With the news breaking that the IFL’s Bismarck Bucks will press pause for the 2023 season, an influx of free agents just hit the market. Which players did the Bucks have on the roster?
QB Giovanni Sanders
Sanders must have seen the writing on the wall. He has recently signed with the Las Vegas Knighthawks. Having played in just 5 games during the 2022 season, he produced 5 TDS to 5 ints, and 481 yards passing. Sanders was second on the team in rushing, Adding 37 carries 117 yards, and 8 more touchdowns. He is expected to serve as the backup behind Cameron Dukes who threw 27 touchdowns to 5 interceptions in 2022. Keep an eye on this quarterback position. Sanders could push Dukes for the starting position.
WR Edgar Poe Jr.
Poe Jr. produced 47 receptions for 475 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Despite playing with multiple quarterbacks he was still able to make it work. Along the way, he played in 14 games and averaged 3.5 receptions per game. He is also 6’5 215 lbs. having attended Army, and he is undoubtedly in peak physical condition as well. Any team would be lucky to have him. He has received some interest from the XFL as well.
ATH Rob Brown
The 5’8 175 lb Brown is a guy who can affect a team in many ways. Not only is he a capable runner, and receiver, but he also served as the kick returner. This led to a fairly large overall impact. Producing 24 carries for 99 yards and 1 touchdown, adding 37 receptions for 311 yards and 5 more touchdowns. On special teams, he had 42 returns for 842 yards and 1 touchdown. Averaging over 19 yards per kick return on a 50-yard field is HUGE. Brown is a scary athlete.
DB Dreko Stathom
Stathom already landed on his feet. Signing with the Frisco Fighters. Billy Back and the Fighters saw value in what Stathom learned this season with Bismarck. Stathom brings with him tremendous height for a DB at 6’1. He could add weight to his frame but currently plays at 190 lbs. Statham is the latest addition to a stacked Fighters squad looking to win a championship in 2023. The Fighters truly believe Statham is a piece of the puzzle.
DB Jordan Semanat
Semanat is an interesting player. He brings the ideal size for the position at 6’2 200 lbs. Playing for the Bucks in 2022 he collected 27 tackles, 1 forced fumble/recovery, and 5 pass breakups playing in just 9 games. Semanat is a guy I feel truly belongs in the outdoor game but it remains to be seen where he ultimately plays in 2023. Something tells me he piques the curiosity of new Tulsa Oilers Head Coach Marvin Jones a former NFL Linebacker.
LB Jeff Branch
Branch is a 6’3 245 pound linebacker. Another player presented the ideal size for his position. Branch had a very successful season in 2022 with the Bucks. He accounted for 39 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 pass breakup. However, the majority of the damage he did came on the opposing side of the line of scrimmage. He produced 7 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. On a 50-yard field, Branch accounted for 87 yards lost by opposing offenses. He is an indoor football veteran and a perfect addition to any team looking to take their pass rush to the next level.
WR John Brunner
Brunner has already inked a deal for the 2023 IFL season. He has landed with the Quad City Steamwheelers. The Steamwheelers saw an opportunity to add some size to their receiver room, bringing in the 6’3 Brunner. He caught 39 passes for 382 yards and 5 touchdowns in his first IFL season. He also showed unique versatility when he had to handle 1 kickoff as well.
RB David Hamm
Hamm isn’t your typical indoor football running back. At 6’0 225 pounds heading into the 2019 NFL Draft out of McNeese State, he ran a 4.41 40-yard dash. After initially watching his UTEP career derailed by a rape allegation, Hamm bounced back after he was found not guilty. He landed with McNeese and took one season before he developed a major offensive role. In 2018 he had 99 carries for 488 yards adding 13 receptions for 83 yards. Averages of 4.9 per carry, and 6.4 per reception. He played in just three games collecting 21 touches for 70 yards, and 3 tackles. Hamm spent some time in the NFL on the Raiders roster as well. David Hamm has signed with the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits.
WR/QB Elijah Robinson
The IFL asks its quarterbacks to run more than any other league I’ve ever watched. With that being said men like Robinson find a lot of value in a league like this where they can showcase their talents in more than one position. In the outdoor game, they may never have been given this shot. Named the New Jersey Player of the Year as a high school QB, for Montclair. He had an unbelievable career as a high school QB, but moved to WR, and grew into his 6’2 frame with Boston College. He played sparingly on offense but made an impact on special teams scoring his only Touchdown.
While there are a lot more players on this roster that I expect to receive consideration these players made the most sense in terms of who would/could receive interest from not only other IFL teams but also outdoor leagues as well.
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