Player, mascot tryouts slated


By Elizabeth Devita - Columbus Destroyers

Columbus Destroyers Announce Tryouts to be held March 23rd at Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports

COLUMBUS – The Columbus Destroyers announced recently that the team will hold tryouts on Saturday, March 23rd at Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports in Hilliard, Ohio. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. with tryouts to take place from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The entry fee for Saturday’s tryouts is $100 for pre-registration online and $150 cash only for payments on the day of the tryout. Workouts for kickers will take place from 8 a.m.-9 a.m. with registration taking place from 7-7:30 a.m. All participants will receive an official Destroyers tryout t-shirt.

Drills will be led by Destroyers Head Coach Matthew Sauk, Defensive Coordinator/Line Coach Clay Harrell and Defensive Backs Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Stanley Franks.

“There are so many talented football players here in the state of Ohio,” said Sauk. “We’re excited to get on the field with them and look forward to seeing who has what it takes to earn a spot on our training camp roster. Our goal is to sign one or two players coming out of tryouts, so we want the absolute best out of everyone in attendance. Those participating better come ready to work.”

The tryouts will feature traditional combine testing drills that include the 40-yard dash, short shuttle, broad jump and the L drill. Participants will also be placed into groups and position-specific drills. Those who register must wear comfortable athletic shorts and a t-shirt. The tryout surface will be field turf, so turf shoes or molded bottom cleats are required. No track spikes will be permitted.

Tryout information:

Where: Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports (4696 Cosgray Rd., Hilliard, OH 43026)

Date: Saturday, March 23rd

Cost: $100 Online Early Entry – or $150 Cash ONLY payment on the day of the tryout.

Each participant will be provided with a Destroyers tryout t-shirt

Traditional combine testing drills (40-yard dash, short shuttle, broad jump, L drill) plus position and group specific drills

Surface is field turf—wear turf shoes or molded bottom cleats—NO TRACK SPIKES

Wear comfortable athletic shorts and t-shirt

The Columbus Destroyers are members of the Arena Football League (AFL) and make their return to Nationwide Arena this spring! Interested in season tickets? Visit for more information and place your $25 deposit today! For partnership opportunities, please click HERE. Be sure to follow the Destroyers on Twitter @AFLDestroyers, on Facebook at, and on Instagram @AFLDestroyers.

Columbus Destroyers Announce Plans for Team Mascot

COLUMBUS – The Columbus Destroyers announced its plans for the team’s mascot today, with the organization beginning an immediate search for Captain Destroyer. Captain Destroyer is the team’s female humanized mascot, a watchful protector of Destroyers nation who embodies the spirit of the team and the Columbus fan base.

The organization seeks a strong, athletic, passionate, and outgoing woman to fill the role of Captain Destroyer. Even though the successful candidate will physically resemble warrior and super hero-like qualities, Captain Destroyer will still possess the family-friendly and approachable attributes that fall in line with the core values of the Destroyers organization.

Captain Destroyer will be present for all the team’s home games at Nationwide Arena and in addition to those duties and responsibilities, will also attend community events, media appearances, and any other initiatives related to the Destroyers organization.

Any women interested in trying out to become the team’s new Captain Destroyer are encouraged to attend tryouts at no charge on Saturday, March 30th at Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports and can pre-register NOW by clicking HERE.

Details on what Captain Destroyer’s uniform/attire will look like will be announced at a date to be determined.

The Columbus Destroyers are members of the Arena Football League (AFL) and make their return to Nationwide Arena this spring! Interested in season tickets? Visit for more information and place your $25 deposit today! Be sure to follow the Destroyers on Twitter @AFLDestroyers, on Facebook at, and on Instagram @AFLDestroyers.

Columbus Destroyers Announce Team’s First Signing

COLUMBUS – The Columbus Destroyers announced their first acquisition on Monday, as the team has been assigned defensive back Varmah Sonie on the first day of the Arena Football League’s free agency period. Sonie, a veteran of five AFL seasons is a two-time first-team all-arena selection as a defensive back and last season finished in the top five in tackles while with the Albany Empire.

“I’m very excited to make Varmah our first signing here in Columbus,” said head coach Matthew Sauk. “I was fortunate enough to sign him in 2014 when he was a rookie in Portland, and he’s been a star in the AFL ever since. He plays the middle as a corner as good as anyone in this league and for him to sign with us shows the amount of trust he has in us as an organization to put a winning product on the field from day one.”

