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7 former Ole Miss Rebels selected in 2019 XFL Draft

“This is your darkest fantasy, in cleats.”

Houston Texans v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Seven former Ole Miss Rebels were selected in the inaugural XFL player draft on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Like many things with the re-start of the league, the draft was a little different. Over the course of two days, a snake draft was separated into five-parts - skill players, offensive line, front seven, defensive backs and open draft. Of the 71 players selected by the eight franchises, 52 will make the final roster for week one on February 8, 2020.

Here are the former Rebels who will get a shot at an XFL roster:

Jordan Ta’amu, QB — Saint Louis BattleHawks

In the interest of parity, XFL teams were not able to draft quarterbacks that are believed to be starters. Instead, the initial eight quarterbacks were assigned to each time, and Ta’amu was one of them.

After Shea Patterson was knocked out of the LSU game in 2017, junior college transfer Ta’amu took over at quarterback for Ole Miss and never looked back. As a junior that year, he tallied 1,682 passing yards with 11 touchdowns.

In his senior campaign, the Hawaii native led the SEC in both passing yards per game and total offense. He finished 6th all-time in school history with 5,600 career passing yards and 9th in passing touchdowns.

After lighting up the stat-sheet in his senior season, Ta’amu was invited to the 2019 NFL Combine in April and signed with the Houston Texans in August. He played in three preseason games with the team, but did not make the final roster.

He’ll be the franchise quarterback in Saint Louis.

DeMarquis Gates, LB — Houston Roughnecks

Gates is one of the best linebackers to come through Ole Miss in recent years.

He saw playing time in every game of the 2014 season, and then casually led the team in tackles for three consecutive years. In his senior season, Gates was the first player to record over 100 tackles since Patrick Willis in 2006, and was named to the Butkus Award Watch List. He signed with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2018, but made his name in the AAF.

In the eight weeks of play, Gates led the AAF with 52 tackles and five forced fumbles. He was a thrashing, unstoppable, heat-seeking missile.

His consistency with the Memphis Express garnered NFL interest, and Gates spent the summer with the Washington Redskins. He will now look to continue his dominance with the Roughnecks.

Trae Elston, DB — Houston Roughnecks

Elston joins Gates in reuniting a portion of the dominant Landshark defense that brought some of the highest moments of the last 10 years. Elston recorded 129 tackles in two years at rover safety, and was named second team all-American and first team all-SEC in 2015. The Rebel ballhawk tied first in the SEC with 18 passes deflected and fourth with four interceptions— two of which he returned for touchdowns.

Sports Illustrated

Elston had a journeyman career in the NFL and played for nine different teams over three years. On October 29, 2017, Elston picked off Raiders quarterback Derek Carr late in the 4th quarter and led all defensive players with a career high 11 tackles.

Elston is one of the best pure athletes in the XFL pool and will take his talents to Houston.

Daronte Bouldin, OL — Tampa Bay Vipers

Bouldin played in 41 games over four years in Oxford, and made seven starts as an upperclassman at both right and left guard. His first career start came against No. 15 Auburn and he helped Chad Kelly throw for a school record 465 passing yards.

Bouldin Welcome to the League

In case you needed reminded that Daronte Bouldin is one strong man... He also did 35 reps on bench press during his Pro Day. Great pick up by the Saints.

Posted by Ole Miss Football on Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Bouldin was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Saints, but didn’t make the final roster. He also played for the Memphis Express last spring, and is off to Tampa Bay.

Channing Ward, DL — Saint Louis BattleHawks

Ward was one of the best special teams players to ever take the field for Ole Miss.

He played in all 52 of the Rebels’ games during his four-year career, and recorded 110 total tackles at defensive end and on special teams. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent and saw time in six games over two years. Ward will get back to the grind in Saint Louis.

Jeremy Liggins, DL — Seattle Dragons

Liggins is undoubtedly the most unique player to make an XFL roster. At 6’3, 315 pounds, Liggins will enter the league as a defensive tackle, but played mostly on offense while at Ole Miss. He has an absolute rocket arm.

He is unbelievably quick for his size.

He played wildcat quarterback, tight end, offensive tackle, and defensive tackle. The Lafayette county native had a brief stint in the NFL on defense with the Seahawks, and even recovered a fumble.

He will return to Seattle and it will be curious to see how he is used, if he makes the final 52-man roster.

Christian Morris, OL — Tampa Bay Vipers

Morris played in nine games between the 2014 and 2015 seasons before suffering a scary neck injury that almost ended his football career. Once he received clearance to return to football activities, Morris transferred to Tennessee State and finished his eligibility as a Tiger. The 6’6, 320 pound offensive lineman couldn’t quite crack the NFL, but played eight games for the Memphis Express of the AAF this past spring. He’ll continue his career alongside Bouldin in Tampa Bay.