Former Clemson players taken in the XFL draft

ATHENS, GA - AUGUST 30: Keith Marshall #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs is tackled by Tavaris Barnes #9 and D. J. Reader #48 of the Clemson Tigers at Sanford Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - AUGUST 30: Keith Marshall #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs is tackled by Tavaris Barnes #9 and D. J. Reader #48 of the Clemson Tigers at Sanford Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Three former Clemson football players were taken in the XFL Draft in October. Here’s a look at the league and what Tiger fans can expect.

The XFL will open their second reincarnation beginning in February of 2020. There are eight teams, all owned by the league.

The head coaches were hired during the past months, team names and colors were finally announced, stadium contracts were signed, season tickets are offered for sale, and all that was left to do was to form rosters.

On October 15 and 16, the XFL held its first-ever draft – and now the league has players.

The teams and respective head coaches are as follows: Dallas Renegades/Bob Stoops, (Washington) DC Defenders/Pep Hamilton, Houston Roughnecks/June Jones, Los Angeles Wildcats/Winston Moss, New York Guardians/Kevin Gilbride, St. Louis Battlehawks/Jonathan Hayes, Seattle Dragons/Jim Zorn, and Tampa Bay Vipers/Marc Trestman.

Stoops is well-known in college football circles. His Oklahoma Sooners won the National Championship in 2000 and captured 10 Big-12 titles. He was named national Coach-of-the-Year twice and was a six-time Coach-of-the-Year winner with the Big-12.

Jones is the architect of the fabled “run-and-shoot” offense. Gilbride was the offensive coordinator with the New York Giants when they captured two Super Bowls. Moss has also won a Super Bowl as a coach with the Green Bay Packers in 2010.

Trestman is a three-time Grey Cup Champion (CFL) and was twice named that league’s Coach-of-the-Year. He was also the quarterbacks coach for the Miami Hurricanes which won the College Football National Championship in 1983.

Notable assistant coaches include former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Chris Miller as offensive coordinator with Houston, Scott Spurrier tight ends coach – Dallas, Pepper Johnson defensive coordinator with Los Angeles, defensive backs coach for New York is Cris Dishman, Tim Lewis defensive backs coach of St. Louis, a Mike Riley sighting with Seattle as the offensive coordinator, and the return of longtime NFL head coach Jerry Glanville as the defensive coordinator of Tampa.

Only three former Clemson players were selected in the XFL draft. Why so few? Because the National Football League currently has 38 Clemson players on various rosters. Three of those NFL clubs have a trio of Clemson players: Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and the Oakland Raiders who drafted DE Clelin Ferrell and WR Hunter Renfrow in last year’s college draft. The Houston Texans currently employ five former Tigers, including QB Deshaun Watson and WR DeAndre Hopkins.

The XFL draft was instituted in a manner that is not normally how drafts operate. For one, being the maiden season, eight quarterbacks were placed into the premier QB category and then “allocated” to each of the eight teams as “initial quarterback assignments.” The purpose of this was an effort to balance out the signal-caller talent, the game’s most important position.

Next, other players were placed into five categories: skill players, offensive linemen, defensive front seven, defensive backfield and open draft. 1,000 players were entered into the XFL draft database to be considered. There were other quarterbacks in this draft, however, they were placed in the skill position category and could be drafted.

Most sports drafts have the first team select whomever they wish, followed by the second club, and so on until round one has concluded. Then the process repeats in Round 2, and so on until however many rounds are set up.

With this XFL draft, their effort was to make each club as competitive as possible amongst all eight franchises. The last thing any league wants is for one team to be stacked or for another to have a miserable squad. The imbalance would only bring scrutiny and disinterest among ticket buyers as well as the television audience.

For each category, the teams were shuffled and first pick in each category became a blind draw.

The Dragons selected former Clemson OT Isaiah Battle (6’,7”, 370 pounds) in the first-round of the offensive linemen category. Battle was a former fifth-round draft pick in the 2015 Supplemental Draft by the St. Louis Rams and signed a four-year contract worth just over $2.5 million. After the 2016 season he was cut and claimed by the Chiefs, and then traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a seventh-round draft pick. After spending a season on the Seahawks’ practice squad, he was released and picked up by the Carolina Panthers who also later released him.

While with Clemson, Battle served two suspensions for punching a player and another that involved marijuana possession.

The Roughnecks got defensive end Corey Crawford (6’,5”, 298 pounds) in the second-round of the defensive front seven selection process. Crawford signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015 by the Washington Redskins and ended up on their practice squad for two seasons. He then signed with the Columbus Lions of the National Arena League, an indoor professional league played on a hockey rink. This past winter, he played for the Memphis Express of the now-defunct AAF.

Crawford was a freshman on Clemson’s 2011 ACC Champion squad, named Third Team All-ACC and was an invitee to the prestigious Senior Bowl. He had 123 tackles, 5 ½ sacks, one interception, one touchdown and two fumble recoveries for his college career. Currently he is 27 years old so he still has a lot of football left in him.

Another defensive end, Tavaris Barnes (6’3”, 275 pounds), played sparingly for Clemson from 2011-2014. He had 64 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, a fumble recovery for touchdown played in 47 games yet had only four starts. In his senior season he played in only seven games. As projected, Barnes was not selected in the 2015 NFL draft and signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints but made their final 53-man roster.

Next. Studs and Duds from the Louisville victory. dark

He was released the following spring. From there, Barnes was signed by the Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Redskins where he spent a season on their practice squad. After his release from Washington, he played for the Atlanta Legends of the AAF. Now staying in Washington, the DC Defenders selected Barnes in the Open Draft phase.

For more information on the XFL, ticket prices/availability and complete rosters, visit