Next up in our series of the eight founding teams in the AAF is the Orlando Apollos. The name ‘Apollos’ comes from the Greek God Apollo and the combined connection both the state of Florida and Apollo have with the Sun. The team will play in orange and navy blue – the orange to represent the Sunshine and the navy blue to represent the Apollo Space programme.
The Apollos will be playing at the University of Central Florida’s Spectrum Stadium. The stadium is also the home stadium of the division one NCAA football team UFC Knights. Spectrum Stadium holds 44,206 people and the Apollos have a deal which will allow them to play there for three years.
The Apollos hold the player rights for the following colleges:
Bethune-Cookman, Florida, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Florida State, Florida Tech, Jacksonville, Miami, Stetson, South Florida, UCF and West Florida.
For players who attended non-affiliate colleges, player rights are designated based on their most recent pro-football experience. For this, the Apollos control Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the NFL and Hamilton Tiger-Cats from the CFL.
The Apollos have hired former Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurriel as their first ever head coach. He is a former College level and NFL level head coach as well as having coached the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL. He coached the Washington Redskins for a year between 2002-03 before going on to take charge of college side South Carolina in 2005 – where he stayed for ten years. That was in fact his last coaching job so it’ll be interesting to see if four years away from the game has impacted his coaching ability in any way.
Garrett Gilbert (QB)
At 27 years of age, Garrett Gilbert will be the starting Quarterback for Spurriels offence. Gilbert has had his fair share of teams in the NFL as he has been a member of the St Louis Rams, New England Patriots, Detriot Lions, Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers (twice) – although he only managed to make an appearance for the Panthers.
He also had a five year College career during which he represented the Texas Longhorns and the SMU Mustangs. He will be backed up at the QB position this season by Kevin Anderson and Austin Appleby.
Marvin Bracy-Williams (WR)
Marvin Bracy-Williams junior is sure to be a big asset for Orlando on the flanks as he is a former Olympic sprinter. Since retiring from track, he has been pursuing a career in football – yet to yield much in the way of results. He has represented the Indianapolis Colts and The Seattle Seahawks but failed to make it past roster cuts in both sides.
He does have some college experience too as he represented Florida State in Track and football. He actually played in the All-America game in 2012 and made ESPN’s top ten plays of the night with a 32-yard acrobatic touchdown reception. In reference to his pace, his current personal best in the 100 metre sprint is a staggering 9.93 seconds – just 0.36 seconds behind Usain Bolt’s world record. If he can replicate his acrobatics from the All-America game and show us the full extent of his pace, he could be a fascinating watch in the AAF.
LaDarius Gunter (CB)
Gunter is one of Orlando’s more experienced players having spent more than two years playing in the NFL with Green Bay Packers and a short stint in Carolina. He managed to play a bit with Green Bay too when he replaced the injured Sam Shields in the 2016 season against Minnesota Vikings – in that game he recorded a forced fumble, his first in pro football.
During that season, Green Bay made the playoffs and Gunter played in the Wild Card round against the New York Giants – he was credited with keeping Odell Beckham Jnr to four catches for just 28 yards. In total, he managed 56 total tackles, 2 forced fumbles and 12 pass deflections in the NFL – He could be a huge player for Orlando on defence.
Cody Riggs (CB)
Like Gunter, Riggs is another corner with blistering speed. He also has a little bit of experience in the game with time spent the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent a year with each side and managed to rack up a modest 14 total tackles, two forced fumbles (One recovery) and two pass deflections.