“I couldn’t be happier to join the Destroyers organization,” added Sonie. “Columbus is a football town and the fan base is as good as any in the league. I’m also thrilled to get to play for coach [Sauk] again. Coach Sauk was the first guy to give me a shot as a professional [football player] and I am excited play for him once again.”

Sonie, 28, received first-team all-arena honors as a rookie after making 86 tackles and logging nine interceptions in 17 games for the Portland Thunder in 2014. His efforts landed him contracts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) before returning to Portland for the 2015 season. Sonie finished second in the league in tackles in both 2016 and 2017, registering 97 stops for the Orlando Predators in 2016 and then 74 more with the Baltimore Brigade the following season where he earned second-team all-arena, before latching on with the Empire in 2018.

The 5’8”, 175 lb. defensive back is a native of Burnsville, Minnesota and played his collegiate ball at the University of Northern Iowa where he was named second-team All-Missouri Valley following his senior season in 2012.

Free Agency to Begin March 4

PHILADELPHIA, PA.– The Arena Football League (AFL) announced today that its free-agency period will begin on Monday, March 4.

“This is a great time of the year for AFL players, coaches, and of course, our wonderful fans, as our six teams work to select players and fill rosters,” said Randall Boe, Commissioner of the Arena Football League. “We’re all looking forward to the kickoff of the AFL season on April 26.”

Under the AFL’s agreement with the AFL Players Union, athletes sign one-year agreements with teams. All eligible individuals who finished the 2018 season on a team’s roster, along with those who did not participate in the AFL in 2018, are considered free agents and therefore are eligible to sign with teams at the start of free agency.

Each team will be able to sign 35 players to its initial roster. During training camp, rosters will be reduced to 24.

“We think that the AFL’s unique free agency rules gives every team, including the newest teams in Atlantic City and Columbus, an opportunity to build a winning franchise and makes for an exciting, competitive league,” said Boe.

Tryouts, training camp and tickets

Tryouts for the AFL’s two newest teams in Columbus, Ohio, and Atlantic City, N.J., will take place in the coming weeks. The Atlantic City team’s tryouts are scheduled for Saturday, March 23 at Total Turf Experience in Pitman, N.J., and details for the Columbus Destroyers’ tryouts will be made available by the Destroyers soon.

Training camp for all teams will begin for all teams in early April. During the 21 days prior to each team’s first game of the AFL regular season, there will be 14 days of training camp, followed by game-week practice in preparation for the team’s season openers.

Season Tickets are still available for this season, and further information about tickets can be found on the teams’ individual websites: Albany Empire; Atlantic City AFL; Baltimore Brigade; Columbus Destroyers; Philadelphia Soul; Washington Valor.

Columbus Destroyers Finalize Coaching Staff for 2019 Season

COLUMBUS – The Columbus Destroyers announced that the team has finalized its coaching staff for the 2019 season. Joining head coach Matthew Sauk is defensive coordinator/line coach Clay Harrell and defensive backs/special teams coordinator Stanley Franks.

Harrell joins Columbus after most recently serving as defensive line/strength & conditioning coach for the Cleveland Gladiators in 2017. Before his time in Cleveland, Harrell was offensive/defensive line coach for the Orlando Predators in 2016 and with the Portland Thunder as well during the 2014-15 seasons.

Prior to his coaching career, Harrell started every game at fullback for the Spokane Shock during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. As a runner, he totaled 135 yards with nine touchdowns on 24 carries in helping guide the Shock to a victory in ArenaBowl XXIII in 2010. A native of West Sacramento, CA, Harrell played collegiately at Northern State University where he earned All-Conference honors as a senior in 2005.

Franks joins the Destroyers coaching staff after serving as assistant defensive backs coach for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League the last two seasons. Prior to his time in the CFL, Franks spent three seasons (2014-16) at his alma mater Idaho State University where he coached the Bengals secondary. Previously, Franks spent a season in the AFL where he served as defensive backs coach for the Spokane Shock in 2011.

Prior to his coaching career and before a knee injury ended his time as a player, the Long Beach, CA, native was a standout defensive back for the Lions in the CFL from 2009-11 and previously spent time in the AF2 with the Shock in 2008, leading the team in tackles with 97.5 while also posting eight interceptions and 17 pass break-ups.

