Thunder continue to comprise roster Nov 10, 2015 18:08:06 GMT -8
Post by DiamondThief on Nov 10, 2015 18:08:06 GMT -8
Nov. 6, 2015 -- Wide receiver Jamar Howard, center John Collins and linebacker K.C. Obi will return to the Portland Thunder after being assigned to the team during the first days of Arena Football League free agency.
The team announced the acquisitions of wide receivers Nick Truesdell and Rashaad Carter on Nov. 5.
Under the AFL's single-entity business model, players agree to terms with a team, sign with the league, then are "assigned" to that team.
Howard (6'4", 215 lbs) was among the league's top receivers in 2015 before going down to injury in week five against the Orlando Predators. He set career-highs with 51 catches for 711 yards and 14 touchdowns in seven games with the Thunder. In 2014 he caught 44 passes for 664 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 games with the team. Howard appeared in five games in 2009 for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, catching three passes for 50 yards, before transferring to Central Missouri.
“Jamar Howard is a very special player,” Thunder head coach Andy Olson said in a team press release. “He has the ability to be the number one receiver on any roster in this league. His experience and desire to be great is going to spread throughout the team and will only make us a stronger unit.”
Collins (6'4", 305), one of the Thunder's team captains, was named Second Team All-Arena after starting 17 games at center in 2015 for the team. He started two games at center as a rookie the previous season. Collins and quarterback Kyle Rowley comprised an Ivy League connection in their respective positions, as Collins played college football at Harvard and Rowley attended Brown.
“Being able to secure an All-Arena center like John Collins is tremendous,” head coach Andy Olson stated. “He is a guy you want to build your organization around, but John doesn’t just give us great play on the field. His leadership within the locker will be even more important.”
Obi collected 36.5 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 17 games with Portland. He had 26 tackles and five sacks in 15 games as a rookie with the Thunder in 2014. He recorded 12 sacks and 132 tackles in his career at the University of North Texas, where he was named to the All-Sun Belt Freshman Team by Rivals.com. He also received the UNT's Bill Bishop Award as the Mean Green's Outstanding Defensive Lineman as a senior.
Adding a player with the versatility and work ethic that Obi has is crucial for our defense,” Olson said. “He had a break out season in 2015, and we are looking forward to him building to be a dominant player in this League.”
The Thunder also added the following rookies during the initial days of free agency.
Rico Forbes, offensive lineman
6'6", 315 lbs; Washington St.
Justin Francis, defensive end
6'4", 245 lbs; Rutgers
Delano Johnson, defensive end
6'3", 280 lbs; Bowie St.
Antoine Lewis, defensive back
5'11", 190 lbs; Purdue
Dakarai Pecikonis, wide receiver
5'11", 190 lbs; Angelo St.
Darius Savage, offensive lineman
6'4", 340 lbs; UCLA
Reggie Wilson, defensive end
6'3", 255 lbs; Texas
The Thunder will be entering their third season in spring of 2016. Training camp will likely begin in either February or March, depending on when the AFL schedules opening week. The league is expected to release its schedule in December or January.
Note: Official AFL bios were used to help compile this report.
Photo Credits: Jamar Howard (left), John Collins (center), K.C. Obi (right) courtesy The Portland Tribune.
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