A total of ten former Utes will be returning home this February as the Salt Lake Stallions of the Alliance of American Football make their debut. Helmed by former Utah offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson, the roster also features five past BYU Cougars, two former Utah State Aggies and a slew of athletes primarily within the regional footprint that extends from Oregon to Oklahoma State.
Recent stars including Dres Anderson and Kaelin Clay, who played together during the 2014 season, underline a core of receivers that struggled to find their footing in the NFL but hope to become difference makers in the fledgling league. Joining Anderson and Clay downfield will be tight end Anthony Denham, who has spent his post-college career on various NFL practice squads, and former quarterback turned wide receiver Kendal Thompson. After spending his 2016 rookie season on the Washington Redskins practice squad, he was waived before the 2017 season, and picked up by the LA Rams prior to the start of the 2018 season, then released this last December.
Offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi, a 2015 third round draft pick, returns after brief a brief stint with Tennessee, where he played in 11 games (seven as a starter), and later bouncing around to Jacksonville, Los Angeles (Rams) and Denver, primarily as a member of the practice squad.
Rounding out the offense, running back Matt Asiata returns as one of two Stallions to have never appeared in a game as a member of the PAC-12, signing with the Minnesota Vikings following Utah’s final season as a member of the Mountain West Conference. As a Viking, Asiata played in 76 total games, including two post season appearances (one in 2012 and again in 2015) and 17 starts. Asiata’s professional resume boasts 1,259 total rushing yards on 361 attempts along with 101 receptions for 722 yards and 19 total touchdowns.
Like Asiata, defensive tackle Sealver Siliga missed the opportunity to play as a member of the PAC-12, but has enjoyed a successful, yet turbulent NFL career. After going undrafted in 2011, Siliga was signed to Denver’s practice squad and was promoted to the active roster the following season, appearing in just one game. In 2013, Siliga was traded to the Seahawks, again relegated to their practice squad, but found a home with the Patriots, playing in 25 games between 2013 and 2015, including starting in Super Bowl XLIX. Since then, the 345 pound wrecking ball has seen limited time on the field, playing in 18 games between 2016 and 2017, primarily as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is joined by fellow d-tackle, Tenny Palepoi whose three seasons with the Chargers resulted in 44 games played, 35 tackles and one sack.
Finally, Keith McGill and Trevor Reilly, both 2014 draft picks, round out the defensive stars hoping to find success in the AAF. McGill, who spent four years with the Oakland Raiders, recorded 40 tackles in total throughout his professional career and an 18-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in his rookie season. Reilly’s career took him out to the east coast, playing for the Jets in 29 games through two seasons, and later becoming a member of the practice squad for both the Dolphins and Patriots.
The Salt Lake Stallions inaugural season kicks off February 10th against the Arizona Hotshots at Sun Devil Stadium, followed by a February 16th trip to Birmingham to take on the Iron, finally making their home debut on February 23rd in a rematch with the Hotshots.