Big Names Come To Brady Sullivan Field
Manchester, NH - NFL Europe has closed, and for the Manchester Wolves, that means even more opportunity to bring top-notch players to the roster.
The Wolves recently signed five new players, including one whom was with the Washington Redskins earlier this year and was in camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aaris Johnson, a 6'4, 320 pound offensive lineman, recorded 43 tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss in his senior campaign with the Bears of Morgan State. In 2004, the native of Washington, D.C. was a 2nd team all Mid-Eastern Conference selection and was also named Morgan State football Defensive MVP in 2004.
"We look for Aaris to come in and be a very physical presence for us on the field," said new Wolves Head Coach Danton Barto. "With his frame and build, we have no doubt he can do this successfully."
The same is true of Larry McSwain, a valuable pass rusher signed by the Wolves. McSwain, a defensive end, comes to the Wolves from the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB). At UAB, the Mobile, Alabama native was a two-time, first-team all-league selection (2004 & 2005), as well as an All-Conference USA Coaches first-team selection in 2006. In his first season in Division I-A football with UAB, the 6'1, 255 pound defensive end recorded 13 sacks in the regular season, which ranked him tops in Conference USA and fourth in the nation among Division I-A schools. In his three-year career at UAB McSwain tallied 148 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss and 23 sacks.
"Larry was one of the premier pass rushers during his collegiate career," said Barto. "I am excited to see what his skills can translate to in the arena game."
Johnson's fellow Morgan State teammate Cathlyn Clark will also be coming to Manchester by way of the Baltimore-based Morgan State University. The 5'10, 185 pound defensive back is a lock-down cornerback with explosive speed. Clark was named to play in the East Coast Bowl Game in 2006 after completing his senior season at Morgan State. The Freeport, Bahamas native transferred to Morgan State from the University of Connecticut where he saw action at both cornerback and on special teams.
"We expect Cathlyn to come into training camp and immediately compete at the highest level for a spot on the final roster," said Barto.
Also signed was quarterback James Pinkney. Pinkney, a 6'3, 220 pound quarterback, will enter his second season with the af2. The QB out of Delray Beach, Florida, comes to the Wolves after appearing in four games last year for the Laredo Lobos. James was touted as one of the nation's best-kept secrets and most underrated signal-callers in Conference USA coming out of East Carolina University. At East Carolina University he stood among the top 50 quarterbacks nationally according to Phil Steele Magazine. In 2005, Pinkney led the Pirates of ECU to the fourth-best passing season in school history by starting all 11 games and completing 222-of-366 passes for 2,773 yards. As a three-year starter at East Carolina, he threw for 44 touchdowns and rushed for 11 touchdowns.
"I'm very familiar with the career James had at ECU," said Barto. "I also like that he's seen playing time in the af2 at the end of last season. He has all the tools to be a great Arena QB, and I can't wait to see him put those to use this year."
Lineman Daniel Oliphant joins the Wolves after being assigned to NFL Europe from the Baltimore Ravens. According to Barto, Oliphant's frame and size make him an undeniable presence on the offensive line. Oliphant was honored numerous times at Colby (Maine) as a standout offensive lineman. The 6'6", 330 pound offensive lineman was twice named as a first team all-conference selection in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Oliphant also collected honors at Colby as he was a recipient of the Ellsworth Millett Award, which honors individuals who have contributed most to the Colby athletic program in their four years of participation.
Wolves General Manager Peter Morris said the 2008 team is really coming together. "I believe we're going to be able to make a run at an af2 championship," he said.
The Manchester Wolves are a Manchester-based professional football team whose players are recruited from some of the top colleges and football programs across the nation. For more information, visit www.manchesterwolves.com.
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