TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Storm is pleased to announce the acquisition of quarterback Luke Collis, defensive back Nick Addison and defensive linemen Devin Jones and Xavier Melton. The team also retained defensive back James Harrell, and kicker Juan Bongarra.
"Luke is a quarterback that can find ways to score on the opposition," said Gooch. "We expect that he will go out and compete and bring professionalism to the locker room."
Collis (6-foot-2, 230 lbs., Occidental) enters his first full season in the Arena Football League with the Tampa Bay Storm. Collis attended the University of Nevada Reno, before settling in at Occidental College where he earned first team All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors in his senior year. In two years at Occidental, Collis completed 404-of-672 passes for 4,611 yards and 41 touchdowns. Collis began his professional career with the Spokane Shock and has experience in various indoor leagues.
Addison (6-foot-2, 185 lbs., Bethune-Cookman) joins the Storm for his rookie campaign. The Spoto High School (Riverview, FL) product played collegiately at Bethune-Cookman University, starting in 25-of-30 games for the Wildcats. Addison was a two-time All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference selection and was an Associated Press FCS All-America second team selection. In three seasons with B-CU, Addison tallied 139 tackles, nine interceptions, nine pass breakups, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, a blocked kick and three defensive touchdowns.
Addison began his professional career with the Houston Texans of the National Football League.
"Nick is the type of defensive player that we look for," said Gooch. "He has a high motor and we believe that he can make an impact on the defensive side of the ball."
Jones (6-foot-1, 260 lbs., Mississippi St.) begins his rookie campaign in the AFL with the Storm. He played in 50 games for the Bulldogs over the course of four seasons. Jones recorded 49 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, a pass breakup, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
Melton (6-foot-3, 290 lbs., Troy) joins Tampa Bay for his rookie season in the AFL. He played collegiately at Butler Community College before transferring to Troy. At Butler he was a second team All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference selection. Melton played two seasons at Troy. He began his professional career with the Oakland Raiders.
"Devin and Xavier bring added depth to defensive line," said Gooch. "They both have the ability to make plays and we're looking forward to seeing what they can do once training camp starts."
Harrell (5-foot-10, 195 lbs., Arkansas-Pine Bluff) joins the Storm for his third season. In two seasons, the Plant High School (Tampa, FL) product started in 17-of-18 games for Tampa Bay. For his career he recorded 93 tackles, six interceptions, 12 pass breakups and three fumble recoveries. He finished the 2014 season ranked second on the team with five interceptions. Harrell would score four defensive touchdowns in three games during the Storm's five-game win streak in 2014.
"James is a key member of our defensive backfield," said Gooch. "He is a veteran who we feel can become a leader on and off the field."
Bongarra (6-foot-3, 200 lbs., Albany St.) enters his fifth season in the AFL and fourth in a Storm uniform. He enters the season as the Storm's all-time career leader in points scored – kicking (303), extra points attempted (313) and extra points made (274). Bongarra finished the season tied for second in the League with an extra point percentage of 93.1%, placing him third all-time in Storm single-season history.
"With Juan you know you're going to get consistency at the kicker position," said Gooch. "We are glad that he will be with the Storm for the upcoming season."
The Storm also exercised the rookie options of defensive backs Rod Issac and Randall Burden, offensive lineman Byron Isom and defensive lineman Julius Forte.
Issac (5-foot-11, 195 lbs., Middle Tennessee) started in 16-of-16 games for the Storm. In 2014 he tallied 82.0 tackles, four interceptions, 12 pass breakups and a forced fumble. He also had three defensive touchdowns on the season.
Burden (6-foot-2, 183 lbs., Kentucky) joined the team late in 2014, starting in 1-of-2 games. He recorded 6.5 tackles, two pass breakups and an interception.
Forte (6-foot-1, 257 lbs., South Florida) appeared in two games for the Storm last season. He saw action at the defensive end position and recorded 1.5 tackles.
Isom (6-foot-3, 300 lbs., Auburn) started in 9-of-14 games for the Storm in 2014 at the fullback position. Isom rushed eight times for 21 yards and a touchdown.