The Arena Football League Announces Expansion To Columbus, Ohio

New Team to Begin Play at Nationwide Arena in Spring 2019

Columbus, Ohio – The Arena Football League (AFL) officially announces that it is launching a team in Columbus, Ohio, to begin play in Spring of 2019. The team will play its home games at Nationwide Arena, and will play a total of 12 games during the regular season.

Previously during its five years as the Columbus Destroyers (2004-2008), the team established a rich history and a loyal fan base averaging over 14,000 fans per game. Beyond its attraction to fans, the team received widespread support from the surrounding business community.

“This is a banner day for the Arena Football League, with the return of one of the League’s most attractive markets that has proven to be comprised of loyal fans,” said Ron Jaworski, the AFL chairman of the executive committee. “We are going to deliver an AFL team that will immediately excite and draw in the people of Columbus.”

A main highlight of the previous team’s history in Columbus includes a trip to the ArenaBowl in 2007, when the team was led by quarterback Matt Nagy, now Head Coach of the Chicago Bears, who was recently named the 2018 NFL Coach of the Year.

“We’re very pleased to launch a team in a great market like Columbus,” said AFL Commissioner Randall Boe. “The League’s plan was to expand to six teams for the 2019 season, and the addition of the Columbus team accomplishes that goal. We’re looking forward to a great season of AFL football both in Columbus and across the League.”

The team re-joins the League at a time when new and high-tech innovations are implemented, keeping the League as one that is future-oriented.

“We are thrilled to welcome Columbus to the Arena Football League, a league that is poised for significant growth and is uniquely positioned to deliver a more exciting, engaging football game with opportunities for betting, gaming and fantasy integration,” said Ted Leonsis, Chairman and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and owner of the AFL Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor.

Adds Stewart Anmuth, chair of the expansion committee, “This is just the beginning for the League. We’re excited about the League’s continued growth and are confident about its direction moving forward in the coming years.”

The addition of this team to the Arena Football League in a market as strong as Columbus enables the League to continue to grow, as the team is expected to play high-quality football that is competitive, engaging and fun for all in attendance.

“We are overjoyed that the Arena Football League has chosen Columbus and Nationwide Arena as their new home,” said Mike Gatto, General Manager of Nationwide Arena. “The AFL will add excitement to the Arena District starting this spring. We look forward to hosting their uniquely fast-paced, exciting and fan-centric games!”

The team name will be announced in the coming weeks, as will announcements regarding coaching staff. Additionally, the League will release its official 2019 schedule next week.

Season ticket plans are on sale now. To become a season ticket holder, fans may go to and place a deposit. Seating preferences will be determined by the order in which deposits are received.

Fans can follow the Columbus team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (all @AFLColumbus).

About Nationwide Arena

Nationwide Arena is a multipurpose arena, built in 2002, and is home to the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets and some of the biggest concerts in the world. Named one of the best arenas in the NHL, the facility opened to great fanfare in September of 2000, and has since hosted the NHL All-Star Game; regular season and playoff hockey; NCAA championships; local, regional and national conferences; and a multitude of concerts and other touring events.

About the Arena Football League

The Arena Football League enters its 32nd season in 2019. Since its inception in 1987, the AFL showcases a fast-paced, exciting game to a significant number of fans in a myriad of markets. With the addition of two new teams in Atlantic City, N.J., and Columbus, O.H., the League totals six teams for 2019: Albany, Atlantic City, Columbus, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Each team will play 12 regular-season games in 2019. The League can be found on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the handle @OfficialAFL.