His college career saw him play for the Florida Gators as well as Notre Dame and even spent a season playing as a safety for the Gators. When he transferred to Notre Dame for his final year, they moved him back to Corner and he racked up 36 tackles, one interception, three pass breakups and one forced fumble. Notably, Riggs is the son of three-time pro bowl running back, Gerald Riggs.
|3||Garrett Gilbert||QB||6-4||219 LBS||Southern Methodist|
|5||Austin Appleby||QB||6-4||239 LBS||Purdue|
|4||Kevin Anderson||QB||6-2||214 LBS||Fordham|
|22||D’Ernest Johnson||RB||5-10||207 LBS||South Florida|
|28||De’Veon Smith||RB||5-11||228 LBS||Michigan|
|21||Akeem Hunt||RB||5-10||182 LBS||Purdue|
|13||Ishmael Hyman||WR||6-0||187 LBS||James Madison|
|84||Chris Thompson||WR||6-0||170 LBS||Florida|
|17||Jalin Marshall||WR||5-11||204 LBS||Ohio State|
|10||Marvin Bracy-Williams, Jr.||WR||5-10||184 LBS||Florida State|
|11||Donteea Dye, Jr.||WR||5-9||187 LBS||Heidelberg|
|16||Rannell Hall||WR||6-1||199 LBS||Central Florida|
|19||Charles Johnson||WR||6-2||216 LBS||Grand Valley State|
|80||Sean Price||TE||6-3||244 LBS||South Florida|
|89||Matt Weiser||TE||6-5||255 LBS||Buffalo|
|83||Scott Orndoff||TE||6-5||255 LBS||Pittsburgh|
|75||Andrew Tiller||OG||6-5||323 LBS||Syracuse|
|63||Tre Jackson||OG||6-4||324 LBS||Florida State|
|64||Jordan McCray||OG||6-3||310 LBS||Central Florida|
|74||Marquis Lucas||OG||6-4||317 LBS||West Virginia|
|73||Trevor Darling||OT||6-4||300 LBS||Miami|
|66||Aaron Evans||OT||6-5||319 LBS||Central Florida|
|71||Ronald Patrick||OT||6-2||309 LBS||South Carolina|
|77||Chris Martin||OT||6-5||302 LBS||Central Florida|
|70||Quinterrius Eatmon||OT||6-6||312 LBS||South Florida|
|44||Andrew Ankrah||DE||6-4||248 LBS||James Madison|
|95||Ryan Davis, Sr.||DE||6-2||269 LBS||Bethune Cookman|
|59||Earl Okine||DE||6-7||264 LBS||Florida|
|92||Josh Banks, Sr.||DE||6-4||290 LBS||Wake Forest|
|99||Giorgio Newberry||DE||6-6||295 LBS||Florida State|
|97||Izaah Burks, Sr.||DT||6-3||312 LBS||Bowling Green|
|98||Anthony Moten, Jr.||DT||6-4||314 LBS||Miami|
|93||Leon Orr||DT||6-5||305 LBS||Florida|
|90||Antonio Guerad||DT||6-4||299 LBS||Central Florida|
|21||Jerome Couplin, III||LB||6-2||214 LBS||William & Mary|
|51||Terence Garvin||LB||6-3||244 LBS||West Virginia|
|52||Reggie Northrup, II||LB||6-1||231 LBS||Florida State|
|54||Azeem Victor||LB||6-3||230 LBS||Washington|
|58||Christian French||LB||6-5||250 LBS||Oregon|
|50||Jacob Pugh, III||LB||6-4||229 LBS||Florida State|
|27||Marquez White||DB||6-0||184 LBS||Florida State|
|33||Will Hill, III||DB||6-1||207 LBS||Florida|
|37||LaDarius Gunter||DB||6-2||197 LBS||Miami|
|31||D’Joun Smith||DB||5-11||189 LBS||Florida Atlantic|
|39||Keith Reaser||DB||6-0||189 LBS||Florida Atlantic|
|26||Josh Evans||DB||6-1||206 LBS||Florida|
|20||Cody Riggs||DB||5-9||185 LBS||Notre Dame|
|23||Mark Myers, Jr.||DB||5-9||189 LBS||Southeastern (FL)|
|28||Bryce Canady||DB||6-0||192 LBS||Florida International|
|1||Ben Turk||P||6-0||214 LBS||Notre Dame|
|53||Drew Ferris||LS||6-0||204 LBS||Florida|
|2||Elliott Fry||K||6-0||170 LBS||South Carolina|
Orlando will open their season at home against the Atlanta Legends on February 10th.