Six former UB players selected in XFL Draft

Tyree Jackson among players drafted

tyree-jackson

Six former members of the UB football team were selected in last week’s XFL Draft, including four selected by the DC Defenders.

Quarterback Tyree Jackson, center James O’Hagan, defensive end Chuck Harris, defensive tackle Kristjan Sokoli, offensive tackle John Kling and punter Jake Schum were all taken in the eight-team draft. 

The inaugural draft was broken into five phases — skill positions, offensive line, front seven, defensive backs and open draft picks (any position). Teams had 90 seconds to make their selections. The XFL –– a football league owned by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment –– will begin with a 10-week season on February 8, 2020. The league doesn’t have a developmental partnership with the NFL or any other league but will likely serve in that role.

Jackson, O’Hagan, Sokoli and Harris each joined the DC Defenders. 

Jackson, 21, was selected in the ninth round of the skill position phase. He was named the 2018 MAC Offensive Player of the Year after completing 55.3 percent of his passes for 3,131 yards and 28 touchdowns. After going undrafted, he signed on with the Buffalo Bills for training camp but failed to make the team.

O’Hagan, 23, joins after an eighth-round selection in the offensive line phase. He was a four-year starter for the Bulls and earned the No. 1 pass blocking grade among draft-eligible centers for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, according to Pro Football Focus. After going undrafted, he signed on with the New York Giants for training camp but failed to make the team.

Harris, 21, also joins the Defenders in the second round of the front seven phase. He was named first-team All-MAC in 2018 after recording 4.0 sacks and a forced fumble in eleven games. After going undrafted, he signed on with the Chicago Bears for training camp but failed to make the team.

Sokoli, 28, was selected in the seventh round of the open draft phase. He was a sixth-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2015 NFL Draft. At UB, he anchored a defense that also featured star linebacker Khalil Mack. He spent the last two seasons on the Giants’ 53-man roster.

Kling, 26, was selected by the New York Guardians in the seventh round of the offensive line phase. He was an anchor on the 2014 Bulls offensive line. Standing at 6’8”, 330 lbs., he is one of the largest players ever to walk through UB. He has spent time with the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins.

Schum, 30, was selected by the Tampa Bay Vipers in the open draft phase. He was originally a walk-on wide receiver for the Bulls, before becoming the most successful punter in program history. He has spent time with the Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets and Green Bay Packers.

Former Bulls running back Branden Oliver and tight end Matt Weiser were also included in the XFL Draft player pool but were not selected.

Sports desk can be reached at sports@ubspectrum.com.