SaberCats Assigned DB David Hyland, OL Zack McKnight and QB Nick Stephens
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The San Jose SaberCats and Arena Football League announced today that they have been assigned three players in the Offseason Assignment Process, highlighted by former Utah Blaze defensive back David Hyland. San Jose also added former Chicago Rush offensive lineman Zack McKnight and former Tennessee Titans QB Nick Stephens, who was a member of the Blaze last season.
"David is a difference-maker at both defensive back as well as on special teams and we are very happy to add him into the mix for 2014," said SaberCats Owner/Head Coach Darren Arbet. "Zack will help shore up our already steady offensive line and Nick, at quarterback, is a guy who has a chance to be a really good one in this league."
Hyland (6-0, 200, Morehead State), joins San Jose following his last two seasons as a member of the Blaze. In 2013, he posted a team-high seven interceptions and was also the team's leader in tackles with 85.5 (68 solo) in 17 appearances. In addition, he recovered three fumbles and forced two more from his defensive back position. He also was the primary kick returner for Utah, with 61 returns for 1,062 yards, an average of 17.4 yards per return. In 2012, the Georgia native also led the Blaze defense in tackles with 81.0 (68 solo), pulled in a pair of interceptions and recovered one fumble.
In addition to his time in the AFL, from 2010-11 Hyland was a member of the Canadian Football League's BC Lions as well as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. As an AFL rookie in 2010 with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, Hyland burst onto the indoor scene with a team-leading eight interceptions and 76.5 (61 solo) tackles in the secondary. He also caught one pass as a wide receiver that went for an eight-yard touchdown. Immediately following his collegiate career, Hyland spent a brief time in training camp with the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League.
Hyland was a two-time, mid-major All-American during his collegiate career at Morehead State (2005-08). He appeared in 44 games for the Eagles and tallied a school-record 21 interceptions. He posted 167.0 tackles with three forced fumbles and 40 pass breakups.
McKnight (6-4, 310, Arkansas State) appeared in two games for the Rush in 2013 as a rookie. The former Arkansas State Red Wolf was the 2012 recipient of the Gary Withrow Award, given annually to the team's offensive lineman of the year. McKnight helped lead Arkansas State to a school-record 466.7 yards of total offense per game during that season and was a key component of an offensive line unit that ranked in the top 20 in the nation in sacks allowed. The Salyer, Calif. native was also selected as an All-Sun Belt first team member during his senior campaign.
Stephens (6-3, 235, Tarleton State) did not appear in any games for Utah in 2013, and ventured to Salt Lake City following his time with the NFL's Tennessee Titans. He signed with the Titans as an undrafted free agent out of Tarleton State (Texas) in May of 2012 and appeared in two preseason games. After beginning his collegiate career with the Tennessee Volunteers, Stephens transferred to Tarleton State. He appeared in 19 games over two seasons for the Texans, completing 54.9% of his passes for 4,524 yards with 27 touchdowns. He also added five rushing scores as well. Prior to his transfer, he appeared in ten games over two seasons with Tennessee, throwing for 982 yards and eight touchdowns for the Vols.
On Friday, San Jose also announced that the team has exercised one-year rookie options on offensive linemen Jordan Mudge and Dennis Godfrey, along with defensive back Andre Freeman, defensive linemen Ollie Ogbu and Justin Edison, as well as quarterback Mitch Mustain.
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