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Multiple former ‘Noles participating in the AAF

Though college football and the NFL are over, there’s still some gridiron action to look forward to this spring. The Alliance of American Football is a new professional football league founded by Charlie Ebersol and Hall of Famer Bill Polian. The debut season will feature eight teams and a ten-week regular season that stretches from Feb. 9 to Apr. 14. Following that, there will be a four-team playoff culminating in the first-ever AAF championship game on Saturday, Apr. 27.

For all the football junkies out there, this comes at the perfect time. Finally, the eight-month lull from football season to football season has been shortened by about a third. ‘Noles fans, in particular, have a lot of reasons to pay attention to the first season of the AAF. Eight former Seminoles are currently spread across two rosters, with seven playing for the Orlando Apollos and one suiting up for the Atlanta Legends.

This league is interesting because it’s seemingly providing solid benefits to its players. The AAF is reportedly signing its players to three year, 250K contracts. The contracts are non-guaranteed depending on if a player is called up to the NFL. Contracts also include health insurance and an educational stipend if a player completes at least one year in the league.

The Orlando Apollos feature a host of old faces on its roster that many fans will recognize. On offense, former FSU running back Ryan Green (’13-’17) will likely play a big role in head coach Steve Spurrier‘s (yeah, that’s right) offense. Receiver turned track star Marvin Bracy Jr. (’12-’13) has returned to the football field with Orlando. He’ll finally get to put his blazing speed on display after missing out on that chance in Tallahassee, he’s currently slated in as the starting returner. Former Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, offensive guard Tre Jackson (’11-’15), is also among the starting offensive linemen.

The defense will field defensive end Giorgio Newberry (’11-’15) as well as linebackers Jacob Pugh III (’14-’17) and Reggie Northrup II, who’s currently listed as a starter, (’12-’15) in its front-seven. Former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Marquez White (’13-’17) is expected to be one of the top options in the backend of the defense.

All in all, Orlando’s roster features seven players from FSU, seven from Florida, five from UCF, three from USF, and two from Miami so it should be fun seeing some former regional collegiate players get their professional shots.

The Atlanta Legends have two former Seminoles on its roster in linebacker Ro’Derrick Hoskins (’14-17). Hoskins was unable to latch onto an NFL roster a year ago and now he’ll try to earn his way back into the spotlight with the Legends. Jeff Luc, a former five-star recruit who signed with FSU in 2010 finishing his career at Cincinnati, is also among the linebacking corps. Though they aren’t on offense, I’m personally interested to watch Micheal Vick at offensive coordinator. It’ll be fun to see what he can do back in his old stomping grounds as a coach.

The AAF officially kicks off today with coincidentally, Orlando vs. Atlanta at 8 p.m. on CBS. There’s no telling what the actual product will look like on the field but as of now, there’s some reason for excitement. This league could shorten the dead period in football while also providing some solid entertainment.

UPDATE 2/10:

*I didn’t notice former FSU linebacker Jeff Luc, who transferred to Cincinnati in 2012, was a member of the Atlanta Legends until during the game. It was a crazy moment but I’ve added him above.

The Orlando Apollos defeated the Atlanta Legends 40-6 in the inaugural game of the AAF. Former Seminoles Reggie Northrup, Marquez White, and Tre Jackson each made an impact in the win. White intercepted a pass late in the game but it was ruled incomplete, as you can see here, that was probably the most egregious mistake of the night.

Marvin Bracy was Orlando’s starting punt returner but he suffered a right arm injury after muffing a punt. The injury wasn’t immediately clear but Bracy exited the game and was ruled out pretty quickly.

Luc started at linebacker for Atlanta though the Legends didn’t post statistics following the game. Hoskins also saw time throughout the game.


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