AFL Transactions


QB Mason Espinosa 6’4 225 4.27.1992 Ohio Wesleyan R

WR AJ Coney 5’8 190 12.30.1994 Akron R

DL Monte Taylor 6’5 270 12.10.1989 Cincinnati R

WR Sebastian Smith 6’3 220 2.2.1994 Ohio R

DB Cheatham Norrils 6’0 195 7.26.1993 Toledo R

WR Chris Black 6’0 190 10.29.1993 Alabama R

DL Harold Brantley 6’3 300 12.23.1993 NW Missouri State R

DB Arkeith Brown 6’1 200 5.1.1986 Texas A&M 7

OL Sean Brown 6’4 320 9.14.1992 Mississippi Valley State R

DB Derrick Dyer 5’9 190 3.28.1993 East Stroudsburg R

DB Seth Ellis 6’1 190 7.19.1993 Lamar R

FB Mykell Benson 6’0 295 12.30.1987 Florida A&M 9

OL Ryan Cave 6’5 345 5.30.1988 Hampton 8

DB Christian Love 6’0 190 7.21.1992 Henderson State R

QB Quinn McQueary 6’3 205 6.13.1994 Montana Tech R

DB Brad Muhammod 5’11 190 7.18.1995 Florida International R

DB Tony Goodman 6’0 200 10.16.1986 Edward Waters R

WR Elijah Markes 6’1 180 12.29.1995 Northern Arizona R

WR Devante Noil 6’0 195 10.14.1995 Texas A&M R

WR Giovanni Pascascio 6’2 200 11.10.1994 Louisville R

WR Prince Shonola 5’8 170 1.22.1991 Rocky Mountain R

DL Joe Sykes 6’5 280 12.22.1982 Southern 7

OL Darrell Brown 6’5 330 12.21.1993 Louisiana Tech R

OL Moqut Ruffins 6’5 365 4.6.1984 Louisiana Tech 8

DL Brandon Sesay 6’6 315 12.16.1986 Texas Tech 7

OL Erick Wren 6’2 310 12.19.1994 Oklahoma R

LB EJ Levenberry 6’3 245 11.16.1994 Connecticut R

K Adrian Trevino 5’11 195 1.2.1988 Missouri Valley 6

LB Jeramie Richardson 6’0 260 2.6.1983 Angelo State 7

WR Collin Taylor 6’1 200 2.28.1987 Indiana 8


DB Tony Goodman 6’0 200 10.16.1986 Edward Waters R

WR Elijah Marks 6’1 180 12.29.1995 Northern Arizona R

LB EJ Levenberry 6’3 245 11.16.1994 Connecticut R


WR Paul Browning 6’3 220 8.5.1992 Colorado State-Pueblo 3

DB LaRoche Jackson 5’11 205 6.21.1984 Clark 8

QB Warren Smith 6’1 200 2.20.1990 Maine 4

WR Lamark Brown 6’4 225 7.5.1989 Kansas State 4

WR Tyron Laughinghouse 6’2 185 7.3.1988 Saint Augustine R

K Mark Lewis 5’11 200 3.25.1979 Florida International 14

LB Nick Haag 6’2 245 12.22.1988 Assumption R

DB Keiron Jones 5’9 185 11.30.1987 SE Louisiana 2

DB Kiante Northington 5’9 185 8.22.1994 Eastern Kentucky R

QB Drew Powell 6’2 220 12.8.1994 Livingstone College R

DB Pasquale Vacchio 6’1 230 1.25.1989 Buffalo State R

DL Tyriq McCord 6’3 260 11.6.1993 Miami R

DL Antron Dillon 6’5 280 6.7.1995 North Alabama 6

WR Denzel Keyes 6’4 220 5.5.1995 North Carolina A&T R


QB Grant Russell 6’3 220 9.26.1995 Ohio Dominican R

DB Travis Lee 6’0 185 3.10.1990 Miles R

DL Sterling Bailey 6’4 285 9.13.1992 Georgia R

DB Willie Bailey 6’2 185 4.30.1993 Florida 1

QB Jerod Evans 6’3 230 1.6.1994 Virginia Tech 1

WR Kenyarris Garrett 6’4 215 9.26.1992 Tulsa R

DL Robert Hayes 6’3 260 3.13.1992 Shepherd 4

DB Michael Knight 5’10 190 6.25.1991 Minnesota West CC 2

DB Nias Martin 5’10 190 1.23.1995 New Mexico 1

WR Maurice Morgan 6’3 225 8.5.1993 North Carolina St R

QB Shane Morris 6’3 205 8.4.1994 Central Michigan R

OL Khalil Rodgers 6’2 325 1.12.1994 North Carolina R

DB Kenric Young 6’1 195 2.7.1996 Utah R

