Numerous Stars Are Returning to the Lehigh Valley
Allentown, PA: With their 2017 Home Opener roughly 100 days away, the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks already have one of their best training camp rosters set to return to the Valley in February. Not only have they found a number of promising rookies to compete for spots, but the roster is loaded with re-signed players from last year, the teams’ winningest season, than ever before.
Highlighting the Steelhawks current 2017 National Arena League roster is the entire starting receiving core from last year, including the ’Hawks all-time leading receiver Brandon Renford, and the 2016 team leading receiver, Darius Prince. Returning under center to utilize this receiving arsenal is veteran arena quarterback Warren Smith Jr., and he will be protected up front with 2016 First Team All-League Offensive Lineman David Osei. Another returning offensive weapon is kicker Spencer Hotaling, who was also named a First Team All-League player last season.
The defense is also stacked with playmakers from the 2016 season. Returning defensive backs James Pitts and John Williams III were responsible of 58% of the secondary’s interceptions. Linebacker Lenroy Neysmith is a hard hitter that can create turnovers as well, tallying four interceptions in 2016. Chris Alvarez has been with the Steelhawks for three seasons and provides versatility as a player who can read defenses from in the box, or put his hand down on the defensive line. Another three year defensive veteran in defensive lineman Tim Hume returns as well after a strong campaign.
The entire register of 2017 ’Hawks veterans that have re-signed from last year:
- WR Brandon Renford – Four year Steelhawks vet. 2016: caught 48 passes for 498 yds, 14 tds. Career: 186 catches for 2,172 yds, 45 tds.
- WR Darius Prince – Played in all 10 Steelhawks games last year. 65 catches for 785 yds, 16 tds
- WR Jerrell Young – Played in all 10 Steelhawks games last year. 45 catches for 531 yds, 10 tds
- WR Warren Oliver Jr. – 28 catches for 271 yds, 8 tds
- WR Greg Edwards – 11 catches for 125 yds, 3 tds
- QB Warren Smith Jr. – 124 yds and 2 tds passing, 20 yds and 1 td rushing in one half of action
- OL David Osei – Played in all 10 Steelhawks games last year. Named 1st Team All-League
- OL Andrew Edouard – Started Steelhawks two playoff contests in 2016
- OL Shawn Lockett – Starter on Offensive line for four games
- OL John Alvarez* – Currently on IR, but played in nine games last year giving blocking support from a fullback role
- K Spencer Hotaling – Named First Team All-League. Scored 63 points on 71% PAT accuracy, three FG’s, nine deuces.
- DB James Pitts – Played in all 10 Steelhawks games last year. 39 tackles, five ints, two pbu’s
- DB John Williams III – Played in all 10 Steelhawks games last year. 37 tackles, nine ints, ten pbu’s
- LB Carl Fleming – 4.5 tackles, int
- LB Lenroy Neysmith – Played in all 10 Steelhawks games last year. 28.5 tackles, 4 ints, 2 pbu’s, sack, 2 defensive tds
- LB/DL Chris Alvarez – 4.5 tackle, pbu. Spent the majority of the season with the AFL’s Philadelphia Soul.
- DL Tim Hume – Played in all 10 Steelhawks games last year. 15 tackles, 3 sacks, forced fumble, int, 5 pbu’s
Lehigh Valley’s 2017 training camp is expected to start the end of February. Teams can have a 40 man roster entering camp, but will have to trim it to a 24 man squad before the regular season. "No doubt the level of competition has been raised from the other teams and coaches in the NAL to the number of experienced players we have coming in to camp at every position,” stated Steelhawks Head Coach Chris Thompson. “We are very excited for February to get here and start working with everyone we have been recruiting this off-season, but we are going to have some very tough decisions to get down to that 24 number for the start of the 2017 season."
Exact dates for camp and the 2017 NAL schedule will be announced in the following weeks.
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Steelhawks’ 2017 season schedule will be announced in the coming weeks. Season tickets are now on sale, with packages starting as low as $48, and ’Hawks Holiday Packs will be available soon with additional ticket deals. All Steelhawks’ games are played on Embassy Bank Field inside the PPL Center in Allentown.
Stay up to date with the Steelhawks by visiting the team website at www.LVSteelhawks.com.
The Steelhawks are a PROFESSIONAL Arena Football team that plays inside the PPL Center in downtown Allentown, PA. Season ticket packages start as low as $8 per game (or $48 for the full season) and games are an exciting event for people of the Lehigh Valley to attend on weekend nights.
Lehigh Valley Health Network includes five hospital campuses - three in Allentown including the region's only facility dedicated to orthopedic surgery, one in Bethlehem and one in Hazleton, Pa.; 13 health centers caring for communities in five counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes: trauma care at the region’s busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital, the only children’s hospital in the region, provides care in 28 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Health Network has been recognized by US News & World Report for 20 consecutive years as one of America’s Best Hospitals and is a national Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing. Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Cancer Center is the only cancer center in the region to have been selected as a National Cancer Center Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP, 2010-14