GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The relaunch of the XFL started its season on Saturday.
The XFL started with New Bern native and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, who attended East Carolina University, in 2001. It failed after a year and folded. A revamp started in 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic shut things down in the middle of the season.
In August 2020, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and a group of investors bought the XFL rights for about $15 million.
The XFL is a professional American football league that consists of eight teams across the United States in cities that already have at least one other professional sports team. There are teams in St. Louis, San Antonio, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Arlington, Texas, Houston, Seattle and Las Vegas.
Athletes who played college football at one of the schools in North Carolina are currently part of several of the XFL teams.
Garrett McGhin: Arlington Renegades
McGhin was an offensive tackle at East Carolina from 2014-18. He held many achievements during his time with ECU, such as being the third-team preseason all-AAC team. He was also a national honors candidate. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2019 before going to the Carolina Panthers and then back to the Bills. Next, he went to the Jacksonville Jaguars but then went to the New Jersey Generals, a USFL team. He was then signed by the New York Giants but then ended up where he is now, playing for the Arlington Renegades.
Josh Hawkins: Arlington Renegades
Hawkins was a Pirate cornerback from 2011-14. He was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and stood in the top 25 in categories such as pass breakups and interceptions. Hawkins was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Green Bay Packers in 2016 before bouncing around to other teams before joining the Renegades.
Nasir Greer: Arlington Renegades
Greer played at Wake Forest as a defensive back and was named to the 2021 Pro Football Focus Preseason All-ACC second team. In his time at Wake Forest, he played in 33 games and finished with 141 tackles, including 89 solo tackles, and five career forced fumbles.
Duke Ejiofor: Houston Roughnecks
Ejiofor was a linebacker at Wake Forest and was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2018. He joined the Atlanta Falcons in 2022 before joining the Houston Roughnecks.
Jah-Maine Martin: Orlando Guardians
Martin started at Coastal Carolina before becoming a record-breaking running back at North Carolina A&T. Martin’s breakout season was in 2019, when he was named to multiple All-American teams and was a first-team All-MEAC selection. In two seasons, he rushed for 2,102 yards and 30 touchdowns on 285 carries for an average of 7.4 yards per carry.
Jeremiah Gemmel: Orlando Guardians
The linebacker played at the University of North Carolina and was third-team all-ACC while finishing second on the team with 75 tackles. He was also voted team caption in 2020 as a junior.
Daniel Joseph: Seattle Sea Dragons
Joseph was a graduate transfer defensive lineman at NC State. He led the Wolfpack and tied for eighth in the ACC with 6.5 sacks in 2020. He was also named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week following the Wolfpack’s win over Liberty.
Mataeo Durant: St. Louis Battlehawks
Durant was a running back for the Duke Blue Devils. As a junior, he rushed for 817 yards and was voted team MVP. In 2021 he was named first-team All ACC.
Austin Proehl: St. Louis Battlehawks
Proehl was a wide receiver at the University of North Carolina. He is the brother of Blake Proehl, who is a former East Carolina receiver now on the Minnesota Vikings roster. He is also the son of Ricky Proehl, who played at Wake Forest and then went on to a 16-year NFL career that included a stop with the Carolina Panthers.
Adams was a center for the NC State Wolfpack. He was a second-team All-ACC performer in 2016 and was named to the preseason watch list for the Weurrfel Trophy.
John Brannon, Houston Roughnecks
Brannon played four years at Western Carolina, finishing with 90 tackles, 50 solo, and four tackles for loss as a defensive back. He was an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020.
Ben DeLuca, St. Louis Battlehawks
When he graduated from the University of Charlotte, he held the record for career tackles (313), forced fumbles (9), fumble recoveries (6) and pass break-ups (17).