By Matt Schabert, Morehead State Athletic Media Relations
MOREHEAD, Ky. — With the XFL set to return in 2023, six Morehead State football alums have the opportunity to prove themselves and possibly hear their names during the league’s draft in early November.
Former Eagle standouts Jake Sutherland, Vaughn Taylor, Jr., BJ Byrd, Vincent Winey, Earl Stoudemire and Tyler Noble are in the XFL Draft Pool. The league, which is a modified continuation of the 2020 XFL that was cut short due to COVID, will field teams in Arlington (Texas), Houston, Las Vegas, Orlando, St. Louis, San Antonio and Washington D.C.
Sutherland, who wrapped up his Eagle career in 2017, has actually already seen experience in the previous XFL, having been a part of the New York Guardians. The tight end caught five career TDs as an Eagle and had more than 500 receiving yards.
Taylor, Jr., the 2021 PFL Defensive Player of the Year who set the MSU record with 60 career tackles for loss and led the PFL in sacks multiple times, says he can’t wait to get back on the field if he is afforded the chance. He is currently serving as a student coach at MSU.
“Being in the XFL draft pool is something that’s very exciting,” he said. “It would be a blessing to be drafted by any of the organizations this November. For the most part, I’ve just been working to stay in shape, but I can’t wait for the opportunity to get back to terrorizing opposing offenses and mostly the quarterbacks.”
Byrd set numerous records on his way to being named a five-time All-American and the PFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2021. And while the wide receiver yearned for that opportunity in the NFL, he said just to be able to play again professionally is something he is working hard for.
“I would say it keeps me motivated to keep pushing to play football,” said Byrd. “Sometimes everything doesn’t go your way and there are different obstacles you may have to go through to get to the top. Not saying this an obstacle but this is just a different route on my journey.”
Winey, a multiple First-Team All-PFL linebacker, had more than 100 tackles for his Eagles in 2021. He has also been working to stay in shape and be ready if his name is called.
“It’s really exciting to be a part of this new inaugural season of the XFL,” he said. “I’m super thankful and blessed to have been invited into the draft pool and grateful for the opportunities these coaches and staff are creating for us.”
Noble finished his career in 2021 as well, breaking up nine passes to go along with 43 total tackles. He also had three interceptions as the Eagles went 7-4 in 2021.
Stoudemire racked up more than 600 rushing yards in his career.