One Winston-Salem native, three Appalachian State alums and five former Wake Forest players were selected this week in the XFL Draft.

The draft, which took place Tuesday and Wednesday, was used to fill out the roster for the league’s eight teams. The XFL will debut in spring 2020, starting on Feb. 8 with two games.

Josh Hawkins, a Glenn High School graduate who went on to play at East Carolina and appear in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers and a few practice squads, was selected by the Dallas Renegades.

Wake Forest had five former players land with teams, with two pairs of Deacons ending up as teammates again. Matt Colburn and Tommy Bohanon, both running backs, were picked up by the New York Guardians. Josh Banks and Nikita Whitlock, both defensive linemen, are with the Tampa Bay Vipers. Ryan Anderson, an offensive lineman, is with the Houston Roughnecks.

App State saw three former players join the league. Malachi Jones, a wide receiver who was the offensive player of the year for the Albany Empire in the Arena Football League last season, was taken by the Seattle Dragons. Parker Collins was taken by the New York Guardians. And Clifton Duck, a defensive back, was scooped up by the St. Louis BattleHawks.

In total, at least 26 players affiliated with football programs in the state of North Carolina were drafted. 

The league assigned a quarterback to each team before the draft, then the draft was carried out in phases. The first four phases were 10 rounds a piece and broken into different position groups — offensive skill positions, offensive line, defensive front seven and defensive backs, in that order. The fifth and final phase lasted 30 rounds and allowed teams to draft players from any position. 

N.C. State and Wake Forest had five players apiece taken in the XFL, the highest amount for in-state colleges. North Carolina had four; App State and East Carolina each had three. Duke, N.C. A&T, N.C. Central, Western Carolina, Mars Hill and Catawba each had one.

Here’s a breakdown of former N.C. college athletes by each XFL team:


Quarterback Philip Nelson, East Carolina — Phase 1, seventh round

Defensive back Josh Hawkins, East Carolina — Phase 4, fifth round


Wide receiver Max McCaffrey, Duke — Phase 1, eighth round

Defensive back Desmond Lawrence, North Carolina — Phase 4, second round

Offensive lineman Terron Prescod, N.C. State — Phase 5


Offensive lineman Ryan Anderson, Wake Forest — Phase 2, eighth round

Defensive back Deji Olatoye, N.C. A&T — Phase 4, first round

Defensive lineman Johnny Maxey, Mar Hills — Phase 5

Wide receiver Sam Mobley, Catawba — Phase 5

Safety Fred Payne, Western Carolina — Phase 5


Running back Elijah Hood, North Carolina — Phase 1, first round

Safety Jack Tocho, N.C. State — Phase 4, first round

Defensive back CJ Moore, N.C. Central — Phase 4, third round

Defensive back Mike Stevens, N.C. State — Phase 4, ninth round

Quarterback Jalan McClendon, N.C. State (grad transferred to Baylor) — Phase 5


Quarterback Marquise Williams, North Carolina — Phase 1, 10th round

Offensive lineman Parker Collins, Appalachian State — Phase 2, third round

Running back Matt Colburn, Wake Forest — Phase 5

Running back Tommy Bohanon, Wake Forest — Phase 5


Defensive back Clifton Duck, Appalachian State — Phase 5

Wide receiver Davon Grayson, East Carolina — Phase 5


Wide receiver Malachi Jones, Appalachian State — Phase 1, 10th round

Wide receiver Austin Proehl, North Carolina — Phase 5


Offensive lineman Tony Adams, N.C. State — Phase 2, seventh round

Defensive lineman Josh Banks, Wake Forest — Phase 3, fifth round

Defensive lineman Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest — Phase 5

NOTE: The XFL didn't stream Phase 5 online. Instead, Phase-5 draftees were announced upon completion without their corresponding rounds.

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