB Jamell Fleming (NFL Free Agent)

As Johnny Manziel goes, so does the San Antonio franchise. Adding NFL rushers Ka’Deem Carey and Knile Davis to the squad gives San Antonio an experienced backfield. Oklahoma wideout CeeDee Lamb may be the best player on offense, while Air Force’s Jalen Robinette also gets a chance to prove what he can do as his military commitment ends just before the XFL’s inaugural season. At right tackle, the acquisition of Austin Deculus is a gamechanger.

On defense, Damontre Moore returns to the Lone Star State and pairs with TCU’s Corey Bethley to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. Two service academy safeties in Jacob Onyechi (Air Force) and Sean Williams (Navy) are the perfect pieces to put a lid on the defensive backfield. Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, who recorded nine tackles and a sack in the Rose Bowl against Georgia as a freshman this year, may be an even bigger loss for the Sooners than Lamb, leaving the Big 12 powerhouse without two of its best players a year before they would have been eligible for the NFL.


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