XFL Kicks Off This Weekend -- Here's A Rundown Of All The Local Players To Watch For

There will be plenty of recognizable names as the XFL kicks off this weekend.

97.1 The Ticket
February 03, 2020 - 7:01 pm
Connor Cook

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


97.1 The Ticket -- The Super Bowl has come and passed, and this time of year, football diehards start going through withdrawals.

But the XFL is trying to do something about that lull, as the league relaunches this weekend with a revamped approach to the game and a national spotlight with games on Fox, ABC and ESPN.

The league will be trying to avoid the same fate as the short-live Alliance of American Football, which folded mid-season last year.

As Detroit doesn't have a team, it may be tough for local fans to find a team to latch ahold of in terms of rooting interest. The good news is, there will be plenty of recognizable names all across the league. As the XFL released its official 52-man rosters late last month, each team will have at least one player who played his college ball in the state of Michigan.

Former Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook is the headliner of all those names, and perhaps one of the bigger names in the entire league. He was the No. 2 pick of the skill players phase of the draft, selected by the Houston Roughnecks. In his three full seasons as the Spartans' starting QB from 2013-2015 Cook put up 9,100 passing yards and 70 touchdowns, leading MSU to Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl wins, before an appearance in the College Football Playoff.

Even though it's just a few days away, the Roughnecks have not named a starting quarterback for opening day. Cook has been in a competition with former Temple quarterback PJ Walker.

There are several other local players to keep an eye on as the XFL kicks off this weekend, including three Western Michigan Broncos on the same roster, former Michigan running back De'Veon Smith, and a host of others.

Here's a rundown of all the local players on XFL rosters:

Dallas Renegades

  • John Keenoy -- OG, Western Michigan
  • Asantay Brown -- LB, Western Michigan
  • Willie Beavers -- OT, Western Michigan

DC Defenders

  • Tyree Kinnel -- S, Michigan
  • Donnie Ernsberger -- TE, Western Michigan

Houston Roughnecks

  • Connor Cook -- QB, Michigan State
  • Juwann Bushell-Beatty -- OL, Michigan

Los Angeles Wildcats

  • Taiwan Jones -- LB, Michigan State

New York Guardians

  • Demetrious Cox -- S, Michigan State

St. Louis Battlehawks

  • Keith Mumphery -- WR, MSU

Seattle Dragons

  • Sergio Bailey -- WR, Eastern Michigan
  • Channing Stribling -- CB, Michigan
  • Jeremy Clark -- CB, Michigan
  • William Campbell -- G, Michigan

Tampa Bay Vipers

  • De'Veon Smith -- RB, Michigan
  • Ike Spearman -- LB, Eastern Michigan
  • Nick Truesdell -- TE, Grand Rapids CC

The season kicks off Saturday at 2 p.m. on ABC with Seattle visiting DC on, while Los Angeles at Houston will be at 5 p.m. on Fox. The other four teams will take the field for the first time on Sunday. See the full XFL schedule.