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It’s draft time! XFL draft that is, and there are 24 reasons for Utahns to tune in

SHARE It’s draft time! XFL draft that is, and there are 24 reasons for Utahns to tune in
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Oliver Luck, XFL commissioner and CEO, makes comments during a news conference where he introduced Bob Stoops as the new general manager and head football coach of the Dallas XFL team in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.

Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — When the Alliance of American Football folded in late April, it took with it the football dreams of hundreds of players.

The next hope for many of these players — and others whose pro career has hit a curve — is in the reinvented XFL, which will hold its player draft Tuesday and Wednesday. Last week, the league announced the nearly 1,000 players who will be available for selection from the XFL player draft pool. It included 24 local players, as well as eight others who played for the AAF’s Salt Lake Stallions franchise — nine of those 24 locals also played for the Stallions.

The XFL, which is scheduled to kick off in spring 2020, has franchises in Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, New York, Washington, D.C., Tampa Bay and St. Louis.

The draft, according to the XFL, will be split into five phases: 1. Skill position players; 2. Offensive line; 3. Defensive front seven; 4. Defensive backfield; 5. Open positions (all remaining players after positional drafts, in addition to special teams). One quarterback will be assigned to each team prior to the draft.

Each of the eight franchises will be filling a 71-man roster, and player selections for the draft, will be announced on XFL.com, Twitter (@xfl2020), Instagram (@xfl) and the social media channels for the eight teams.

Here’s a look at each of the 24 locals in the XFL player draft pool:

Jordan Agasiva, OT, Utah

The former two-time All-Pac-12 right guard signed a rookie free-agent deal this past offseason with the Jacksonville Jaguars following a tryout. He also tried out with the San Francisco 49ers and was waived by the Jaguars before the season. 

Tanner Balderree, TE, BYU 

Balderree played for the AAF’s Stallions last spring and earned a rookie minicamp with the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 offseason.

Brandon Fanaika, OG, Pleasant Grove High

Fanaika earned a rookie minicamp tryout with the Detroit Lions after going undrafted this past offseason following a four-year career at Stanford.

Jalen Greene, WR, Utah State

The transfer from USC who had a big season for USU in 2018 ended up signing with the Los Angeles Rams this past offseason after going undrafted. He was a late cut by Los Angeles after catching seven passes for 69 yards and a touchdown in the preseason.

Micah Hannemann, S, BYU and Lone Peak High

The former Cougar and Knight had brief stints with the NFL’s Browns and Chargers in 2018 before joining the AAF’s Stallions last spring.

Jake Heaps, QB, BYU

The one-time Cougar quarterback has been several places since transferring from BYU. After finishing his college career first at Kansas, then Miami, he’s spent time in the NFL (New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks), CFL (Saskatchewan Roughriders, BC Lions) and the Fall Experimental Football League (Brooklyn Bolts), with his most successful time spent on the Seahawks’ practice squad in the 2016 season. Heaps currently is a radio personality with 710 ESPN in Seattle.

Chuck Jacobs, WR, Utah State

Jacobs spent two years with the San Francisco 49ers after going undrafted, then signed to the Baltimore Ravens practice squad in the 2015, where he briefly joined the active roster. He most recent stint was with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL.

Tuni Kanuch, OG, BYU and Bingham High

Kanuch was among the first signings for the AAF’s Stallions last fall following his four-year career at BYU.

Jordan Leslie, WR, BYU

Leslie has bounced around in his pro career, including playing for the AAF’s Stallions. He’s joined six different NFL teams and one CFL squad since going undrafted in 2015 and made a one-handed grab for 26 yards for Cleveland in 2017 for his lone NFL regular-season catch, and was most recently on an NFL team with Denver in 2018. 

Kavika Luafatasaga, LB, Utah

Luafatasaga last played for the Utes in 2017 and started 21 games as a junior college transfer. He had training camp invites with the NFL’s 49ers and Redskins before landing in the National Arena League. 

Tanner Mangum, QB, BYU

The former BYU starting quarterback who was replaced last year midseason by Zach Wilson earned training camp invites this past offseason with both the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions. He was seen at the XFL Showcase in June. 

Durrant Miles, DE, Bingham High

Miles signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons this past offseason following a four-year college career at Boise State. He had eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in preseason play before being released prior to the season.

Brock Miller, P, Southern Utah

Miller signed with the Los Angeles Rams during the preseason — he was a part of the team’s final cuts in late August — and also has spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants since going undrafted in 2014.

Tenny Palepoi, DT, Utah, Snow College and Skyline High

Palepoi, too, joined the AAF’s Stallions and was a starter on the line. He went undrafted in 2014 and spent four years with the NFL’s Chargers organization before joining Buffalo briefly in the 2018 offseason.

Gionni Paul, LB, Utah

Paul was a star linebacker with the AAF’s Stallions, but broke his arm in his final game for Salt Lake days before the league folded. Paul, too, briefly had a training camp stint in the NFL, then the CFL before going overseas as a player/coach in Russia. 

Colby Pearson, WR, BYU

Pearson briefly joined Green Bay’s practice squad in 2017 — he originally joined the Packers as an undrafted free agent — and was most recently with the Atlanta Falcons before reaching an injury settlement in August 2018. 

Raysean Pringle, CB, Southern Utah 

Pringle was most recently with the Oakland Raiders last year and also spent time with the Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars. He also participated in The Spring League — a developmental league in Texas — in 2018.

Sealver Siliga, DT, Utah and Copper Hills High

The West Jordan native was most recently with the AAF’s Salt Lake Stallions. Prior to that, he was a part of six different NFL organizations from 2011-18 after going undrafted. Siliga won a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots.

Handsome Tanielu, DT, BYU and Snow College

Tanielu played for the AAF’s Stallions after joining the Cougars program as a JC transfer from Snow. He had a minicamp invite with Kansas City following his college career.

Ron’Quavion Tarver, WR, Utah State

The former USU standout wide receiver earned a minicamp tryout with the Chicago Bears this past offseason after going undrafted. 

Jonah Trinnaman, WR, BYU, Snow College and American Fork High

Trinnaman spent time with the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets in the 2018 offseason, then earned a training camp invite with the Chicago Bears this past offseason.

Salesi Uhatafe, OG, Utah

Uhatafe was most recently with the Washington Redskins. He played for the AAF’s Stallions and also signed with Atlanta, Detroit and Jacksonville in the NFL after going undrafted.

Aaren Vaughns, WR, Utah State

Vaughns earned a minicamp invite from the Indianapolis Colts in May after starring two seasons as a Aggie receiver following his JC career.

De’Ondre Wesley, OT, BYU

Wesley was waived with an injury settlement by the Buffalo Bills in late August. Prior to that, the undrafted free agent had played four seasons in the NFL with the Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts.

Other Stallions players

In addition to the local Salt Lake AAF players, other former Stallions included in the XFL draft pool include:

Austin Allen, QB, Arkansas  

Joel Bouagnon, RB, Northern Illinois 

Cody Brown, S, Arkansas State

BJ Daniels, QB, South Florida

Matt Linehan, QB, Idaho

Greer Martini, LB, Notre Dame

De’Mornay Pierson-El, WR, Nebraska

Austin Rehkow, P, Idaho