AAF Preview: 10 College Football Stars in the Alliance of American Football

Wayne StaatsContributor IFebruary 7, 2019

Former Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg
Former Penn State QB Christian HackenbergGetty Images

The Alliance of American Football, or AAF, starts its inaugural season on February 9. The league will have many former college football stars playing this first season.

AAF games will be broadcast and streamed across CBS, CBS Sports Network, NFL Network, TNT and B/R Live. See a full schedule here.

Big names include former quarterbacks Aaron Murray (Georgia) and Denard Robinson (Michigan). Read on for a rundown about them and eight other former college football stars playing in the AAF:


Arizona Hotshots: QB Trevor Knight (Texas A&M, Oklahoma)

Knight was Oklahoma's starting quarterback until eventual Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield took the job. Knight than transferred to Texas A&M.

With the Aggies in 2016, Knight passed for 2,432 yards and 19 touchdowns while rushing for 614 yards and 10 scores as A&M started 6-0 before finishing 8-5.


Arizona Hotshots: LB Scooby Wright (Arizona)

Wright won the Nagurski, Lombardi, Bednarik and was Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. That season, Wright made 163 total tackles and had 29 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. He also finished ninth in the Heisman voting.

Wright then played in only three games in 2015 because of injury before getting drafted in the seventh round in the 2016 NFL draft. 


Atlanta Legends: QB Aaron Murray (Georgia)

Murray ended his UGA career as the SEC's career touchdowns list. Playing for Georgia from 2010 through 2013, Murray passed for 13,166 yards in his four seasons, though he sustained a season-ending torn ACL injury against Kentucky his senior season.

In 2012, Murray and the Bulldogs went 12-2 and tied for No. 5 in the final AP Poll. He was the No. 2 AAF pick in the draft. 


Atlanta Legends: QB/RB Denard Robinson (Michigan)

Robinson both rushed and passed for 200 yards in a game three times and also led the Wolverines to an 11-win season in 2011.

He ended his Michigan career passing for 6,250 yards (49 touchdowns, 39 interceptions) and rushing for 4,495 yards (42 touchdowns).

In his sophomore season, Robinson broke the single-season FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,702 yards. In his second start at quarterback, Robinson totaled 502 yards of offense in a win against rival Notre Dame. 


Birmingham Iron: RB Trent Richardson (Alabama)

Drafted No. 3 overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL draft, Richardson rushed for 3,243 yards in his Alabama career.

In 2011, his final collegiate season, Richardson ran for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns. He won the Doak Walker Award as the top running back in the country, finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting and helped the Crimson Tide win the BCS National Championship Game against LSU.


Birmingham Iron: QB Scott Tolzien (Wisconsin)

Tolzien won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in 2010 as the country's top senior or fourth-year starting quarterback. That season, Tolzien passed for 24,59 yards and led to an 11-2 season and a Rose Bowl appearance.

Tolzien completed 72.9 percent of his passes his final season. Though he went undrafted, he's passed for 1,000 yards in the NFL, seeing time on the field with the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts.


Memphis Express: QB Christian Hackenberg (Penn State) 

Hackenberg was Penn State's career passing leader until Trace McSorley passed him this past season. Hackenberg started three seasons for the Nittany Lions, throwing for 8,318 yards, 48 touchdowns and 32 interceptions. He also broke the program record for passing yards in a game when he threw for 454 yards against UCF in 2014.

He went No. 51 overall (second round) to the New York Jets in the 2016 NFL draft. 


Memphis Express: QB Zach Mettenberger (LSU)

After seeing limited action at LSU in 2011, Mettenberger started in 2012 and 2013. He passed for 2,609 yards his first full season in charge before improving to 3,082 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2013.

A sixth-round NFL draft pick in 2014, Mettenberger is the only LSU quarterback to throw for at least 2,500 yards in consecutive seasons. 


San Antonio Commanders: LB Joel Lanning (Iowa State)

Lanning started his Cyclones career at quarterback, totaling 2,537 yards with 19 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in two seasons.

But he then moved to linebacker, where he starred. Lanning had 114 total tackle in 2017, picking up All-Big 12 and All-American honors.


San Diego Fleet: QB Josh Johnson (San Diego)

The No. 1 pick in the AAF draft, Johnson starred for FCS San Diego. 

Johnson came in third in Walter Payton Award voting his senior year, when he passed for 2,988 yards, 43 touchdowns and only one interception.

Johnson ended his time at San Diego with the record for the highest career passing efficiency (176.88) by any player in NCAA Division I history.


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