GDFL 2018 National Pre-Season Rankings
Fresh off their back to back national titles,The Oklahoma Thunder once again is expected to have a dominant campaign as it headlines the 2018 Gridiron Developmental Football League Preseason Top 10.
The Thunder met expectations throughout the 2017 campaign. They began the season ranked No.1 in our preseason rankings in 2017 before storming through the regular season and beating the Xtreme Conference Champions Chattanooga Eagles to win the Gridiron Developmental Football League (Gridiron Bowl 8) national title game.
The Thunder aren’t the only team from last year’s GDFL national playoff field expected to have a strong 2018 campaign. For instance,Chattanooga Eagles come in at No. 2, Georgia Crush is No. 3, Mississippi Road Warriors returns a plethora of talent and comes in at No. 6 and the River City Pythons enters the season at No. 10 in our rankings.
With the start of the new Gridiron Developmental Football League football season just weeks away, let's take a look at the GDFL Sport Networks preseason Top 10, which is an attempt to show what a prospective end-of-the-year rankings could look like before the postseason slate is unveiled.
This is a true ranking based off 2017 GDFL Playoff Rankings!!!!
(1) Oklahoma Thunder
Oklahoma Thunder hopes to 3-peat as national champions with the return of MVP QB Brandon Noohi, Prentiss Elliott and Brandon Sheppard leading the charge, along with the return of several All-Pro Defensive stars BJ Hodshire, Shawn Jackson, Calvin Barnett and Antonio Gillespie.
(2) CHATTANOOGA EAGLES
Chattanooga Eagles was impressive in their 2017 inaugural season.However, the loss of GDFL All-Pro receiver Chris Deloney Jr.who signed an indoor pro arena contract and starting Quarterback Kolby Copeland as well as back-up Hunter Moore could prove to be problematic.
Both Quarterbacks suffered serious injury in a out of season match-up.So the Eagles are looking for a replacement.Chattanooga's Divisional schedule features a monster opener against #5 Huntsville Rockets and a road trip to Nashville to take on a Middle Tennessee Bulldawg's team that has made a name for themselves on the national circuit.
(3) GEORGIA CRUSH
Georgia appears to be on a mission to punish every opponent and leaving no doubt of whom the superior team is. The offense did what they needed to in 2017, lead by GDFL All-Pro Quarterback Marcus Brooks while the defense elevated their game and held their opponents in check.
"Only future prosperity arises from total team dominance"stated Demontra Gresham.The past two seasons the Crush have been right there knocking on the door but just couldn’t get the job done. Key Players to watch:#23 Eric Williams RB Stats: 69 carries 579 8Tds 6 rec 65 yds 2 Tds, Travis Fuller WR Stats: 23 Rec 397 yds 6 TD and #12 Shawn Johnson WR Stats: 12 Rec 187 yds 2 TD. This very well could be their year.
(4) ALABAMA SABERS
While the Sabers lost a ton of quality veterans from last year’s 2017 playoff squad, youth will not be an excuse this summer for a team headed to the Impact Conference in 2018.
The Sabers have always played ferocious defense and will always find multiple ways to attack on offense. Key Players to watch; Quarterbacks Tre Armstrong & Joshua Smith will compete to lead the Alabama Sabers as they turn the key of new leadership.
(5) HUNTSVILLE ROCKETS
The Huntsville Rockets look to be major contenders in the GDFL this season. In 2017 The Rockets had a winning 7-3 record, but suffered a tough semi-final round loss in the 2017 GDFL playoffs. The Rockets are returning key players on both the offensive and the defensive sides of the ball. The offense will be lead by former Alabama A&M preseason All-SWAC QB #11 AJ Clark who settled in last year as the starter with a two headed monster attack at the RB position of #2 Larry Goode and #3 Gary Fearn. Newcomers to the offense include OL Baron Hobbs of Alabama A&M and former TCU standout Antoine Hicks who participated in training camps with the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.
On the defensive side of the ball #77 Keith Davis who punished opponents in 2017 leading the team in sacks will be anchoring an improved Defensive Unit joined by long time veteran corner back #1 T.J. Whitman who led the team in interceptions and former Arena League standout safety #21 Lou James.The defensive backfield will also benefit from the signing of former University of North Alabama Free Safety Brandon Crayton. The Rockets should be a key player in the Extreme West and look to make their presence felt this season in the GDFL. #BANGBANG #ROCKETNATION
(6) MISSISSIPPI ROADWARRIORS
The Mississippi Road warriors return most of their best players from last season’s 7-3 squad. However, the team didn’t come to play in their biggest game last season in the second round of the Gridiron Developmental Football League National Playoffs— the road tilted in New Orleans against Crescent City.Rodney Rodgers can’t let that happen again.Key Players to watch: QB Dre Buford, Wayne Newsom WR and DT Komotti Ewing
(7) STARKVILLE STEELDOGS
The Steeldogs running game could dominate in 2018 “The signing of Stefan Branham is a big step in establishing a strong foundation for our football program,” said Owner Jimmy Williams SR. “Stefan Branham is a young talented and explosive RB, that has played at a high level. We are thrilled to have him be a part of the Steeldogs team." defensively the front seven will dominate at times, but can the secondary improve to help the Steeldogs get to a National Champions.
(8) MISSOURI cyclones
The Cyclones have recruited 40 new faces this off-season and look forward to showcasing their new talent at Christian High School in O'Fallon with 6+ home games scheduled this season. and a rematch on the road with the 2017 National Champions, Oklahoma Thunder and playoff contender Tri-City Outlaws along with their long time rival Midwest Chargers in their first ever GDFL match-up. The Missouri Cyclones haven't defeated the Midwest Chargers since the 2014 season. The Cyclones open the season against a powerful Oklahoma Outlawz team which will allow them to see exactly where they stand.
(9) TRI-CITY OUTLAWS
Tri-City Outlaws won their GDFL division, the Impact East.In 2017 the Outlaws stock has skyrocketed since their impressive 2017 season.The Outlaws collected a number of impressive victories before a first round playoff loss ending a promising season. With added experience and more talent the Outlaws are ready to pounce on the GDFL's elite competition.Defensively, they are stacked and should have one of the better units in the impact conference. Although Missouri Cyclones,and the Midwest Chargers present tough roadblocks, Tri-City Outlaws could realistically come away with their second straight divisional championship.
Key Players to watch: Chris Murray, William Duncan, Sr., Dominique White, Antoine Jackson, Dexter Edwards, Justin Ignacio, and new comer Jeff Taua’i
(10) River CITY PYTHONS
The River City Pythons came into the 2017 season as a much improved franchise and will look to improve upon that momentum. The Pythons are looking to continue their streak of making the postseason as they attempt to make yet another appearance in 2018 GDFL National Playoffs.
The bar is set higher now for Owner, Derek Baker and the Pythons franchise. With a new season on the horizon,come new challenges we will see if the Pythons are ready to meet that challenge head on.