|2017 CAMP PREVIEW SERIES: OFFENSIVE LINEMAN AND FULLBACKS|
Lehigh Valley Opens Training Camp February 26th
Allentown, PA: The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks are in the midst of finalizing their 2017 preseason training camp roster for the upcoming National Arena League season. The team is allowed to bring forty players into camp to vie for twenty-four roster spots leading into the teams NAL season opener on March 19th. As the team comes together, we’ll start a camp preview series breaking down the team by position. Up this week, are those charged with protecting the pocket: Offensive Lineman and Fullbacks.
Lehigh Valley has a sizable front line on the books including returning ’Hawks: Andrew Edouard (6’1, 310lbs, Bethune Cookman), OL/C Shawn Lockett (6’1, 330lbs, American International), and OL David Osei (6’4, 300lbs, Rutgers). Other veteran lineman signed are: OL/DL DaShawn Johnson (6’4, 315lbs, William Paterson), OL Joe Leaks (6’4, 280lbs, Hofstra), and OL Khamil Rangolam (6’5, 315lbs, Arizona Western). Also, OL/C Bret Piekarski (6’4, 310lbs, St. Cloud State) was found at an open tryout and OL Orlando Colon (6’3, 305lbs, Wingate) is a rookie from the Valley, playing high school ball at Liberty in Bethlhem. Another big part of pass protection lies in the backfield with the fullbacks: Wyreaz Bradley (6’, 290lbs, Louisiana Tech) and FB Rustin Mayorga (6’, 270lbs, Concord).
Osei played in every game for the Steelhawks last season and was named 1st Team All-League. Lockett was a swing lineman last season before having his season shortened due to injury. Edouard came to the Valley and started as center for their playoff run after spending time in Philadelphia playing for the Yellow Jackets. OL/FB John Alvarez also played in the Valley last season and is currently on injured reserve recovering from an injury suffered in last years playoffs, but is on track to be active for camp.
Johnson comes into camp as another flexible player, able to play on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. He has the versatility to play fullback as well; in the China Arena Football League he was one of the league’s top rushers, and making the CAFL’s All-League team. Johnson previously played for the Los Angeles Kiss and Cleveland Gladiators of the AFL. Other veterans in Leaks and Rangolam played in the AIF last season with the Central Penn Capitals and Yellow Jackets respectively.
Piekarski impressed at the ’Hawks first open tryout. In college, he was a feature on St. Cloud State’s line all four years and was named 1st team All-NSIC.
As a fullback, Mayorga was a part of the Beijing team that won the China Arena Football League Championship last fall. He spent the spring arena season with the Yellow Jackets. Mayorga will be competing with Bradley for the fullback position during camp. Bradley has played for the Soul of the AFL along with the Amarillo Venom of the CIF where he totaled over 600 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns. Both positional candidates have the mainstay qualities to look for in a back – strong, powerful, athletes that can run, catch, and block.
Coach Kenny Miller is in charge of the men in the trenches during the season and Head Coach Chris Thompson is excited about who Miller has to work with. “Coach Miller and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the size and experience we have coming into camp to compete for our OL and FB positions. It always starts upfront on both sides of the ball and we can’t wait to see how this group of men come together for the start of our season under Coach Miller’s tutelage with them, who in my opinion is one of the best around.“
Training camp begins Sunday, February 26th for the Steelhawks. It will wrap up with the Annual Lehigh Valley Health Network Black and Vegas Gold Scrimmage on Saturday, March 11th. A full camp schedule will be announced at a later date.
Steelhawks’ 2017 season tickets are on sale now with packages starting as low as $48! All Steelhawks’ games are played on Embassy Bank Field inside the PPL Center in Allentown.
Stay up to date with the Steelhawks by visiting the team website at www.LVSteelhawks.com.