Less than 24 hours after he was announced as the first head coach in the history of the Omaha franchise of the United Football League, Jeff Jagodzinski selected 20 players who will compete for a place on the team’s roster for the 2010 season.
The league’s first expansion draft allowed the Omaha head coach to select 20 players who impressed for the California Redwoods, Florida Tuskers, Las Vegas Locos and New York Sentinels during the 2009 UFL Premiere Season. An initial roster of 70 players will attend training camp before being trimmed to 52 for the regular season.
The Omaha team will play its games at Rosenblatt Stadium in 2010 before moving to TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in 2011.
Former Boston College head coach Jagodzinski selected nine players who played last year for the Tuskers, who went unbeaten during the regular season before losing the championship game to the Locos, who have four former players on the Omaha roster. New York contributes five former players and California two.
“I am pleased with the level of talent that we have selected to become the historic first players named to the Omaha team roster,” said coach Jagodzinski. “We have players who made a significant impact in the UFL last season and many with NFL experience who I am sure have the potential to become fan favorites here in Omaha.”
Among the expansion draft highlights is former First Round NFL Draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Wendell Bryant, who was selected 12th overall in 2002 and won a UFL championship with the Locos last season. Wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe will pose an offensive threat having led the New York Sentinels with 26 catches for 275 yards and a touchdown and been nominated for the 2009 UFL Player of the Year award.
Safety Willie Andrews led the league in punt return yards with 171 yards on 15 attempts with a long of 68 yards and was second in the league in kick returns with 371 yards on 17 attempts for the Florida Tuskers. Two former teammates who helped protect UFL MVP quarterback Brooks Bollinger – guards PJ Alexander and Fred Matua - also make their way to Omaha.
The Omaha team will face opposition home and away in the form of the Florida Tuskers, Hartford Colonials, Las Vegas Locos and Sacramento Mountain Lions and the 2010 season will run from early September to the week of Thanksgiving. The UFL will announce further expansion plans in the near future.
Football fans eager to learn about season ticket information for UFL games in Omaha can visit the www.UFL-Football.com website.
Omaha Expansion Draft Selections:
2009 UFL team
San Diego State
Omaha Expansion Draft Player Bios:
CB Terell Maze New York Sentinels San Diego State
Posted 13.5 tackles… finished second in interceptions for the Sentinels with 1 and broke up 6 passes, more than any other Sentinels defender.
CB DeJuan Tribble Florida Tuskers Boston College
Had the third most tackles on the team (22)… also had 1 sack for an 11-yard loss and an interception… tied for most broken up passes with 6.
DE Josh Savage Florida Tuskers Utah
Posted 2 tackles, 1 sack and 2 forced fumbles.
S Willie Andrews Florida Tuskers Baylor
Was fourth on the team with 21.5 tackles… led the league in punt return yards with 171 yards on 15 attempts with a long of 68 yards… finished second in the league in kick returns with 371 yards on 17 attempts.
DT Wendell Bryant Las Vegas Locos Wisconsin
Was drafted 12th overall in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals and played there from 2002-2004.
DT Ross Kolodzeij Las Vegas Locos Wisconsin
Posted 6 tackles and had 1 forced fumble which he recovered… had the second-longest fumble return on the team (36 yards).
DT Willie Williams Florida Tuskers Louisville
Contributed 5 tackles for the Tuskers.
LB Gary Stills Las Vegas Locos West Virginia
Finished seventh on the team in tackles with 16.5… broke up 2 passes and forced 1 fumble.
LB Adrian McCovy California Redwoods Arizona
Contributed 6 tackles for the Redwoods.
OG Martin Bibla Las Vegas Locos Miami
Led the offensive line for the Locos in 2009… spent three years with the Atlanta Falcons before he earned All-Arena team honors with the Philadelphia Soul in 2008.
OG PJ Alexander Florida Tuskers Syracuse
Anchored the Tuskers offensive line in 2009, helping Brooks Bollinger to become MVP of the league and the Tuskers to a perfect regular season.
OG Fred Matua Florida Tuskers USC
Helped the Tuskers to a perfect regular season in 2009… was drafted by the Detroit Lions and also spent time with the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns.
OG Adam Speer California Redwoods Oregon State
Protected quarterback Shane Boyd in the 2009 season… spent time with Atlanta Falcons.
OT Michael Fladell New York Sentinels Rutgers
Has spent time with the New York Giants and New York Jets… attended Rutgers University.
RB Shaud Williams Florida Tuskers Alabama
Was third in rushing for the Tuskers with 103 yards on 21 carries… also had 1 kick return for 33 yards, 1 catch for 3 yards and 2.5 tackles to help out the defense.
TE Christian Hopkins New York Sentinels Toledo
Made 6 catches for 67 yards and 1 touchdown for the Sentinels with a longest reception of 22 yards.
TE Ryan Neufeld Florida Tuskers UCLA
Has 2 catches for 6 yards and a touchdown.
WR Ryan Hoag New York Sentinels Gustavus Adolphus
Had a catch for 23 yards… attempted and completed 2 passes for 8 yards and helped the defense with 3.5 tackles.
WR Craphonso Thorpe New York Sentinels Florida State
Led the team with 26 catches for 275 yards, had 1 touchdown and a long reception of 54 yards… also had 2 punt returns for 2 yards and 1 tackle to help the defense.
WR Frank Murphy Florida Tuskers Kansas State
Finished fifth in receptions on the team with 14 for 113 yards… also had 3 touchdowns, tied for second most on the team…also aided the defense with 3.5 tackles.