Quarterback Compeition Chaos in the AAL

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In this article, the quarterbacks around the American Arena League will be analyzed, and the quarterback battles will be reviewed.    

Peach State Cats  

QB1 Competition: Kevin Ellison vs. Chris Payne  

Projected Week 1 Starter: Ellison

The Cats have to turn the tide from last season. When the team hired Boo Michell to be the general manager and work with Mareno Philyaw, the direction changed drastically but it all comes to a few vital things that the team struggled with last season, including the quarterback position.  

Ellison recently played with the Milano Rhinos in Italy. He passed for 2,066 yards and 23 touchdowns in 10 games. He also rushed for 534 yards and seven touchdowns. The team finished with a 4-6 record. 

While at Georgia State, he passed 3,225 yards for 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, with a 54% completion rating. But, he also rushed 3,368 yards for 35 touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Clearly, he's improved as a passer since 2016, while remaining dominant on the ground. His resemblance is that of Carolina Energy quarterback David Washington.   

Payne, on the other hand has the arena experience, as he played with the Atlanta Vultures. The quarterback is a local of the Atlanta area, playing much semi-professional ball. If Payne were to have the upper hand, it'd be experience.    

New England Bobcats  

QB1 Competition: Giovanni Sanders vs Damion May  

Projected Week 1 Starter: Sanders  

Analysis: Don't get me wrong. These are two very talented quarterbacks. Coach Julien Robinson went on the search for the quarterback he wants after he was hired and these two fit the bill. It comes down to gives them the best chance.  

Sanders is a talented quarterback. He recently played with the Boston Bandits, where led the team to the New England Football League (NEFL) Championship. Before that? He played in the AAL with the New England Cavalry. 

While the quarterback doesn't have college experience like most coaches like, he has a great passing ability and a wide range of athleticism that's just easier to work with and makes the playbook as a whole better.   

May played football at the University of Charleston. At 6'1, 215lbs with mobile abilities, he's exactly what Robinson was looking for. In May's career, he completed 130 of his 279 passes (44.4 percent completion rating) for 1,527 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also rushed for 330 yards on 156 carries and six touchdowns. He played for Alabama A&M and Charleston. He never found footing as a passer. It doesn't seem he's done much of anything with football since then.  

Bernard Davis is listed as a wide receiver and quarterback on the roster. He threw four passes during his time at UMass, completing two of them for 18 yards.    

Carolina Havoc  

QB1 Competition: Jesse Scroggins, Richard Cue, Daryll Clark  

Projected Week 1 Starter: Clark  

The Havoc are chasing a championship again. They're going to do it with a quarterback group with a familiar skill set from last season. The team had success with accomplished and veteran passer Lee Chapple. Good quarterback play and one of the best defenses in recent arena history got them there. They have the defense part down. So who's leading the way at quaterback? Former Cape Fear quarterback Clark.  

Clark played for the Cape Fear Heroes last season. He shared snaps with quarterback Ryan Bach. Clark played college football at Penn State. He completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 5,742 yards, 43 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. 

He played with the Calgary Stampeders in 2010, the Chicago Rush of the AFL in 2011, the Myrtle Beach Freedom in 2016, and the Cape Fear Heroes from 2017 to 2018. With plenty of experience, and lots of athleticism and arm talent, Clark will flourish with the Havoc.   

Cue is a Florence, SC local who played for SC State. He was a three year starter, passing for over 5,000 yards and many touchdowns. He was an All-MEAC selection. He won a state championship with Wilson High School in 2007.  

Scroggins played college football at USC, El Camino, AAZ, and Lindenwood. In 2009, Scroggins was the sixth ranked high school quarterback in the country. Scroggins went on to play for the Nebraska Danger and Salt Lake Screaming Eagles.    

Georgia Doom  

QB1 Competition: DeAndre Price

Projected Week 1 Starter: Price  

Maybe this part of the Doom's revival. Becoming challengers of the unknown and signing guys we just don't know like they do. With that being said, Price was originally a defensive back. 

He played the 2018 season with the Austin Wild. He has a strong arm but is a very mobile quarterback, being able to take it and run for over five yards with ease. He's been described as a "helluva athlete", but young at the quarterback position, and didn't start for the Wild because he had two veterans of the game ahead of him. 

According to the Doom's website, the 5'11, 180lb quarterback went to Virginia Baptist College. "I wouldn't be surprised if he's the fastest man on the Georgia Doom roster. Dual threat quarterback, big arm," Price's former Wild teammate Travis Martin said of him He's made quite the impression.    

Carolina Energy  

QB1 Competition: Steffen Colon

Projected Week 1 Starter: Colon

Head coach Ervin Bryson isn't restocking this team, he's reloading. This Energy team may be exponentially better than last season's. To further solidify that claim? He signed a quarterback he won a championship with in 2017.  

