Xplorers wrap up training camp, 22-man roster set
SOUTHAVEN --- The Memphis Xplorers officially closed their 2006 training camp at the Pyramid in Memphis on Sunday and moved back permanently to the DeSoto Civic Center for today's (Monday) practice. Head Coach Danton Barto also pared his 2006 roster down to the league mandated 22.
Among the 22 players, eight were with the team as it captured its first ever af2 ArenaCup championship last season. They are kicker Steven Azar (5-8 192), OL/DL Joseph Crear (6-2, 260); defensive specialist Scott Cunningham (5-9, 180); WR/DB Deon Giddens (5-10, 189); OL/DL Kenyun Glover (6-3, 305); QB Brian Jones (6-2, 205); OL/DL Phillip Perry (6-2, 260) and WR/DB Terrance Quattlebaum (5-10,180).
Joining Crear, Glover and Perry on the offensive and defensive line will be fifth year af2 lineman Chris Egglestson (6-4, 285), who was with the Green Bay Blizzard last season; former University of Memphis Tiger center Gene Frederic (6-3, 300); Adrian Gonzalez (6-5, 340) from Louisiana Tech; Mark Weivoda (6-2, 295) from Idaho State and OL/DL David Bamiro (6-2, 235) from Stony Brook. Frederic and Gonzalez are rookies while Weivoda was with the Xplorers in camp last season before tearing his bicep and missing the entire 2005 campaign. Barto is planning on using Bamiro, who nearly made the Minnesota Vikings roster coming out of their 2005 training camp, as one of the two defensive specialists.
Backing up Jones at quarterback will be former Marshall Thundering Herd signal caller and Oxford, MS native Stan Hill.
Making the final roster at the FB/LB positions are Joshua Rue (6-4, 248) out of Duquesne; Chris Peavy (6-2, 255) from Division II Shaw University and Louis Wilson (6-3, 243) of Alcorn State. All three are listed as af2 rookies, although Rue has spent time in the NFL, most notably on the 2003 Arizona Cardinals practice squad.
There are a number of familiar faces at the WR/DB spots with Cunningham, Quattlebaum and Giddens returning. Joining those incumbents are Daryon Brutley (6-0, 192) from Northern Iowa; Domonique Dunbar (6-1, 190) from Louisville; Remuise Johnson (5-9, 176) from Kansas and Tommy Manus (6-5, 225) from Morgan State and Greg Golden (5-11, 189) from North Carolina State. Golden and Cunningham will vie for the other specialist position on the defensive side of the ball.
Kicker Azar (5-8, 192) makes his return after serving as the team's main kicker last season.
The roster features three former Memphis Tigers: Glover, Frederic and Eggleston.
The seventh af2 season, and the sixth for the Xplorers, opens this weekend. The Xplorers open defense of their ArenaCup title this Saturday night as they travel to Huntsville, AL to face the division rival Tennessee Valley Vipers at 7:30. The team will then open the home portion of the schedule on April 8 versus another divisional opponent, the Florida Firecats, at 7 p.m. at the DeSoto Civic Center.
All 16 Xplorers regular season games will be heard on 730 ESPN Radio and via the internet at www.730espn.com.
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