23 °C London, GB
20th July 2019

AAF: Memphis Express Preview

© Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal

Next up in our series of the eight founding teams in the AAF is the Memphis Express.

The Express will be playing at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, home to the NCAA University of Memphis Tigers football team in midtown Memphis. The Liberty Bowl holds 58,318 people.

The Express hold the player rights for the following colleges:

Tennessee, LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Memphis, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee, Austin Peay, Chattanooga, East Tennessee State, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, UT Martin, Carson-Newman, Lane, and Tusculum.

For players who attended non-affiliate colleges, player rights are designated based on their most recent pro-football experience. For this, the Express control the Bengals, Colts, Saints, and Titans from the NFL and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from the CFL.

Head Coach

Mike Singletary

Singletary is the former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and an integral member of the Chicago Bears’ 1980s defense and a 1998 Hall of Fame inductee. He served with Niners until 2010 and since then has been a linebackers coach (Minnesota Vikings), a defensive assistant (Los Angeles Rams) and a senior adviser to Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations.

In his most recent incarnation, Singletary was the head coach at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas. He’s eager to get back onto the big stage having recently turned 60. “I was not able to get an opportunity that I wanted. So to get this one, for this to come across the table, I’m very excited about it”, Singletary said after his appointement.

Key Players

Zach Mettenberger (QB)

Former LSU Tiger, and NFL journeyman Zach Mettenberger is back on the field after last suiting up in the NFL Spring League. While he didn’t have the most successful NFL career, he did post 2,347 yards, 12 TD and 14 INT while playing for the Titans. However, his 0-10 record as a starter saw him quickly out of the league.

Other stops for Mettenberger included the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets and San Diego Chargers. When asked about his approach to preparing for life in the AAF Mettenberger said, “I just tried to keep my head up and keep working. And, now, there’s an opportunity for me to go out and prove myself.”

Christian Hackenberg (QB)

Hackenberg is another former NFL quarterback looking to get his career back on track. Likely to be the starter he bounced around 3 NFL teams in 2018 before finally being cut from the Bengals practice squad in November.

Taken with the 51st pick in the 2016 NFL draft by the New York Jets, Hackenberg never really got his career off the ground in the NFL. Despite a somewhat desperate situation in New York, Hackenberg failed to make the field in either of his seasons.

However, after an impressive pre-season game against the Stallions it seems the former Penn State star has secured the starting spot for the season opener. Hackenberg went 9/15 for 125 yards and a touchdown.

Damore’ea Stringfellow (WR)

Former Ole miss WR Damore’eaa Stringfellow found life hard in the NFL as well. After signing as an undrafted free agent with the Miami Dolphins in 2017, Stringfellow took a pass 99 yards for a touchdown in his opening pre-season game.

Unfortunately, that was the high-point of his career as he bounced from the Dolphins to the Jets, Seahawks, Titans, and back to the Seahawks. Out of high school he was rated the 6th best receiver in the country, so there’s no doubting the skill level is there. If he can get things going in Memphis he could really light up the highlight reel.

Zac Stacy (RB)

A former 5th round pick of the St Louis Rams, Zac Stacy looked to be settling in for a long stellar career in the NFL. After rushing for 973 yards and 7 TD’s, and catching another, his star seemed to be on the rise. Unfortunately for Stacy, the Rams were then in a position to draft a certain Todd Gurley in the 2015 draft.

After that, Stacy requested a trade and found himself at the graveyard of careers, the New York Jets. After just 8 games with the Jets, he broke his ankle against the Bills and was placed on IR. He subsequently retired from the NFL, and had a brief attempt at recovery in the CFL.

Another player who showed huge promise, if Stacy can find his place in Memphis he could be very productive. Despite being his 7th year since being drafted, he has very little mileage and could pose some huge problems for defences.

Roster:

Offense
NoNamePositionHeightWeightSchool
8Zach MettenbergerQB6-5229 LBSLouisiana State
12Brandon SilversQB6-3219 LBSTroy
14Christian HackenbergQB6-4228 LBSPenn State
20Zac StacyRB5-9223 LBSVanderbilt
34Rajion NealRB5-11212 LBSTennessee
49Anthony Manzo-LewisRB6-0269 LBSAlbany
85Cordon MoogRB6-5214 LBSBaylor
43Terrence MageeRB5-9216 LBSLouisiana State
13Devin LucienWR6-2194 LBSArizona State
17Reece HornWR6-3214 LBSIndianapolis
82Damore’ea StringfellowWR6-2218 LBSMississippi
81Alton “Pig” HowardWR5-8186 LBSTennessee
18Dontez ByrdWR5-11179 LBSTennessee Tech
86Fabian GuerraWR6-0189 LBSFairmont State
88Kayaune RossWR6-6224 LBSKentucky
80Brandon BarnesTE6-5224 LBSAlabama State
47Adrien RobinsonTE6-4266 LBSCincinnati
65Demetrius RhaneyC6-2300 LBSTennessee State
61Oni OmoileC6-3305 LBSIowa State
66Jessamen DunkerOG6-5305 LBSTennessee State
60Daronte BouldinOG6-5317 LBSMississippi
70Robert MyersOG6-5310 LBSTennessee State
67Dallas ThomasOG6-5314 LBSTennessee
71Christian MorrisOT6-6319 LBSMississippi
76Toby WeathersbyOT6-6307 LBSLouisiana State
77Anthony MorrisOT6-6290 LBSTennessee State
Defense
NoNamePositionHeightWeightSchool
91Jamichael Winston, Sr.DE6-4260 LBSArkansas
98Corey VereenDE6-2248 LBSTennessee
90Sam MontgomeryDE6-3269 LBSLouisiana State
92Julius WarmsleyDT6-2268 LBSTulane
97Greg GilmoreDT6-4307 LBSLouisiana State
95Montori HughesDT6-4349 LBSTennessee-Martin
94Latarius BradyDT6-2279 LBSMemphis
96Anthony JohnsonLB6-3293 LBSLouisiana State
58DeMarquis GatesLB6-2229 LBSMississippi
55Davis TullLB6-3239 LBSChattanooga
50Benetton FonuaLB6-0234 LBSHawaii
54Quentin GauseLB6-1234 LBSRutgers
45Colton JumperLB6-2228 LBSTennessee
53Drew JacksonLB6-1265 LBSWestern Kentucky
28Brandon MaidenDB6-1219 LBSJackson State
33Justin MartinDB6-1195 LBSTennessee
39Jeremy CutrerDB6-2170 LBSMiddle Tennessee State
25Arnold Tarpley, IIIDB6-1202 LBSVanderbilt
23Malik BoyntonDB6-0190 LBSAustin Peay
31Jonathan CookDB6-0197 LBSMemphis
24Charles James, IIDB5-9178 LBSCharleston Southern
30Channing StriblingDB6-2180 LBSMichigan
21Terrell BondsDB5-9175 LBSTennessee State
Special Teams
NoNamePositionHeightWeightSchool
4Brad WingP6-3204 LBSLouisiana State
44Ryan NavarroLS6-2222 LBSOregon State

Memphis will open their season on the road against the Birmingham Iron on February 10th.

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