In the 2019 XFL Draft, five former JMU standouts heard their names called. Wide receivers Rashard Davis, Ishmael Hyman and Terrence Alls, running back Khalid Abdullah and defensive end Andrew Ankrah were all selected during the two-day event.
Davis was the first overall pick in the draft, taken by the D.C. Defenders. In four years at JMU, he accumulated 1,549 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He was a part of the 2016 FCS National Championship team and was a STATS FCS First Team All-American. In the NFL, Davis spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders before landing on the Kansas City Chiefs in May 2019. Davis was released in August.
The second Duke to go in the draft was Hyman, who was taken by the St. Louis BattleHawks with the 59th overall pick. The Manalapan, New Jersey, native played in the Alliance of American Football last spring, where he totaled four catches for 60 yards in five games. He signed with the Cleveland Browns and then found himself on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was released before the regular season began. However, following his selection, it was announced that Hyman had re-signed to the Buccaneers’ practice squad.
Two-time FCS All-American Ankrah was also selected by the BattleHawks. At JMU, he made 177 total tackles, 26 sacks and eight forced fumbles. Like Hyman, Ankrah impressed while playing in the AAF and earned a spot on the Washington Redskins’ training camp squad. He was released in August.
Both Alls and Abdullah will join Davis in the nation’s capital. Alls, who transferred to JMU from Duke, attributed 575 yards and five touchdowns to the Dukes’ 2016 title campaign. In two seasons, he grabbed seven touchdowns and 1,285 receiving yards.
Abdullah set multiple records during his time in Harrisonburg. He has the program’s most rushing touchdowns (41) and is No. 2 in rushing yards (3,678). In 2016, Abdullah had more than 100 yards rushing in 11 of the 15 games played.
The five Dukes join a myriad of professional football players who traded in their purple and gold jerseys for ones dawning the NFL or soon to be XFL emblem — even a coach. Former head coach Mickey Matthews is the defensive quality control coach and outside linebackers coach for the Dallas Renegades. The XFL will begin Feb. 8, 2020, with the full schedule to be released.
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