Home Editor's Picks STL Battlehawks Add Eight To Initial 2024 Squad

STL Battlehawks Add Eight To Initial 2024 Squad

Dispersal Draft Expands Charter To 62 Players, More Expected Prior To Camp

by Brian Ledford

(ARLINGTON, TX) The St. Louis Battlehawks added to their 2024 initial roster with the addition of eight players after the second round of the United Football League (UFL) dispersal draft held Monday.

With the selections, mostly consisting of lineman and defensive personnel, St. Louis’ roster now contains 62 players. Arch City Media had an overview of the initial roster following the January 5 UFL dispersal draft.

The Battlehawks play their UFL season opener the weekend of March 30-31 and the full regular season schedule will be revealed shortly. St. Louis competes in the UFL’s four-team XFL conference that also includes the Arlington Renegades, the D.C. Defenders and the San Antonio Brahmas.

All eight players selected by St. Louis at the second, and final round, of the UFL dispersal draft were on XFL charters last season, which included one player from last season’s Battlehawks charter.

Offensive guard Christian Olmstead, billed at 6-4 and 301 pounds, was a member of 2023 squad but did not play a game.

Other St. Louis draft selections came primarily from franchises that folded as a result of the UFL’s merge between the XFL and the USFL earlier this year.

Notables include safety Dravon Askew-Henry, who started ten games with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals last season and recorded 32 tackles and a pair of interceptions as well as linebacker Chris Garrett, a former member of the Los Angeles Rams that logged games with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers last season.

Also on Monday, St. Louis selected five players that played in the XFL last season: defensive tackle Mandy Alonso (Seattle), offensive guard Abdul Beecham (Orlando), linebacker John Daka (Houston), safety Kameron Kelly (San Antonio) and offensive guard Kahlil McKenzie (Vegas).

Free agent acquisitions, consisting of those players who were not selected in the dispersal process or who did not play in the USFL or XFL in 2023, can be made by UFL teams beginning Tuesday. 75 players overall will be invited to the Battlehawks’ training camp in mid-February and the final 50-player roster will be set prior to the first game.

Here’s how the Battlehawks roster looks after Monday’s acquisitions at certain positions.

QUARTERBACK – With no pickups by St. Louis on Monday, Nick Tiano, a 2023 Battlehawk back-up that won his lone start last season, and Manny Wilkens, who was listed as inactive last season due to roster restrictions, remain the lone duo at the helm. An additional invite to the team’s training camp is on the horizon.

RUNNING BACK – No action on Monday, so the stock of incoming running back Max Borghi (Houston) has risen rapidly, thanks to his six touchdowns scored last XFL season. First dispersal draft pick-up Devin Darrington (Orlando) had four touchdowns to pace a woeful 1-9 team in 2023. New digs with a better squad could lead to some added productivity. St. Louis returnee Metaeo Durant and Seattle transfer Morgan Ellison are projected to provide some additional intrigue. Overall, the running game should, on paper, be stronger than the four touchdowns that the Battlehawks scored from the ground last season.

RECEIVING – As listed in our first round assessment, this area seems to be stable thanks to returnees Hakeem Butler (51 catches, 599 yards, team-leading eight touchdowns), Steven Mitchell (four TDs) and Jake Sutherland (two TDs) alongside former Seattle standouts Jahcour Pearson (670 yards, four TDs) and Blake Jackson (440 yards, two TDs). The Battlehawks had 26 touchdowns via the pass last season. This high output is probable again this season.

OFFENSIVE LINE – With the claim of guards Beecham and McKenzie in Round Two, the O-line is looking to take shape with a roster at that position which currently stands six-deep. Center Mike Panasiuk returns for snapping duties with Dohnovan West (Vegas) making a push for the position. Incoming starting tackles Sage Doxtater (Houston) and Jazston Turnetine (Seattle) will be looking for starting slots while returnee Juwann Bushwell-Beatty looks to maintain. Look for a few more invitees to shore up a potential starting slot.

DEFENSIVE LINE – The pickup of Alonso in Round Two added another body, but this area is still a little thin with returning starter Kevin Adkins and former Seattle anchor Antwuan Johnson as potential locks. Former Arizona State standout T.J. Pesefea has an outside shot but some younger talent might create some waves. Again, a training camp invitee will help.

LINEBACKER – As projected after the initial dispersal draft, this is the key area of the Battlehawks and was solidified with Monday’s additions of Garrett and Daka. Former Vegas linebacker Pita Taumoepenu, who won XFL Defensive Player of the Year honors last season, is an immediate impact player. Returnees Willie Harvey (25 solos, 34 assists), Travis Feeney (24 solos), Carson Wells (20 solos), and Brandon Sebastian (20 solos) is supplemented by Vegas’ Keylon Kennedy (34 solos) and Seattle’s Qwynnterrio Cole (32 solos). Safe money says to not expect too much more activity in this area prior to training camp.

SAFETY – No doubt, Askew-Henry’s portfolio was the main reason St. Louis claimed him in Monday’s first round and Kelly was also a solid pick-up in the third round (17 tackles and two interceptions with San Antonio in 2023). This could be your starting duo heading into the regular season. Another invitee to training camp will help supplement.

KICKING – No activity by St. Louis in Monday’s second dispersal draft, so returning punter Sterling Hofrichter remains the only player in this area. Expect a long-kicker to be invited to the team’s training camp.





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By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is a writer for Arch City Media, dating back to February 2014. Emphasis is on featuring and promoting local women's sports, but will cover anything that is not reported by traditional media outlets. Also a contributor to local concert reviews.

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