WR Ishmael Zamora 6’3 225 11.26.1995 Baylor R

OL Wilson Bell 6’4 345 11.29.1994 Auburn R

DL Tashon Smallwood 6’1 285 1.31.1996 Arizona State R

WR Robert Wheelwright 6’2 210 12.14.1994 Wisconsin R

WR Domonique Young 6’3 220 10.27.1994 Purdue R

DL Rodney Austin 6’4 320 12.4.1988 Elon 1

OL Jarell Broxton 6’4 325 3.27.1993 Baylor R

LB Joe Goosby 6’1 225 9.6.1986 Tulane 7


QB Travis Tarnowski 6’0 210 10.13.1994 Ashland R

OL Sam Longo 6’4 275 7.31.1991 Cincinnati 2

DB Kenny Veal 5’11 190 5.26.1989 Toledo 3

DL Derrick Summers 6’1 265 6.19.1988 Toledo 8

DL Sydney Omameh 6’4 245 2.21.1993 Grand Valley State R

DB Steven Clarke 5’10 190 4.19.1991 Vanderbilt R

WR Julius Gregory 6’4 215 5.18.1988 Shaw 3

OL Miles Mason 6’4 315 8.25.1989 Utah 1

QB Greg McGhee 6’2 220 11.22.1992 Howard 1

WR Donovan Morgan 6’3 220 7.29.1982 Pearl River CC 7

WR Paul Revis 5’7 160 8.20.1994 Western Oregon R

DL Nick Seither 6’3 290 3.2.1993 Georgetown College 3

DL Khreem Smith 6’4 255 7.7.1979 Oklahoma State 4

DL Terrance Taylor 6’1 315 5.14.1986 Michigan 8

WR Kenyattus Cook 6’3 210 5.20.1992 Gardner-Webb R

DL KC Obi 6’2 250 9.14.1990 North Texas 4

DB Larico Stevenson 5’11 200 8.22.1984 West Georgia 9

OL Anthony McMeans 6’2 315 1.20.1993 New Mexico State 1

DB KJ Morton 5’10 190 6.21.1990 Baylor 2


QB Dan Raudabaugh 6’2 225 3.30.1987 Miami OH 9

OL Phillip-Keith Manley 6’4 315 5.7.1990 Toledo 4

DL Donte Carey 6’0 210 7.6.1993 Grand Valley State R

DB Kyle Chandler 6’0 200 8.10.1989 Tarleton State R

DB Rodney Hall 6’1 200 7.5.1992 Benedict College R

WR Josh Holderfield 6’2 185 5.11.1995 Western Kentucky R

WR DJ Myers 6’3 205 6.15.1994 Midwestern State R

DL Spencer Myers 6’3 305 11.20.1990 Maryland 2

DL Darius Rosser 6’4 265 10.27.1994 Arkansas State R

WR Aaron Wascha 6’3 205 5.2.1992 N/A 1

WR Bryce Wilkerson 5’8 165 5.8.1996 Mary Hardin-Baylor R

DL Dequan Ivery 6’2 310 11.1.1993 Miami R

OL Shawn Lockett 6’1 330 3.22.1995 American International 1

OL Keith Newell 6’6 330 1.10.1988 Delaware State 6

OL Ondre Pipkins 6’3 315 2.25.1994 Texas Tech R

WR Darius Reynolds 6’2 215 4.4.1989 Iowa State 7

OL Neal Tivis 6’5 330 11.18.1988 Abilene Christian 8

FB Adrian Ferns 6’0 295 6.2.1990 Chowan 1

OL Tyler Deane 6’3 310 11.23.1993 Eastern Kentucky R

K Kenneth Spencer 6’1 200 10.15.1986 North Alabama 7


OL Shawn Lockett 6’1 330 3.22.1995 American International 1


WR Dezmon Epps 5’9 180 8.21.1992 Idaho R

OL Deveric Gallington 6’3 320 5.6.1990 Texas Tech 3

WR Douglas McNeil III 6’3 210 7.22.1988 Bowie State 2

DB Marrio Norman 6’0 205 8.10.1986 Coastal Carolina 7

DB Oshay Dunmore 6’3 215 3.16.1994 Southern Oregon 1

DB Jabari Gorman 5’11 190 3.22.1992 Florida R

FB Quayvon Hicks 6’1 255 7.17.1994 Georgia R

OL DJ Brandel 6’5 305 3.15.1991 Chapman 2

K Pat Clarke 6’3 215 10.22.1991 Buffalo 2

WR Josh Reese 6’0 185 1.3.1991 Central Florida 2

WR D’Mauri Jones 6’3 215 10.6.1993 Miami R

DL Leon Mackey 6’4 260 2.28.1989 Texas Tech 3


OL Will Corbin 6’4 315 12.7.1986 Appalachian State 2

By Elizabeth Devita

Columbus Destroyers