Teams Get Ready For a Busy December
November came and then like sands through the Hour Glass, its almost over. 2018 is finishing up its last page on the calendar and its time to start looking ahead to a busy 2019 and some Great Arena Football Action.
We will close out November with some players being signed in both the National Arena League and the American Arena League.
The Jacksonville Sharks have signed Chris Pickett, Durron Neal and D’Angelo McCray.
Pickett played in all 17 games with the Columbus Lions. He lead the entire team in tackles (77.5) and pass breakups (25). Pickett also recorded four interceptions returned for 85 yards. Pickett played a key role in the Lions return to the National Arena League Championship and received Second Team All-NAL honors. Pickett also spent 2017 with the Columbus Lions recording 37.5 tackles, three interceptions returned for 55 yards and one touchdown, and seven pass breakups. Pickett started his arena career with the Jacksonville Sharks as they assigned Pickett to the roster for the 2016 season, but did not play for the Sharks during the regular season.
Last season, Neal played in 14 games with the Columbus Lions, where he led the Lions in receiving yards (1085) and average yard per catch (13.7) and earned Second Team All-NAL honors. Neal also finished the season ranking second in catches (79) and touchdowns (25). In 2017, Neal began his arena football career with the Lions, playing in nine games. In those nine games, he had 37 receptions for 309 yards and seven touchdowns. Neal was an undrafted free agent entering the 2016 season when he signed with the Denver Broncos for training camp. Neal played for the Broncos the pre-season, recording three catches for 21 yards and one touchdown but was not with the team for the regular season.
During his arena football career, McCray played for the Iowa Barnstormers (2017), where he earned Second-Team All-IFL honors. McCray played one season with the Green Bay Blizzard (2015), He spent two seasons with the Nebraska Danger (2013, 2014) where he played in back to back United Bowl championship games. Before his career in arena football, McCray was signed to the New York Giants roster as an undrafted free agent.
The Columbus Lions have signed Bones Bagaunte and Marte Sears for the 2019 NAL season. Sears will add even more talent and a competitive edge to a Lions defensive roster that is shaping up to be one of the most dangerous units in all of the NAL. Originally from Fresno, California – this will be Sears’ 3rd year with the Lions organization.
Bagaunte becomes the latest wide receiver to join an organization known for elite wide receiver play. A short peek into the recent history of the Lions shows how wide receivers in Columbus flourish, including one Rookie of the Year award (London Crawford – 2012), 4 Offensive Player of the Year awards (Maurice Dupree – 2012, Terrence Ebagua – 2015, Michael Reeve – 2016/2017), and a bevy of statistical champions (Jarmon Fortson – 2018 NAL leader in receptions/TDs & Durron Neal – 2018 NAL in receiving yards).
The Massachusetts Pirates have signed Quayvon Hicks, Devonn Brown, Du’Vonta Lampkin and Charles Walker for the 2019 season.
Hicks led the National Arena League with 25.4 rushing yards per game last season playing for the Columbus Lions.
Devonn Brown, The Massachusetts Pirates leading receiver and All-National Arena League First Team offensive performer has re-signed with the team for the 2019 season. Brown led the Pirates with 24 touchdown receptions and was tops in the NAL averaging 19 yards per catch. Brown can’t wait to be back in Worcester.
Lampkin was most recently in camp with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent. This will be his first taste of arena football.
Walker, 6’4”- 310 lbs. from New Orleans, Louisiana, had a tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017 but was waived when a knee injury slowed his progress.
Over in the American Arena League, although at press time the West Virginia Roughriders have not announced which league they will play in for 2019, it is believed that the team will be back in the American Arena League.
The Roughriders have signed Ellis Lankster, Robert Sands, Jarrett Brown,
for the 2019 season.
Ellis Lankster, a former starting defensive back for the West Virginia Mountaineers (2008-2009) and participant in the 2009 Senior Bowl, would go on to be selected in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. Experiencing various stints of heavy playing time in Buffalo, Lankster would get picked up by Rex Ryan’s New York Jets, where Ellis would match up with other Jets’ defensive backs like Isaiah Trufant to become one of the staples in the Jets defense for the next 4 years. Following his time with the Jets, Lankster would return back to Buffalo, the team that originally signed him to play once again for head coach and Bills signal caller Rex Ryan.
Sands, a former 3 year starting defensive back at the University of West Virginia (2008-2010), was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 5th Round of the 2011 NFL Draft after deciding to forgo his senior season at WVU. Shortly after his time with Cincinnati, Sands would find playing time in the CFL (Canadian Football League) with the Edmonton Eskimos (2014-2015) as well as with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2016). Following his time in the CFL, Sands signed with the LA Kiss of the Arena Football League in 2016 and most recently in 2017 with the team he most recently has played for, the National Arena League’s (NAL) Columbus lions.
Brown, a former starting quarterback for the WVU Mountaineers in 2009, spent the first couple years of his college career as a Mountaineer under the then Heisman candidate quarterback and WVU legend Pat White, before White graduated in 2008. Brown in his senior season, and just his first full season at the helm of the Mountaineers, would go on to lead his team to the 2010 Gator Bowl against the Florida State Seminoles. After graduating from WVU, Jarrett would continue onto the NFL, spending some time with teams such as the San Francisco 49’ers, Cleveland Browns, and the Indianapolis Colts. After his time in the NFL, Jarrett Brown was brought on by the CFL’s (Canadian Football League) BC Lions as their backup quarterback for the entirety of their 2013 season. Brown most recently though, before signing wth the West Virginia Roughriders, played arena football with the Spokane Shock in the AFL (Arena Football League).
The Carolina Havoc are holding the Open Tryouts on Saturday November 24, 2018 and there will be some MAJOR Announcements at that time.
The Carolina Energy have some players that are signed and we will update as soon as they become official.