That's right, it's Colon. The 6'1, 210 lb quarterback won a championship with coach Ervin with the Vermont Bucks in 2017, when the team played in the Can-Am Indoor Football League. He played college ball at Glanville State. Colon also played with the Erie Explosion, as well as many semi-professional teams. The 30 year old quarterback has tons of experience.    

Carolina Cowboyz  

QB1 Competition: Hunter Roach, DeMarcus Simons, David Riley

Projected Week 1 Starter: Roach  

The Cowboyz are loaded this season offensively and defensively. They're bringing in respectable, recongizable names. They will be a force to reckoned with, as long as they have a good quarterback leading the way. That quarterback is Hunter Roach.  

Roach played with the team back in the 2017 season, and is familiar with this coaching staff. He has a very strong arm and is a true arena style pocket passer. Before the Cowboyz, Roach played with the Upstate Redskinz, who were close to the Clemson, SC area. 

The 6'4, 235 pound quarterback was a standout at Chesnee High School, and went on to play tight end at Methodist University. Oh yeah, he's also lost over 30lbs to get into prestine shape for this role.  

Simons is a 6'0, 200 lb quarterback with seven years of arena football experience. Simons played with the team last season. His other experience includes the Richmond Raiders, Saginaw Sting, Georgia Rampage, and Carolina Force. 

The quarterback is experienced and led the team last season, but, this team is going into 2019 with a "win now" mentality. No spot is guaranteed.  

Riley played college football at Golden State College. Also, he's from Greenville, SC. The quarterback played with the South Carolina Snipers. If you're not familiar with that team, it's the one Dennis Holt lead, who is a coach on the Cowboyz, as well as the owner.    

West Michigan Ironmen  

QB1 Competition: Alex Carder, Travis Zajkowski

After winning the Midwest Professional Indoor Football (MPIF) MVP and title, it would be foolish if Western Michigan didn't go with him as their Week 1 starter. 

Regardless, Zajkowski would be an applicable starting quaeterback should something happen to Carder *knock on wood*.

Zajkowski is familiar with the organization and the coaching staff alike. He played with the team as Carder's backup last season, where they won the MPIF championship. The signing makes total sense. Zajkowski could very well do huge things.    

West Virginia Roughriders  

QB1 Competition: Jarrett Brown, Drew Bolton  

Projected Week 1 Starter: Brown  

The Roughriders has signed a lot of former West Virginia football players and arena superstars. With all of the elite talent this team as signed, this team needs an elite quarterback leading the way. 

Brown is a very talented athlete. In his senior season aat WVU, he completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 2,144 yards, 11 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He also rushed 466 yards and six touchdowns. 

The former Mountaineer then went through three NFL teams (49ers, Browns, Colts) on practice squads. He also went through camps with multiple others.

Brown then played with the BC Lions in 2013. Finally, from 2014-2015, he played with the Spokane Shock. He was only active the 2015 season, completing 57.7% of his passes for two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed for times for 37 yards and three touchdowns.  

Bolton lead the way for the New England Cavalry last season. Though the team went 0-3 last season as an affiliate, Bolton shined. Before the Cavs, he played with the Quincy Militia, and was voted an EFL All-Star, as well as winning the EFL Sportsmanship Award in 2016. He played college football Plymouth State University. 

He's a mobile quarterback that made huge plays with the Cavalry, and proved he can compete with the AAL competition.    

Indianapolis Enforcers  

QB1 Competition: Frank Brock Jr., Jeremy Behling, Randy Gibson

Projected Week 1 Starter: Brock

The Enforcers are fighting their way to a championship. The team finished 5-3 last season, losing in the semi-final to the Midway Marauders. This team needs a jumpstart to get over that hump and brawl it out with the hefty competition of the AAL.  

Brock played at the University of Indianapolis. While he didn't do much there (was a backup basically the entire time), he found his footing again with the Indianapolis Tornadoes. He then went on to play with the Stuttgart Scorpions of the GFL. 

He is now the offensive coordinator of the Straubing Spiders, who are in the GFL2.  Behling has been playing semi-professional football in the area for a while. As far as it can be told, that's all he's done experience wise. It's a good decision to make a signing like that. He is probably in sync already with coaches on the team who has coached it up in the area, as well as players. 

Gibson quarterbacked a little for this team last season. He's also played for the Indiana Cutters and Marion County Crusaders. Before that, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of experience. He must've impressed this coaching staff.    

