Wranglers sign nine free agents
AUSTIN, TX, October 18, 2005 - The Austin Wranglers have signed nine free agents, strengthening the team's line-up of defensive backs, fullbacks, receivers and linemen. The new players join recently signed DS Damon Mason and QB Chance Mock as well as 22 Wranglers already under contract from the second season.
The Wranglers have signed OL/DL Donovan Arp, DS Deveron Harper and Mesene Louisdor, WR/DB Chris Canty, Shawndell Tucker and William Haith, and FB/LB R.J. Luke. The Wranglers have also acquired FB/LB Josh White through a trade with the New York Dragons, and OL/DL Luis Almanzar, through a trade with the Los Angeles Avengers.
"Our goal during Free Agency was to significantly increase our talent base on defense, primarily with our defensive backs," says Wranglers Head Coach Skip Foster. "We also wanted to increase the ability of our players at all positions from top to bottom on our entire roster. Each of these players fills a specific need on our team".
The Wranglers will host open tryouts on Saturday, November 5 and look to sign one or two players out of the tryouts. The team will bring 37 players to training camp in January.
Almanzar (6'4", 295, Missouri State) joins the Wranglers after playing his rookie AFL season with the Los Angeles Avengers. Playing in 13 games for the Avengers last season, Almanzar made 19 tackles (10th on the team), including four for losses and two quarterback sacks. He also batted down four passes and recovered a fumble. Almanzar signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 2001 NFL Draft, but was released during training camp. He was signed by the St. Louis Rams in 2002, but released prior to the regular season. In 2003, Almanzar was signed by the Seattle Seahawks and allocated to NFL Europe, where he played for the Frankfurt Galaxy and helped lead the team to a World Bowl XI victory. In November 2003, he was signed by the Denver Broncos and remained with the club until being released at the conclusion of the 2004 preseason. While at Missouri State (formerly Southwestern Missouri State), Almanzar earned All-Gateway Conference honors, leading the team with 10 sacks as a junior.
Arp (6'3", 285, Louisville) is a three-year veteran in the AFL, recording 2.5 sacks, 2 blocked kicks and an interception in 2005 with the Philadelphia Soul. Arp originally signed with the Tennessee Titans as an unrestricted free agent in 2001. He was signed by the Washington Redskins off the Tennessee Titans practice squad in 2001 and spent time with the Carolina and Washington Redskins in 2002 and 2003. Arp started 23 consecutive games with the Louisville Cardinals, recording 95 tackles (32 for a loss) and 13 sacks.
Canty (5'10", 190, Kansas State) comes to Austin after spending the 2005 season as a defensive specialist with the af2 Tulsa Talons. A four-year veteran of the NFL, Canty logged three sacks, four interceptions and 15 kickoff returns for 313 yards. Originally drafted as a first-round selection of the New England Patriots in 1997, Canty played two seasons with the Patriots (1997, 1998) and two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks (1999, 2000). Canty was a three-time All-American at Kansas State as a defensive back.
Haith (5'11", 190, Liberty), a defensive specialist, played with the af2's Manchester Wolves during the 2005 season. Haith established a new af2 record and franchise record for most tackles in a season with 121.5 and set a Manchester record for most tackles in a game with 13. He finished third in the league in passes defended with 33 and intercepted three passes on the season. Haith was named the ADT Defensive Player of the Game eight times and named the af2 Defensive Player of the Week once.
Harper (5'11", 200, Notre Dame) was signed by the Carolina Panthers in 2000 as a rookie free agent. The defensive specialist played two seasons with the Panthers, two years with the New Orleans Saints and was released from the Miami Dolphins during the 2005 Training Camp. Harper was selected by the Scottish Claymores in the second round of the NFL Europe Draft in 2003. Harper was a three-year starter with the Irish, tallying 174 total tackles, four interceptions, 12 passes defended, three sacks and four forced fumbles.
Louisdor (5'10", Central Michigan) signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2003, was released during training camp before the 2004 season. Louisdor also played with the Ottawa Renegades of the Canadian Football League in 2003, registering 11 tackles and an interception. In the spring of 2002, he played with Scotland of NFL Europe after being released from the Minnesota Vikings. In 2001, he played in the AFL after signing with the New York Dragons collecting two tackles. Louisdor also spent time in training camps with Berlin of NFL Europe (2001, 2002) and the XFL (2000).
Luke (6'3", 256, Western Illinois) began his career as a tight end, before switching to fullback and spent the 2005 summer with the Seattle Seahawks training camp before being released in July. Luke originally signed as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans in 2003 as a fullback/H-back and competed for the long snapping duties. Luke spent three seasons with Penn State before transferring to Western Illinois. Luke finished his collegiate career playing in 42 games, 30 for Penn State and 12 for Western Illinois. He totaled 53 receptions for 938 yards and seven touchdowns before his senior season. As a senior, he started 12 or 13 games, had 40 receptions for 725 yards and six touchdowns. Luke was named a consensus All-American at Waubonsie Valley (Aurora, Ill.) High School.
Tucker (5'9", 182, Hawaii) is a five-year veteran of the AFL, playing two seasons with Detroit (2001, 2002) and three seasons with Dallas (2003-2005). The wide receiver/defensive back totaled 52 catches for 723 yards and 11 touchdowns. Tucker on defense had 26.5 tackles and one pass breakup. In two seasons at Hawaii, Tucker totaled 87 tackles, 17 passes defended and two interceptions.
White (6'2", 265, California) a two-year veteran, was acquired by the Wranglers in a trade with the New York Dragons. The fullback/linebacker finished the season 4th in the AFL in rushing touchdowns with 12. He rushed for 180 yards (5th in the AFL) on 44 carries with twelve touchdowns and had seven receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns for the Dragons in 2005. On defense, White added 20 tackles, a pass breakup and an interception. In 2004 White rushed 18 times for 56 yards and seven touchdowns on offense and finished with 15 tackles and a sack on defense. Played the 2002 and 2003 seasons with the Hawaiian Islanders of the af2 and was the only player to be named all three game awards (MVP, Ironman and Defense) in franchise history.
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