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Forget the NFL Draft, what about Big Ten players in the AAF?!

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Canada too cold for you? Always wanted to play for Steve Spurrier and/or Mike Riley? NOW YOU HAVE THE CHANCE!

Michigan v Penn State
A Hackenberg in his natural habitat.
Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images

In approximately I don’t actually know or care how many days, the Alliance of American Football kicks off in various shitty cities across mostly the Sun Belt. It’ll be televised on CBS, because apparently that’s a thing, and I’m not sure what the point of it is besides to further monetize our insatiable demand for watching people paid to get CTE, but I don’t think this is the one that’s basically a reaction to the super racist and shitty parts of American society that like to yell at people for...

...well, yeah. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?

Anyway, after seeing a tweet from Scott Dochterman that had Iowa RB Akrum Wadley forgoing what I’m sure would be a lucrative career in the CFL (joining Hawks like Drew Tate and...well, probably others? Northwestern product Tyrell Sutton is still there, too!) to sign with the Atlanta Tough Guys* of the AAF, I wondered just how many Big Ten guys there were playing in The League The Other League No, the Other One.
*Completely made-up, will not be fact-checked.

Looking at each team roster and Ctrl-F’ing (not as fun as it sounds) to find players of every team, I took a fun little walk down memory lane and learned a little in the provcess. There are players (plural!) from Northwest Missouri State, but none from Northwestern. David Cobb is no longer in the NFL, apparently, but it’s nice to see All-Namers Tracy Sprinkle and Chunky Clements getting a second shot. Really, there’s something here for everyone!

Here is your list of B1G players in the AAF, as of 11:20am on Wednesday:

Name Pos. College AAF Team
Hugh Thornton G Illinois Arizona
Chunky Clements DT Illinois Arizona
Darius Latham DT Indiana Arizona
Marcus Oliver LB Indiana Atlanta
Chase Dutra DB Indiana San Antonio
Andrew McDonald OL Indiana San Antonio
Dexter McDougle DB Maryland Arizona
Michael Dunn T Maryland Birmingham
Amba Etta-Tawo WR Maryland Birmingham
Nick Novak K Maryland Birmingham
Brandon Ross RB Maryland Birmingham
Denard Robinson RB Michigan Atlanta
Ty Isaac RB Michigan Birmingham
Channing Stribling CB Michigan Memphis
De'Veon Smith RB Michigan Orlando
Matt Godin DL Michigan San Antonio
Henry Poggi RB Michigan San Antonio
Kurtis Drummond DB Michigan State San Antonio
Garrison Wright G Minnesota Birmingham
David Cobb RB Minnesota San Antonio
Andrew Stelter DT Minnesota San Diego
Kieron Williams DB Nebraska Arizona
Josh Banderas LB Nebraska Salt Lake
Kenny Bell WR Nebraska Salt Lake
Tyler Hoppes TE Nebraska Salt Lake
Terrell Newby RB Nebraska Salt Lake
DeMornay Pierson-El WR Nebraska Salt Lake
Chase Farris OL Ohio State Atlanta
Doran Grant CB Ohio State Atlanta
Tracy Sprinkle DT Ohio State Atlanta
Jalin Marshall WR Ohio State Orlando
Keon Willis CB Ohio State Salt Lake
Marcus Baugh TE Ohio State San Diego
Christian Hackenberg QB Penn State Memphis
Tyrell Chavis DT Penn State Orlando
Deion Barnes DL Penn State San Antonio
Akeem Hunt RB Purdue Orlando
Eddy Wilson DL Purdue Salt Lake
Danny Ezechukwu LB Purdue San Antonio
Ra'Zahn Howard DL Purdue San Antonio
Austin Larkin LB Purdue San Antonio
Gelen Robinson DT Purdue San Diego
Steve Beauharnais LB Rutgers Arizona
Quentin Gause LB Rutgers Memphis
Darius Hamilton DL Rutgers Salt Lake
Paul James RB Rutgers San Diego
Myles Nash DE Rutgers San Diego
Darius Hillary DB wisconsin Arizona
Austin Traylor TE wisconsin Salt Lake

I know you’re wondering things like...

  • Why are there so many Nebraska Cornhuskers on Salt Lake?
  • What good is a kicker in leagues where a TD is an automatic 7 points; or, Nick Novak was a Maryland Terrapin?
  • lol this is what it’s come to for Denard Robinson and Christian Hackenberg

And, reader, you’d be right to wonder all those things and more. Would it help you to know that some head coaches in the AAF have Big Ten ties?

  • Kevin Coyle (Atlanta HC): Maryland DC, 1994-1996
  • Tim Lewis (Birmingham HC): He wasn’t in the Big Ten, I just want to note that after flaming out of the NFL as a DBs coach with the Falcons (2010-2014) and 49ers (2015), Lewis resurfaced as the DC for Pinecrest Academy (not even looking it up) in 2018 before taking this job. A Very Professional League!
  • Mike Singletary (Memphis HC): Again, not B1G, but just posting it so I don’t get what-abouted in the comments.
  • Steve Spurrier (Orlando HC): THE OL’ HEAD BALL COACH RIDES AGAIN
  • Rick Neuheisel (Arizona HC): lololol wait what really
  • Dennis Erickson (Salt Lake HC): I don’t really give a shit about what Erickson did at Miami; what he did at Idaho remains his most impressive accomplishment. I’m referring, of course, to launching the career of John L. Smith.
  • Mike Martz (San Diego HC):
  • Mike Riley (San Antonio HC): Can’t think of anything. Nope. Nooooope. Give me 4 to 8 minutes and I bet I still couldn’t.