The second week of the XFL season kicks off tonight, will there be any former Jayhawks playing? I will cut to the chase, the answer is ‘no’. But after the basketball team plays West Virginia on Saturday afternoon, if you show signs of football withdrawal, you may want to tune in to FX or ESPN+ at 6:00 central time and check out the DC Defenders playing the Vegas Vipers. You might catch a former Jayhawks on the field.
Pooka Williams has moved to the Dwayne Johnson-owned league and is transitioning from running back to wide receiver on a very run-heavy team. I admit, I watched about 20 minutes of the Defenders’ game last week and never saw Pooka on the field, and looking at his stats it is not surprising since he recorded no catches nor rushing attempts. Pooka was drafted by the team in the seventh round of their draft. If I get the opportunity a will take in a bit of the game in hopes of seeing him play.
There is a second former Jayhawk on the Defenders reserve list. Offensive lineman Dwayne Wallace. I do not remember Wallace, but he played for the Jayhawks in 2018 after transferring from Cal.
On Sunday afternoon, if the weather is not great where you are there is a good chance to catch a Jayhawk on the field in Orlando when the Guardians play the San Antonio Brahmas at 3:00 central time on ESPN and ESPN+. Mike Lee plays defensive back for the Guardians and did see the field last week in the Guardians’ loss to the Houston Roughnecks. Lee recorded two solo tackles against the Roughnecks.
As for players, that is all found with Kansas Jayhawk connections. I did recognize a lot of former NFL and college players on several XFL coaching staffs. A few even had KU or Lawrence/Kansas City area connections. If you are a long-time Kansas City Chiefs fan you may recognize former Iowa Hawkeye and Chiefs tight end Jonathan Hayes’ name. He is the offensive coordinator for the Arlington Renegade. Former Kansas City area high school coach and former NFL defensive coordinator for several teams Gregg (with two g’s) Williams is the defensive coordinator DC Defenders. And former KU defensive coordinator (1983) Ron Zook holds the same position for the Seattle Sea Dragons.
There is one other coach I wanted to mention, and though he had a cup of coffee with the Chiefs at the end of his career that is not why I bring him up here. The coach is Anthony Becht, a former successful NFL tight end mainly with the NY Jets and Tampa Bay Bucs. Becht has made the jump from being the offensive coordinator for Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel, Florida to head coach of the St. Louis BattleHawks. Maybe he is the next Pat Riley, maybe he is the next Rod Marinelli, I don’t know. I just find it to be an interesting hire and one to follow if you have an interest in the XFL.