The Spring Football Free Agents You May Not Know – But Should, The Podcast | JMark’s Free Agents (Ep. 1 of 1)

The Spring Football Free Agents You May Not Know - But Should, The Podcast | JMark's Free Agents (Ep. 1 of 1)

Another flood of game tape. Another flood of messages, conversations, and good football players. One thing is clear to me. There are a lot of guys that deserve to be on the list as a spring football free agent, and so many of them are hungry to prove themselves. It’s important to keep in mind all three of these lists were created prior to the XFL release cutting their rosters down to 51 players. However, these are all players that deserve a look at the next level, whether in the XFL, USFL, or CFL. I’ve recapped my first two articles and added a final list of free agents in a one-time-only podcast.

The list of free agents will always be an evolving and moving target. Each year there are approximately 16,380 football players eligible for the NFL draft. There are only 254 players drafted, with about an additional 320 added as undrafted free agents. Of course, not all those players make rosters. That leaves an overwhelming amount of football players that still have a lot to leave out on the field. To put it short, we need more leagues with more eyes on them in my opinion. Without further ado, here are my additional remaining spring football free agents.

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Spring Football Free Agents You May Not Know – But Should, The Podcast | JMark’s Free Agents (Ep. 1 of 1)

The First Article of Free Agents

The Second Article of Free Agents

Time Stamps For The Podcast

Time Player
         7:06 Connor Kaegi
         8:39 Roland Rivers
         9:38 Dylan VanBoxel
       10:44 Carson Strong
       11:44 Kelly Bryant
       13:01 Bryan Scott
       14:18 Darius James Peterson
       16:22 Drew Powell
       17:28 Ernest Owens
       20:06 Earl Stoudemire Jr.
       20:53 Tim Whitfield
       21:49 Terrance Smith
       22:34 Joshua Mack
       23:34 Antonio Wimbush
       25:05 Shane Simpson
       26:32 Marion Walker Jr
       27:14 Robert McKnight
       28:19 Aakiel Greer
       29:02 Jay Griffin
       29:41 Prince Shonola
       30:27 Mechane Slade
       31:23 Jimmie Stoudemire
       32:38 Isaiah Houston
       33:32 Jerrime Neal
       34:26 Shane Solberg
       35:25 Kalias Roberson
       36:07 Bug Howard
       36:55 Louis Chandler
       37:43 Michael Bedejo
       38:21 Timmy Dorsey
       39:04 Rashod Payne
       39:51 Ellis Parr
       40:40 Sha’haun Williams
       41:19 Nate Paxton
       41:54 Denaz Ross
       42:30 Jerimiah Spicer
       43:38 Thomas Reed
       44:22 Andrew Jackson
       45:17 Ian McBurrough
       46:07 Marcell Spears
       46:39 Michael Witherspoon
       47:52 DeAndre Farris
       48:27 Damien Francis
       49:14 Ta’Corian Darden
       50:05 Ahmad Lyons
       50:48 Brandon Mayes
       51:35 Simeon Gatling
       52:31 Shaun Browder
       52:57 KeAndre Powell
       53:42 Shane McInerray

Bryan Scott – Occidental College

I won’t spend too much time talking about the first spring football free agent Bryan Scott because you probably know him already. If you’ve listened or read any of my spring football stuff you know what a fan I am. He’s not only a great quarterback but a great leader on the field. His accomplishments range from IFAF U-19 World Cup gold medal, IFAF U-19 World Cup MVP, SCIAC Newcomer of the Year, two-time First Team All-SCIAC, two-time TSL League MVP, TSL League champion, and he was well on his way to being the best USFL quarterback last year.

After the Vegas Vipers decided to bring in Brett Hundley and anoint him the starter before a competition was had, Scott and the Vipers mutually parted ways. Both Scott and the organization know he’s starting material for other teams, so it was the best move for him. It is only a matter of time before a team picks him up, however for now he remains a free agent and therefore very much worthy of our top spring football free agents list, even though you likely know his name. Now, let’s take a look at some of the players you may not know.

