Another month in the National Arena League (NAL) has passed, which means that more questions have been answered. Let’s take a look at the NAL Off-Season End-of-October Review.
NAL Off-Season End-of-October Review
Since October is finally over, we can finally go over what some may have missed. We will start with the NAL expansion news.
So far in the off-season, there has been no news on any new teams.
On another note, there is a strong rumor that can almost be confirmed that there should be a team in Massachusetts called the Pirates.
In a Facebook post earlier in October, the Pirates social media manager slipped up and accidentally posted that the Massachusetts Pirates have officially joined the NAL.
The team later that night deleted the post and nothing new has been posted since.
There was also a strong rumor that there would be a schedule release on October 15 and that is when the new teams would also be released. As we all know now, that is false and there could be a longer wait in the new teams and schedule than we expected.
As usual, teams start to add more and more players throughout the month as the season gets closer.
First up with transactions, we will start with the NAL Champions, the Jacksonville Sharks.
After a busy month in September, the Sharks continue to keep things going in the month of October.
To start off the month, the Sharks bring Wide Receiver Montario Hunter to the team. Hunter is a rookie from Elizabeth City State.
Getting things started with their defense for the month, the Sharks have signed Defensive Back Eddie Davis III. Davis III spent last season with the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks. In four games, he had seven interceptions for 37-yards.
Those seven interceptions in his short season is about what the Sharks would average in a game if we take game averages, so it is a great fit for both Davis III and the Sharks.
Quarterback, Wide Receiver, and Defensive Back Antonio Vaughn has joined the team. In 2017, Vaughn played for the Arizona Rattlers in the Indoor Football League (IFL). In his time with Arizona, he played six games. He had eight receptions for 129-yards and two touchdowns.
The Sharks have added Wide Receiver, Linebacker, and Defensive Lineman Leon Mackey Sr. Last season, Mackey Sr. played with the Baltimore Brigade of the Arena Football League (AFL) and the Arizona Rattlers of the IFL.
The Sharks look to bring Fullback and Linebacker Patrick Arinze to the squad. Arinze has played in the Indoor Football League (IFL) for two years.
In 2016, Arinze played with the Arizona Rattlers, but was placed on the recallable reassignment list.
In 2017, Arinze played with the Green Bay Blizzard, but then suffered a season-ending injury.
After about a month on the Sharks, Wide Receiver David Lewis has been released from the team, making him a free agent. Last season, Lewis spent four games with the Monterrey Steel and recorded six catches for 59-yards and two touchdowns.
Next, we will move to the Columbus Lions. The Lions started the month of September with a bang last month, but were probably looking to surprise fans as the off-season progresses by holding off on a couple additions or keepers.
Columbus really likes their Georgia-natives, signing Fullback Quayvon Hicks. Hicks is yet another rookie from Georgia University.
The Lions bring Defensive Back Robert Brown Jr. to the team. Brown Jr. is a rookie from Union College.
Next up on the rookies for the Lions, they have Linebacker Tim Kimbrough, rookie from Georgia University.
Bringing more heat to the defense, the Lions have brought in Linebacker and Defensive Lineman David Gilbert to be a part of the team. Gilbert is a rookie from the University of Miami.
Adding more power to their defense with rookies, the Lions bring in Defensive Lineman Roderick Byers, rookie from Clemson University.
Linebacker Ryheem Yates will be on the Columbus Lions roster for the 2018 season. Yates is a rookie from Nevada.
Lehigh Valley Steelhawks
Keeping some strength to their offensive line, Jordan Farrow has returned to the team.
To start off the month, the Steelhawks have kept Defensive Back Dom Joseph. In 2017, Joseph played in 10-games, had 31 solo tackles and 10 solo tackles, brining his total up to 36-tackles on the season. He also had three interceptions for 57-yards.
Returning to the Steelhawks, Defensive Back Rodney Hall Jr. will enter his second season in the Black and Gold for Lehigh Valley.
Last season, Hall Jr. played in 10 games, had 42 solo tackles and five assisted tackles, helping him bring his total to 44.5 tackles and leading his team in tackles.
Hall Jr. also leads the Steelhawks in interceptions with seven. In those seven interceptions, he had 79-yards and two touchdowns. He also had one fumble recovery for a 16-yard return.
Fullback, Offensive Lineman, and Defensive Lineman Jeremiah Zene Jr. has returned to the team after playing with the Steelhawks last season.
Kicker Spencer Hotaling has re-joined the team. Last season, Hotaling was 3-of-9 for field goals, 50-of-70 for PAT’s, and made eight deuces.
The Steelhawks went out and got more weapons for their quarterback and signed Wide Receiver Franklin Williams, rookie from Mercyhurst.
Lehigh Valley will hope to have a great defensive team this season as they sign Defensive Lineman Will Dancy, rookie from East Carolina.
The Steelhawks have added Defensive Back Michael Singleton, rookie from the College of the Siskiyous.
To finish off the month of October, Lehigh Valley signed Defensive Lineman Jamie Holbrook, rookie from South Connecticut University.
An interesting decision has been made by signing rookie Kicker Lance Geesey out of St. Francis University.
After signing Kicker Brandon Rutherford last month, the Steelhawks have decided to release him. This happened shortly after the Steelhawks claimed Hotaling for the 2018 season.
New Jersey Flight
Finally getting things started in late October, the New Jersey Flight look to pick up a talented player.
New Jersey native, Quarterback Stephen Panasuk has joined the Flight for the 2018 after a decent 2017 season with the High Country Grizzlies, who are no longer in the NAL.
In 2017, Panasuk played in eight games, threw 131-of-239 for 1,318-yards, 31 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. He also rushed 23 times for 50-yards, and four touchdowns.
Late in the season, the Grizzlies decided to bench Panasuk, ultimately leaving him with nowhere to play.
Giving Panasuk a weapon this season, New Jersey adds Wide Receiver Jarred Beniquez, rookie from Utica College.
To start with defense, the Flight bring in Defensive Back Derrick Dyer, rookie from Seton Hall and East Stroudsburg.
Winners of October
The winner of this month goes to the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks.
The Steelhawks have done the most this month by adding a lot of players, such as their kicker from last season, their best defensive back, and two of their offensive lineman.
The Jacksonville Sharks almost won this month because of their additions from other teams from the league and additions from other teams in another league.
What hurt them, however, is the fact that they didn’t keep anybody from last season. It is hard to beat everyone in transactions if you aren’t keeping more key players from last season. They still have a lot of talent still hanging in there looking for a place to play next season. Something that the Sharks haven’t done that the Steelhawks has done is bring back some returning players. The Sharks aren’t out of key players just yet.
The Lions, just like the Sharks, almost won this month. Their five Division I players and one Division III player almost brought them the victory in this battle. The only thing that is concerning for the Lions and their fans is the fact that they didn’t bring any players back this month. If they would’ve brought back one or two players, they would be the winners of October.