A total of seven players have been added to the Green Bay Blizzard Indoor Football League roster in just the past few days. This morning the team re-signed a few key members of the 2013 squad in LB Derek Earls, OL Tyler Hendrickson and OL William Maxwell. The team has also signed LB Nick Bonte from the University of Sioux Falls. The Blizzard play their first game at the end of February. Here is a closer look at the players signed this week:
LB Derek Earls (6'3,225) returns to the Blizzard for his second season with the Blizzard in 2014. Earls started all 14 games at LB last season and tied for the team lead in tackles with 88. He led the team in forced fumbles with three and pass breakups with seven. He was named IFL Co-Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 12 after returning a blocked field goal for a game-winning touchdown against the eventual Intense Conference Champion Nebraska Danger. Earls graduated from the University of Arizona.
"Derek returns to the Blizzard prepared to lead the defense for the 2014 season. He brings experience for the indoor game and my system," said head Coach Chad Baldwin. "I expect him to continue where he left off from a great rookie season."
OL Tyler Hendrickson (6'8, 310) returns to the Blizzard after starting 13 games at Guard in his inaugural season in the IFL in 2013. Hendrickson graduated from the University of Concordia - St. Paul and spent time with the NFL's Chicago Bears following graduation. In 2011 Hendrickson was a Division II Gene Upshaw Award Finalist, which recognizes the best OL in Division II.
"Tyler returns to the Blizzard as an anchor to our offensive line. He has a proven record of high performance at the guard position. Tyler is a large part of the success our offense will have," added Baldwin.
OL William Maxwell (6'2, 295) re-joins the Blizzard for his second season after starting seven games at Center in 2013. During those seven games, Maxwell started on every offensive snap. During his time along the offensive line, Maxwell blocked the way for the Blizzard to achieve season highs in passing yards and rushing yards. Maxwell graduated from the Georgia Southern University.
"William returns to the Blizzard for another season as the center of our offensive line. William has a technical style of play that makes him a top level performer in a position usually occupied by "big men," stated Baldwin. "He is a powerful force in the middle of our offense. I look forward to seeing what he can for in his second season."
LB Nicholas Bonte (6'1, 215) signed with the Blizzard for his rookie season in the IFL after playing at the University of Sioux Falls. With 48 collegiate games to his credit, Bonte recorded 216 tackles including 42.5 tackles-for-loss. As an outside linebacker he also had 12 sacks and four interceptions. Bonte was named Team Captain in both 2011 and 2012. He was also voted All-Conference and was selected as Team Player of the Year for 2011 and 2012. He joins fellow University of Sioux Falls alumni QB Taylor Perkins on the Blizzard roster in 2014.
"Nick has a nose for the football and can play in space. Both sets of skills makes him a versatile player who can fill dual roles. I expect him to be a standout player for the Blizzard at the LB/SS position," said Baldwin.
Other additions include:
WR Donte Sawyer (6'0, 190) signed with the Blizzard for his rookie season in the IFL after playing collegiately at Morehead State University. Morehead State's All-Time leading wide receiver amassed 199 catches for 2,555 yards and 24 touchdowns. In 2012, Sawyer had 26 kickoff returns for 680 yards (26 yard average) along with two touchdowns. Sawyer was a two-time first team All-Conference player, as well as a third team BSN FCS All-American.
"Donte is someone that can light it up at anytime," said Head Coach Chad Baldwin. "He can get loose and score some points in a hurry! I look forward to seeing him showcase his skills on a 50 yard field. He can get open and run by you and makes it look simple ...he is considered a weapon!"
WR/DB Allen Daniels (5'9, 185) signed with the Blizzard for his rookie season in the IFL after playing at the University of La Verne in California. Daniels started 27 games for the ULV Leopards and played multiple positions on both sides of the ball. Daniels was able to amass 72 catches, as well as 19 carries on offense for 1,112 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Daniels recorded 26 tackles and one interception. He had 53 kickoff returns totaling over 1,040 yards, averaging 19.6 yards per return. Daniels was selected honorable mention in his conference and was invited to play in the Division III Senior Classic.
"Allen is a unique player with the skills to do just about anything on the field," said Baldwin. " He has a natural talent for the game itself which allows him to be plugged into many roles. He may be considered the "utility" player like we see in MLB. He is a good addition to what I am looking for from this year's players."
DB George Ortiz (5'11, 185) returns to the Blizzard for his second season with the team. Ortiz signed with the Blizzard after the team's first game of the season and was inactive for two games. Ortiz played collegiate football as a member of the Idaho State Bengals where he played in seven games as a cornerback for ISU.He also lettered for two years at Feather River College where he recorded six career interceptions, and broke up 18 passes as a sophomore, second in the state of California. As a member of IFL's Reading Express in 2012, the defensive back recorded 40 tackles and eight passes broken up.
"George is returning to the Blizzard after filling a vital role for the team in the finale of the 2013 season," added Baldwin. He is a seasoned vet who truly understands the indoor game. He has a personal mission to accomplish, which makes him extremely focused. I am excited to see what George can do with a full season of play in front of him."
WR Ryan Farr (6'1, 200) signed with the Blizzard for his rookie season in the IFL after playing at the University of Arkansas. After transferring to Arkansas from Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Farr was moved from Wide Receiver to Safety. As a senior, Farr appeared in three games for the Razorbacks.
"Ryan brings versatility to the Blizzard for 2014. He is an experienced player for both offense and defense. I expect Ryan to compete for both DB and WR positions. This versatility makes him a valuable asset! He is someone to watch for big things this year," stated Baldwin.