Darius James Peterson – College of Idaho

The first spring football free agent to talk about is current Iowa Barnstormers’ quarterback Darius-James Peterson. Peterson went to the College of Idaho and proved right away the talent he brought to the football field. His freshman year he entered the rotation and set a school record with 17 rushing touchdowns. His Sophomore year he took over the starting job and had 1,820 passing yards and 8 passing touchdowns, 1,011 rushing yards, and 12 rushing touchdowns. Junior year he had 1998 passing yards, 8 passing touchdowns, 822 rushing yards, and 13 rushing touchdowns. He won the Frontier Conference Offensive Player of the Week three times and the NAIA National Offensive Player of the Week twice.

James Peterson finished his senior year with his best passing year. He passed for 2,423 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns, 732 rushing yards, and 4 rushing touchdowns. Peterson played his first year for the Iowa Barnstormers last year, leading them to a 9-7 record. He had 2,004 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, 892 rushing yards, and 17 rushing touchdowns. Don’t let the fact that he’s playing in the AFL fool you. Darius James Peterson is an athlete with an accurate arm that could excel at the next level. In spring football, quarterbacks normally excel when they can scramble, which he can. Kurt Warner said arena football helps you think and play faster and DJP can do that.

Drew Powell – Livingstone Rattlers

We move from the Iowa Barnstormers’ quarterback to a former quarterback of theirs. Drew Powell is our next spring football free agent. The 6-3 quarterback is the all-time leading passer in yards at Livingstone College. He was also the D2 player of the year and 2012 CIAA Offensive rookie of the year. Powell went on to play in the Indoor Football League. Powell has been playing indoors for quite some time and racked up several accolades. He is a three-time IFL MVP and an IFL Champion. During his time he has 254 total touchdowns. Powell is also only the second player in league history to win MVP with two different teams.

Powell is the current quarterback for the Arizona Rattlers. In 2021 he led them to the United Bowl after leading the league in yards rushing with 1,105, yards rushing per game with 65, and touchdowns with 43. He also led the league in passing completion percentage. Powell is also a dual-threat quarterback who could make an impact on the field in the XFL or USFL.

Ernest Owens – Oklahoma Baptist

It’s hard to put our next spring football free agent just as a quarterback. Ernest Owens out of Oklahoma Baptist is both a quarterback, wide receiver, and athlete. In fact, he played pro basketball in Germany and the Dominican Republic after college. He’s 6-2 and doesn’t only throw well, but he is a good route runner with big hands. Owens is also fast, running a 4.4 forty-yard dash in Fort Worth just last month.

As a dual sport athlete, Owens could help a spring team by filling in at multiple positions. You could play him at wide receiver but have him as an emergency quarterback, or have him as quarterback and run some trick plays since he understands the routes so well. Owens played in the FCS bowl and was coached by former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Stock.

Antonio Wimbush – Carson-Newman University

We move from our quarterbacks to running backs. The first running back on this list is spring football free agent Antonio Wimbush. Wimbush played at Carson-Newman University, rushing for 4,003 yards and 41 touchdowns in 48 games as well as adding 37 receptions for 527 yards and two touchdowns. He was All-SAC First Team and named Don Hansen All-Region in his sophomore season. After an injury his junior year, his senior season he won Comeback Player of the Year, Don Hansen All-American, Don Hansen All-Region, D2CCA All-Region, and All-SAC First team.

Wimbush has been playing for the Iowa Barnstormers of the IFL. After an injury held him back at the beginning of his rookie season, he came back to average 4.2 yards a carry and finish with 629 yards and 19 touchdowns. He won Offensive Player of the Week during Week 18 after having seven rushing touchdowns. Wimbush is a strong runner who isn’t afraid to avoid contact. He keeps his legs moving and driving until the very end. Wimbush has good field awareness and good hands to catch the ball out of the backfield. At 5-9 and 205, Wimbush has agility but can also be a wrecking ball.

Shane Simpson – Virginia/Towson

The next spring football free agent is Shane Simpson, who played both at Towson and Virginia. Simpson has a long list of college awards including All-CAA First Team, CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year, CAA Special Teams Player of the Year, Three-time All CAA first-team running back, Athlon Sports FCS All-America First Team, Associated Press All-American First Team all-purpose, and in 2019 found himself on the Walter Payton Award watch list.

Simpson played his first years at Towson, serving as the running back and primary kick returner. In 2018 he had 692 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards a carry. Unfortunately, in 2019 he was only limited to 22 carries but had a 7.4-yard average and two touchdowns. In 2020 he transferred to Virginia and had 278 yards, two touchdowns, and a 5.1-yard average. He also averaged over nine yards a catch through three years.

