Former Trojans get set for XFL opening weekend

Published 2:05 pm Thursday, February 16, 2023

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A host of former Troy University football stars are gearing up for the start of the 2022 XFL season this weekend.

A total of four former Trojan players are currently on XFL rosters, including quarterback Brandon Silvers (Houston Roughnecks), receiver Damion Willis (Seattle Sea Dragons), offensive tackle Antonio Garcia (Vegas Vipers) and defensive tackle Trevon Sanders (Orlando Guardians). Former Trojan Jordan Anthony was originally signed by the San Antonio Brahmas but did not make the final roster.

When the Guardians announced their depth chart for week one, Sanders was named starting nose tackle. Sanders played in the XFL in 2020 and was a starting defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Wildcats, earning five tackles on the season before the league ceased operations. Following his first year in the XFL, Sanders became a police officer in South Carolina. Sanders and the Guardians will play the Houston Roughnecks on Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in a game that will air live on ESPN and FX.

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When the Vipers and Sea Dragons released their depth charts, Garcia and Willis both landed on the second team behind starters. Willis has plenty of NFL experience but this is his first taste of spring football. He caught nine passes for 82 yards in two starts with the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie. He currently works as a receivers coach at Holmes Community College. Willis and the Sea Dragons will play the DC Defenders on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Garcia was a third round draft pick by the New England Patriots in the NFL before a medical condition derailed his career. He played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 2021 but this will also be his first time in a spring league. His Vipers play the Arlington Renegades on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. on ABC.

The Houston Roughnecks released the depth chart for week one on Feb. 16 and Brandon Silvers was named starting quarterback for the Roughnecks. Silvers is a spring football veteran, having played for both the Alliance of American Football (AAF) in 2019 and the XFL in 2020. Silvers threw for 799 yards and four touchdowns for the Memphis Express in the AAF before the league folded, and threw for 539 yards and six touchdowns for Seattle in the XFL before it folded. In fact, Silvers threw the first touchdown pass overall in the XFL in 2020. Silvers and the Roughnecks will play Sanders and the Guardians on Feb. 18.

The only week one XFL matchup that doesn’t feature a former Trojan is the St. Louis Battlehawks vs. San Antonio Brahmas game on Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. on ABC.