Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve looked at multiple offensive and defensive players who proved their worth in the XFL, and should return to the league when it comes back. However, many special teams players contributed greatly to their teams as well, and some didn’t receive enough recognition for their efforts. In this article, we will look at a few former XFL special teams players who should consider rejoining the league (whenever that may be).
Taylor Russolino | St. Louis Battlehawks
In his season with the St. Louis Battlehawks, Taylor Russolino was phenomenal. The 31 year old kicker showed that he still had it, as he converted nine of his ten field goal attempts. In week three against the New York Guardians, Russolino was 3-for-3 on the day, including a 58-yarder that sent the home crowd into a frenzy.
After his performance in the XFL, it’s surprising to see someone as talented as Russolino has remained a free agent. He was stellar in his short stint with the league, and looks sharper than many current NFL kickers. With his abilities, Taylor should definitely have a chance at making it onto another professional team. If Russolino is still a free agent by the time the league returns, we should expect to see him back on a squad.
Hunter Niswander | DC Defenders
Punters rarely get the credit that they deserve on the field. Hunter Niswander is one of those punters. Through five games with the DC Defenders, Niswander punted the ball 21 times for 936 yards, averaging 44.6 yards per punt. His longest punt of the year was 62 yards, coming in as the third longest punt of the year. While he may not put up flashy numbers compared to other punters, Niswander’s biggest strength is his consistency. Week in and week out, Hunter punted the ball excellently for the DC Defenders, as he showcased his talents every game.
Not only can Niswander punt the ball well, but he also did a lot of kicking for DC as well. He didn’t attempt any field goals, but he kicked the ball off 21 times throughout the season. He is a versatile punter/kicker who can serve various purposes for a team. If he is unsigned when the XFL comes back, Hunter should easily make it back onto a team.
Matt McCrane | New York Guardians
The XFL had some kickers that really struggled through its short season, such as Sergio Castillo and Nick Novak. Matt McCrane was not one of them. He knocked through all eight field goal attempts of the season, including kicks from 51 and 53 yards. He was one of the New York Guardians strongest assets, being a consistent player week after week.
McCrane has had a couple NFL tryouts since his time in the XFL, but still remains a free agent. Considering he has proven his kicking abilities in the XFL already, it would make sense to see him come back to the league when it returns.
These are just three examples of special teams players we would love to come back to the XFL when it returns, but there are many more. While compiling this list, we tried to look at the top special teams players across the XFL that impacted their team the most. We look forward to seeing who does return the league when it returns, as well as seeing all the new faces that come along for the ride this time around as well.
Until then, who would you like to see join the league when it comes back? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord!