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‘It’s Go time’: Roster in Place, Fleet Excited for Season Debut

By Jeff Goldberg / The Alliance

SAN ANTONIO — The San Diego Fleet officially has its crew for the 2019 season in The Alliance of American Football.

The Fleet announced its final roster of 52 players on Wednesday, the group that will begin the regular season on February 9 against the San Antonio Commanders at the Alamodome.

The roster includes seven players already familiar to the home fans at SDCCU Stadium, having played their college careers at San Diego State. Fourteen players have previous NFL regular-season experience.

In all, the Fleet roster features three quarterbacks, three running backs, six wide receivers, three tight ends, 10 offensive linemen, eight defensive linemen, six linebackers, six cornerbacks, four safeties, one kicker, one punter and one long snapper.

“It’s a really good group and we’re excited about it,” defensive line coach Vince Amey said. “They worked hard all camp and the guys that made it deserved to make it. At the end of the day, it’s the best of the best. I think the guys are ready to go and our goal is to win a championship. Coach [Mike] Martz preaches excellence, and they’re buying into that. Now, it’s ‘Go’ time.”

Martz elected to keep all three of his quarterbacks who competed in camp, led by Mike Bercovici, who took part in Chargers camp in San Diego in 2016. Alex Ross from Coastal Carolina and Phillip Nelson from East Carolina round out the signal callers.

Despite sitting out the last 10 days of practice with a calf injury, former Rams prospect Nelson Spruce made the cut at wide receiver, along with former Aztec Kameron Kelly, Dontez Ford, Francis Owusu, Brian Brown and LaQuvionte Gonzalez, who likely secured his roster spot with a strong finish to training camp.

“I’m really excited, happy and blessed,” Gonzalez said. “I was nervous coming into camp, was I going to make this team? It was competitive, but it was a brotherhood and we competed. I can’t wait to put everything together and see how this thing rolls.”

Ja’Quan Gardner, Paul James and Terrell Watson, who played regular-season games with the Eagles and Steelers, will handle running back duties, while Gavin Escobar, formerly of San Diego State and the Dallas Cowboys, leads a trio of tight ends, including Marcus Baugh and Ben Johnson.

Other former Aztecs include offensive tackle Daniel Brunskill, who signed with the Fleet on Jan. 23, defensive end Alex Barrett, guard Darrell Greene, linebacker Eric Pinkins and offensive tackle Terry Poole.

In all, 16 members of the roster played college in California, while 21 players are California natives.

Joining Escobar, Watson, Barrett (Lions), Pinkins (Seahawks, Giants) and Poole (Seahawks) with previous NFL experience include CB Jude Adjei-Barimah (Buccaneers), OT Brett Boyko (Chargers), CB Ron Brooks (Bills, Eagles), LS Ryan DiSalvo (Seahawks, Giants), OG Damien Mama (Giants), LB John Lotulelei (Seahawks, Jaguars, Raiders), DE Damontre Moore (Giants, Seahawks, Cowboys, Dolphins, Raiders), LB A.J. Tarpley (Bills) and DT Tani Tupou (Seahawks, Falcons).

“There were some very tough decisions we had to make, which is a direct credit to the caliber of player brought in by The Alliance,” Fleet general manager Dave Boller said. “We are very pleased with our final roster and impressed with this talented group of players. We are all excited for the fans in San Diego to finally get the chance to see us play and for all our efforts to come together for the opener in 10 days.”