TULSA, OK—The first two groups of players who have signed to play for the Oklahoma Defenders indoor football team were announced on Wednesday afternoon by team management. For those familiar with the team the list of players who signed are very familiar indeed.
Returning on the offensive side of the ball is Jarvis Pitts (QB), KingJack Washington (RB), Patrick Jones (WR), James “Buddy” Blevins (WR), Curtis Tucker (WR), Keith Marshall (WR), Terry Johnson (OL), and David Lazenby (OL). On the defensive side of the ball, slated to return for the Defenders will be DL Victor Clore (DL), Ki’ounta Cathey (DL), BJ Hodshire (LB), Delaney Dobard (DB), and Ronnie Neal (DB).
All of the players listed saw action as Oklahoma Defenders players in 2013.
Third year Head Coach Derek Rasmussen said, “With this core group of returners I believe that we have laid the foundation for a successful 2014 season. Last year, when the chips were down these guys were around when the dust settled and bought in to the direction we were headed as an organization.”
Quarterback Jarvis Pitts had his season cut short due to a leg injury in the 4th quarter of the Bloomington Edge game. In his first extensive action of the season, he threw for 3 touchdowns and rushed for another one in just over two quarters of play, before injuring his leg, and ultimately ending his season. Wide receivers Patrick “Packy” Jones , James “Buddy” Blevins , Curtis Tucker, and Keith Marshall will be Pitts’ main targets through the air.
In his second year for the Defenders, Patrick Jones caught 62 balls for 765 yards and 14 TD’s, which won him CPIFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Honors. Blevins returns as an explosive WR/Kick Return threat for the Defenders after his rookie season was also cut short due to injury. Curtis Tucker and Keith Marshall also return for the WR core after very productive seasons for the Defenders in 2012.
Linemen David Lazenby and Terry Johnson return after solid play in 2013 on the offensive line. Between Johnson and Lazenby, they gave up a total of 3.5 sacks on the season and were solid anchors for the Defenders in 2013. Victor Clore and Ki’ounta Cathey return to solidify the Defenders’ defensive line in 2014.
Clore was runner up for CPIFL Defensive Rookie of the Year while collecting 9.5 sacks and leading the team in Tackles for Loss with 14. Cathey returns after a very solid season on the defensive line as well, after accumulating 26 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a touchdown.
BJ Hodshire returns for his third year with the organization after finishing in the top 10 of the CPIFL in tackles with 79. He also had 12.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks on the season. In the secondary, the Defenders have resigned Delaney Dobard and Ronnie Neal for the 2014 season. Dobard finished the season with 46 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass breakups. Neal returns opposite of Dobard after finishing the 2013 campaign with 41 tackles, two interceptions and 12 pass break ups.
On Friday the Defenders announced that they have also signed Nathan Gilsleider (WR), Brandon Dondlinger (WR), Zach Rasmussen (QB), Allan Stroud (OL), and Tommy Frevert (K). Defensively, the Defenders are pleased to announce the signings of Austen Brooner (LB), Nathaniel Heard (DB), Joe Means (DB), and Niko Wright (DB).
In addition, former Oklahoma State standout Wide Receiver Hubert Anyiam, University of Tulsa standout Defensive End Jared St. John, and All American Pitt State Defensive End, Gus Toca also highlight the group of new signings.
The Oklahoma Defenders 2014 season is set to being on March 1, 2014 at home when they take on the Kansas Koyotes in the Cox Business Center, (formerly known as the Tulsa Convention Center). It will be the team’s sophomore year in the Champions Professional Indoor Football League (CPIFL). In the Defenders inaugural season in the CPIFL, the team went 3-9 in league play and finished out of the playoffs.
Season tickets are on sale now and more information can be obtained by calling 918-403-9926 or by visiting www.oklahomadefenders.com.