Carolina Predators  

QB1 Competition: Marcus Littlejohn, Ricky McKinney  

Projected Week 1 Starter: Littlejohn  

Greenville, SC's newest arena football is coming into the AAL ready to compete with the local talent it's city and state produced. Anyone knows that to be able to compete, especially in a new league as a new team, you have to have two things: a great defense and a good quarterback. 

Is Littlejohn that quarterback for this team? Littlejohn played the 2017 season with the Upstate Dragons, who was based in Anderson, SC. Though the team finished 1-7, Littlejohn proved his mobility and vision as an arena quarterback. Littlejohn is a local, who has experience with many of the team's players and coaches. 

This past season, he played locally with receiver Wyatt Rodgers with the Concord Eagles. Before the Eagles and Dragons, he played semi-professionally in Greenville with the Seminoles.  

McKinney has played semi-professional ball in SC for years. The quarterback played with the Upstate Dragons in 2017 as a fullback and quarterback, most of his play at quarterback coming against the Cape Fear Heroes in 2017. McKinney also played with Littlejohn in the 2018 season with the Concord Eagles.    

Burgh Defenders  

QB1 Competition: Arealus Lee

Projected Week 1 Starter: Lee

The Defenders are the newbies of the league. We all have the immediate questions of who the coaches are, the players, but mostly, who are the quarterbacks?

Lee, at 6'5 and 225lbs played quarterback with the Amarillo Venom of the CIF in 2018. He's also played with the Lehigh Valley Steelers of the MLF (Major League Football) in 2016 and the Steel City Stampede in 2016 and 2017. He also had a stint with the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks in 2017. 

With the Venom, he completed two passes of his two attempts for 27 yards and two touchdowns. He also had one rushing touchdown.

Jersey Flight  

QB1 Competition: Jeffrey Legree

Projected Week 1 Starter: Legree  

The Flight are moving forward from 2018, where they finished 5-3. Their quarterback last season, Stephen Panasuk, retired and their head coach from last season, Jake Grande, isn't returning. 

Even with new head coach Adam Turkel leading the team, they will move forward with a familiar face at quarterback. The team will also bring in two to three other quarterbacks for camp.  

Legree played with the Flight last season. Prior to the Flight, he played quarterback with the Cape Fear Heroes in 2017, where the team went 4-2 and won the SIF Championship. In 2018, he started off his season with the Dallas Marshals of the CIF, but the team folded mid-season. He then joined the Flight. 

In Dallas, Legree completed 50 percent (20/40) of his passes for 164 yards and two passing touchdowns.    

Cape Fear Heroes  

QB1 Competition: Yeshai Callaghan, Garrett Sutphen

Projected Week 1 Starter: Sutphen

The Heroes are looking to get back into the playoffs and redeem themselves to get to the championship in 2019. They hired a new head coach and promoted a familiar face to be the offensive coordinator. 

They're bringing in the talented and young Callaghan, and the veteran Sutphen. Sutphen has more experience with anyone on this coaching staff than anyone. They know exactly what they're getting with him. 

Sutphen played with coach McKinney while he was with the East Carolina (Triangle) Torch, and he played with offensive coordinator Corey McDowell nearly six seasons ago with this same team. The quarterback has also played with the Alabama Hammers of the PIFL. The name Callaghan should be recognizable to most. 

He took the social media forums by storm when he posted his film. The quarterback played with the River City Thunder (2016) and River City Storm (2018). He signed to play with the Vermont Bucks this past season, but the team didn't play.  

Sutphen, however, is the clear cut starter. The quarterback has the experience to drive this team to a championship, and he's familiar with the coaches.    

High Country Grizzlies  

QB1 Competition: Anthony Ellison, Kevin Russell   

Projected Week 1 Starter: Ellison

The Grizzlies are lowkey one of my favorite teams, and to see them have a winning season (3-7 in 2017 National Arena League, 2-6 in 2018 AAL), would warm my heart. We all know that starts at building their offense, that averaged just 40.5 points per game in 2018, is centered around the quarterback.  

Ellison re-signed with the Grizzlies after leaving his contract with the Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks of the American West Football Conference. The quarterback played in the NAL in 2017 with the Georgia Firebirds, playing receiver and quarterback. Before then, he played with the Kearney Hawks. 

Russell played college football at the University of Redlands, and was a three year starter. He was a two time First Team All-Conference player and Team MVP, and SCIAC Champion. At UR, he completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 4,481 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. He also rushed for 932 yards and 15 touchdowns.    

Chicago Aztecs  

QB1 Competition: Alex Gabryel  

Projected Week 1 Starter: Gabryel  

The Aztecs will be playing their first official season in the time the organization has been around. Everyone is ready to see how this Chicago team will shape up.  Gabryel is a local guy the team picked up through tryouts. He's signed to the Milwaukee County Charger

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