Simpson is the all-time leader in all-purpose and kick return yards at Towson. He has had experience in the XFL and CFL, as well as got a look from the Commanders in the NFL. He’s a player that could come in and contribute in both the run game as well as on special teams, which is crucial for spring ball.

Morian Walker Jr. – Texas A&M Kingsville

The next spring football free agent is the first eligible for the 2023 NFL Draft. Morian Walker played at Utah State and then Texas A&M Kingsville. He’s a 6-1, 210-pound back who has experience helping his team in the run and passing game. While his college stats may be a little more limited, he still made Sports Illustrated’s 2023 NFL Draft Bible Big Board Rankings at the running back position.

Walker has good burst and acceleration and is a downfield threat in the passing game, making him a tough matchup for defenses. Something that really stands out about his game film is his balance. He’s able to quickly recover from would-be tacklers when they hit him. He also doesn’t quit on any play until the whistle blows.

Robert McKnight – Abilene Christian

All the players that are eligible and able to play at the next level are athletes. However, the next spring football free agent’s position can be listed as an athlete. Robert McKnight played college ball at Abilene Christian. He has experience on kickoffs and kick-off returns. On offense, he’s lined up as a running back and as a wide receiver. The versatility doesn’t stop there though. McKnight has also played defensive back.

McKnight is an athletic player who can make plays all over the field. Which is just the kind of versatility that can make you valuable in spring ball. McKnight is a hard hitter, whether that’s on offense, driving through defenders, or on defense lighting up receivers. He’s currently coaching running backs. McKnight is a playmaker and has a lot of football left in him.

Shane Solberg – Northwestern College

We move from running backs to wide receivers with the next spring football free agent, Shane Solberg. Solberg played ball at Northwestern College in Iowa and is a three-time NAIA All-American. He graduated in 2021 and had to have knee surgery. However, he has recently been working with a past NFL and Division 1 trainer and is 100% healthy and ready to make a big impact on the field.

Solberg led the GPAC in catches and yards in 2019 and holds Northwestern records for yards, touchdowns, catches, and most catches in a game. He’s an AP All-American and a two-time all-conference. Solberg has good speed, route running, and great hands. Don’t let the small school followed by an injury fool you, Solberg is ready to compete and ready to prove that he can hold his own at the next level. His skill set will transition nicely to the next level.

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Sha’huan Williams – Notre Dame Ohio

The next spring football free agent is a defensive lineman named Sha’huan Williams. Williams had a strong career at Notre Dame Ohio, where he finished with 39 sacks. He holds the Division II single-season record for 21 sacks in a season. He also holds the Notre Dame College season sack record and career record. Williams’ junior year he finished with 21 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles.

Sha’huan Williams is currently part of the NAL, playing for the Carolina Cobras. He’s also received offers from LFA in Mexico. Williams doesn’t give up on plays. He has a really good bull rush, quick feet, good hand work, and a high motor. He is a player who could be a beast in the trenches and make life hell for opposing quarterbacks.

Nate Paxton – Georgia State University

The next spring football free agent is Nate Paxton out of Georgia State. Paxton can play both linebacker and defensive line, making him a versatile piece on the line. Even after not having huge collegiate stats, he got looks from bigger leagues due to his abilities.

Paxton has played in several leagues and had several workouts in the CFL and NFL. He also played in China and won a gold medal. Paxton recently played in the IFL with the Bismarck Bucks. Paxton is quick and reads plays well. He also has good discipline and doesn’t overshoot gaps. Paxton should be able to develop into a fine spring ball player as the next step in his career.

Denaz Ross – Texas Wesleyan

The next spring football free agent is Denaz Ross. Ross played at Texas Wesleyan. His big 6-4, 280-pound frame made life difficult for offensive linemen. In eight games in 2021, he had 29 tackles, 7.5 of them for a loss, 1.5 sacks, three pass deflections, and two forced fumbles.

Ross comes from an NFL pedigree family as former Saints defensive end Will Smith is his cousin. Ross is hard-working, driven, and has overcome adversity. He is a strong player who knows how to use his big frame to his advantage.

Ian McBorrough – Morgan State

The first linebacker spring football free agent is Ian McBorrough out of Morgan State. McBorrough is a four-year contributor who had 424 tackles, ten sacks, two interceptions, ten fumble recovers, three forced fumbles, and 18.5 tackles for loss in 44 career games. After college, his skills landed him a workout with the Seattle Seahawks.

In 2022, McBorrough played for the Iowa Barnstormers. He had 83.5 tackles, two sacks, and 17 tackles for loss. McBorrough has great vision. He follows the ball well and has great field awareness. He’s fast and reads the game quickly and is a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker. McBorrough is also an excellent tackler. He will lead any defense he is on.

Marcell Spears – Iowa State

The next spring football free agent linebacker is Marcell Spears out of Iowa State. Spears was a playmaker in college, especially in 2017 when he had 111 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, three pass deflections, two interceptions, one touchdown, and a forced fumble. After college, he went to the Bengals as an undrafted free agent.

Spears still has a lot of life left to give on the field. He is great at both dropping in coverage and at stopping the run. He has good hands and is physical. Spears also has great speed and is very fast in pursuit and can flip the script of any game.

Ahmad Lyons – Wagner College

We move from linebackers to defensive backs and start with spring football free agent Ahmad Lyons out of Wagner College. Lyons plays taller than his 5-8 frame and is fast on the field. At Wagner, he had five interceptions, ten pass breakups, 83 tackles, as well as 315 all-purpose yards. He was the 2021 Spring 2nd Team All-NEC, 2021 Fall Honorable Mentions, a two-time team captain, and a 2021 FCS Bowl All-American.

Lyons is currently playing for Salina Liberty in the CIF right now. In his career he has lined up at defensive back, safety, nickel, kick returner, and running back. He has good instincts and reads the offense well. No matter where he’s lined up on the field, Lyons is a playmaker that could make an impact at the professional level of football.

Brandon Mayes – Northern Illinois

The next spring football free agent is Brandon Mayes out of Northern Illinois. A taller 5-11, Mayes spent time at NIU from 2013-2018. He had five interceptions and 14 pass deflections. Mayes went on to play in the TSL in 2020 and 2021 and showed a nose for the ball and continued to get interceptions and deflect passes. Mayes was signed up to start in the USFL but had an injury that caused him to miss the season.

Now fully healthy, Mayes is ready to show how he is used to the big games. He has very quick closing speed and a knack for breaking up passes. He’s not only fast in closing speed, he’s pure speed. Mayes can also play on special teams and as a gunner.

Simeon Gatling – Bowie State

The next spring football free agent is Simeon Gatling. Gatling started his collegiate career at Iowa Western before transferring to Morgan State and then Bowie State. While playing at IWCC, Gatling had forty tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, a sack, and an interception in 2018. As a Junior at Morgan State, he played in every game and finished third on the team in tackles. He added three pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Gatling added another 39 tackles, a sack, and six pass breakups at Bowie State.

Gatling is currently signed up to play with the Arizona Rattlers. He’s a versatile defender who can play nickel, safety, or corner. At 5-10, he is a physical player. He’s not afraid to jam receivers at the line, or come up from the second level and pop a running back. Gatling can also be utilized as a blitzing safety and get to the quarterback quickly.

Shaun Browder – Kansas Wesleyan

The next spring football free agent is defensive back Shaun Browder. Browder played college ball at Kansas Wesleyan. In 26 games, he had 88 tackles, three interceptions, and a fumble recovery. Showing great ability as a playmaker, out of his three interceptions, two of them were returned for a touchdown.

Browder is a hard-hitting, punishing tackler who could line up as a cornerback or a hard-hitting safety. He can assist against the pass and the run.

KeAndre Powell – DM – Central State

Last but not least as there’s no particular order for the spring football free agents, is KeAndre Powell. Powell played college ball at Central State. In 2019 and 2021 he participated in 19 games, racking up 121 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, seven pass deflections, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and two kick blocks.

Even though Powell’s 2020 season was canceled due to covid, he came back in 2021 to show he hadn’t missed a beat. Powell is a high-energy player who has good hands. He’s also got a great jump and is a good tackler. Powell is another of the young players that has a lot of football left in him and could make an impact competing on the spring football fields.

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