The Tampa Bay Storm is pleased to announce that it has exercised the rookie options of 13 players heading into the 2016 Arena Football League season.
The list includes wide receivers Julius Gregory, Kendrick Ings and Phillip Barnett, defensive linemen Everett Dawkins, Frank Mays, Rony Barrow and David Washington, defensive back Nick Addison, jack linebacker Rick-J Hill, fullback Undra Hendrix, kicker Craig Peterson, and offensive linemen Tyler Moore and Bruce Doyle.
“These players showed tremendous promise last season,” said Storm Vice President of Football Operations Jeff Gooch. “We believe that these men will help solidify a foundation that we hope to build on come free agency next week.”
Gregory (6-foot-4, 225 lbs., Shaw) finished his rookie campaign as one of the top receivers in the AFL. He started in 11-of-16 games for the Storm, reeling in 98 passes for 1,036 yards and 27 touchdowns. The Portsmouth, Virginia native had one of the best seasons by a rookie in Storm history, ranking fifth all-time in receiving yards (1,036), fourth all-time in receptions (98) and fourth all-time in receiving touchdowns (27).
Ings (5-foot-10, 180 lbs., Miller Grove H.S. (GA)) served as a wide receiver and the team’s primary kick returner. He started 14-of-16 games for the Storm, excelling in all phases of the game, becoming a force on offense and special teams. He finished his rookie year with 68 receptions for 997 yards and 15 touchdowns. He would also compile 82 kick returns for 1,435 yards and three touchdowns. Ings had seven games this past season with 100+ kickoff return yards.
Barnett (6-foot, 215 lbs., Toledo) appeared in 11 games for the Storm. The Middletown, Ohio native had a breakout performance versus the New Orleans VooDoo in week 17, where he caught 10 passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the year with 34 catches for 339 yards and nine touchdowns.
Dawkins (6-foot-2, 300 lbs., Florida State) made his first start for the Storm during week four versus the VooDoo. The former Seminole started in 14-of-18 games for the Storm, patrolling what has been dubbed the “No Run Zone.” Dawkins led the team in tackles for loss with 10.0, ranking tenth in the League. He would start on a defense that recorded 35.0 tackles for loss. Dawkins tallied 28.0 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, two pass breakups, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Mays (6-foot-9, 295 lbs., Florida A&M) made his debut in week four versus the VooDoo. He played in three games for the Storm before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. He finished the year with 5.0 tackles, a tackle for loss, a half sack and a blocked kick.
Barrow (6-foot-2, 295 lbs., Bethune-Cookman) was a late addition to the Storm roster, making his first appearance in week 19 versus the L.A. KISS. In just two games, the former Wildcat recorded 6.5 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
Washington (6-foot-2, 320 lbs., Faulkner) started in week 20 versus the Orlando Predators. Seeing action at nose guard, Washington recorded 2.5 tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack.
Addison (6-foot-2, 185 lbs., Bethune-Cookman) started in 5-of-6 games for the Storm during his rookie season. The Spoto H.S. (Riverview, FL) product finished the season with 24.0 tackles, seven pass breakups and a forced fumble. Addison would also reel in a game-saving interception versus the L.A. KISS in week 19. Addison saw action at both the defensive back and jack linebacker positions.
Hill (6-foot-1, 211 lbs., Fort Valley State) started in 15-of-15 games for the Storm during his rookie campaign. The Atlanta, Georgia native finished the year ranked second on the team with 67.5 tackles and second on the team with three fumble recoveries. Hill finished the season with 67.5 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, three fumble recovers, a forced fumble and two interceptions.
Hendrix (5-foot-11, 305 lbs., Hardin-Simmons) began his rookie season with the Storm in week 16 when the Storm faced the Orlando Predators. He started in 2-of-3 games for the Storm, rushing three times for 16 yards and two touchdowns. Hendrix had a breakout performance versus the KISS when he rushed four times for eight yards and two touchdowns to go along with a reception for 17 yards.
Peterson (6-foot-3, 220 lbs., Cortland (NY)) finished his rookie campaign as one of the top kickers in the AFL. He ranked tied for fifth in the League in field goals made (4) and fourth in field goal percentage (66.7%). Peterson converted 85-of-98 extra points attempts to along with 4-of-6 field goal attempts. Known for his exciting style of play on special teams, the Burnt Hills, New York native was a force on kickoff, recording 14.0 special teams tackles and a forced fumble.
Moore (6-foot-6, 325 lbs., Florida) saw action in three games, making his Storm debut versus the Arizona Rattlers in week 11. The Countryside H.S. (Clearwater, FL) product showed promise on the offensive line, protecting Storm quarterback Jason Boltus. He spent part of the 2015 season with the Chicago Bears (NFL).
Doyle (6-foot-4, 305 lbs., Brockport (NY)) has the ability to play at multiple positions on the offensive line. He appeared in two games, playing at the fullback position and on the line.