Defenders Boost Roster with 12 New Signings, Including Anyiam, St. John, and Toca
November 1, 2013 - Champions Professional Indoor Football League (CPIFL) - Oklahoma Defenders News Release
Tulsa, OK- The Oklahoma Defenders announced their first wave of newcomers to the organization for the 2014 season. 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 highlight the new signings.
Offensively, the Defenders 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).
Hubert Anyiam (6', 200) recorded 83 catches for 1052 yards and 9 touchdowns during his career at Oklahoma State. Anyiam was on pace for a huge senior year before a foot injury sidelined him for the season. After college, Anyiam spent time with the San Diego Chargers and the Carolina Panthers. Anyiam brings a big play mentality as well as an explosive skill set to the receiving core for 2014.
Jared St. John (6'4, 265) comes to the Defenders from the University of Tulsa. During his senior season at the University of Tulsa, St. John led the Conference USA in sacks with 11.5. During that season, his 14 tackles for loss ranked 6th in the conference, and his 3 forced fumbles ranked 4th. St. John looks to bring that non-stop motor and sack expertise with him to the defensive line.
Gus Toca (6'3, 265) recorded 40.5 tackles for loss and 20 sacks in his career at Pitt State. Toca was a 3- time All-Conference performer, two-time All-American, and a 2011 National Champion during his time at Pitt State. He looks to bring tenacity to the Defenders' defensive line.
Nathan Gilsleider (6'4, 215) comes to the Defenders from Oklahoma State as well. Nathan was a walk- on at Oklahoma State after picking up football his junior year of college. He is a fast and physical presence that should immediately compliment the Defenders passing attack.
Brandon Dondlinger (6'4, 225) comes to the Defenders after a stellar career at University of Nebraska Kearney. During his career, he amassed 53 catches for 683 yards and 5 touchdowns. Dondlinger brings size and strength to the WR position for the 2014 season.
Zach Rasmussen (6'4, 205) joins the Defenders from the Air Force Academy. Rasmussen, younger brother of head coach Derek Rasmussen, was back-up for All-Mountain West quarterback Tim Jefferson from 2008-2010. His ability to run, as well as throw, will bring an added dimension to the Defender offense.
Allan Stroud (6'8, 340) comes to the Defenders from the University of Maine. Allan is no stranger to the CPIFL and to Defender fans, as he most recently played for the Renegades in 2013. His size and ability were an anchor for one of the best offensive line units in the CPIFL last season.
Tommy Frevert (6'1, 205) joins the Defenders from Northwest Missouri State University. Frevert was an all-conference kicker in college and was one of the top kickers in the CPIFL in 2013. As a KC Renegade last season, his 51 yard field goal against Sioux City is the longest in league history.
Austen Brooner (6'2, 225) comes to the Defenders from Pryor High School where he was one of the best linebacker/running back combinations in Oklahoma. During his senior season, he finished amongst the top in tackles as well as touchdowns in the state.
Joe Means (6'1, 195) joins the Defenders after a standout career at Arkansas Tech. During his senior season at Tech, Means recorded 42 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 6 passes defended, and 1 sack. His versatility to play corner and safety will only strengthen the Defenders secondary.
Nate Heard (6' 185) comes to Tulsa from the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh. He was a three-time All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honoree. Heard started 34 of the 38 games he played at Oshkosh and finished with 114 tackles, 51 passes defensed, and 12 interceptions. He was the only rookie invited to training camp with the Utah Blaze in 2013.
Niko Wright (5'11 205) joins the Defenders after a very productive career at Bacone College. During his time at Bacone, Wright recorded 152 tackles from the safety position to go along with 2 interceptions. Niko is a force in run support and looks to be a physical presence in the Defenders secondary. Wright most recently was with the Sioux Falls Storm in 2013.
"To say I'm excited about these guys coming to Tulsa is an understatement," stated Head Coach Derek Rasmussen. "These are all high-caliber athletes, but most importantly they are character guys. If you add these guys with the core of returners from last year's team, March 1st can't get here soon enough. We have something to prove this year, and with these signings, I think we've taken the first steps to do just that."
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Champions Professional Indoor Football League Stories from November 1, 2013
- Defenders Boost Roster with 12 New Signings, Including Anyiam, St. John, and Toca - Oklahoma Defenders
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