PHOENIX – The six-time world champion Arizona Rattlers announced today that they have re-signed quarterback Verlon Reed Jr., offensive lineman Abram Holland, linebacker Ricky Wyatt Jr., and the 2019 first-team all-IFL defensive lineman Nikolaus D’Avanzo for the 2020 Indoor Football League season.
QB Verlon Reed Jr. (6-foot-1, 200, Ohio State) is entering his third season with the Arizona Rattlers. Last season, Reed completed 72 percent of his passes (18 for 25) for 301 total yards, in only four games. He also threw seven interceptions and only one interception. Reed spent his rookie year with the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, where he completed 274 of 463 passes for 2,734 yards and 54 touchdowns in 16 starts. He also finished the season as the league’s leading rusher, running for 759 yards and 16 touchdowns. The dual threat quarterback led the league in total offense with 3,493 yards, and ranked third in both passing yards and total touchdowns, earning him the 2017 IFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Reed spent time with the NFL’s Detroit Lions in 2015.
Reed began his collegiate career as a wide receiver for Ohio State University, where he played 13 games over two seasons. After his sophomore season with the Buckeyes, Reed transferred to the University of Findlay, making the switch to quarterback. In his junior year, Reed completed 67 percent of his passes for a team-high 1,791 yards and 11 touchdowns and was named honorable mention all-GLIAC. In his senior year, Reed threw for 2,712 yards and 22 touchdowns, breaking the schools single season passing record by 383 yards. Reed also rushed for 634 yards and seven touchdowns during his senior year and was a Harlon Hill regional finalist.
The Columbus, Ohio native was a three-sport athlete for Marion-Franklin High School, lettering in football, basketball and track. Reed was named first team all-Ohio as a senior, where he passed for 1,714 yards and 18 touchdowns and accumulated another 1,658 yards on the ground. Reed won four city league titles with the Red Devils and finished his high school career with a 23-6 record as the starting quarterback.
OL Abram Holland (6-foot-2, 305, New Mexico State) is returning for his second season with the Rattlers.
Prior to joining Arizona, Holland started all four years at New Mexico State University where he was the Pervis Atkins Award winner. In four seasons as a Lobo, Abram surrendered only 4 sacks.
The Rio Rancho, New Mexico native received First Team All-Metro, First Team All-District, and First-Team All-State honors while playing at V. Sue Cleveland High School. In his senior year, Holland recorded 32 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and four sacks.
LB Ricky Wyatt Jr. (6-foot, 240, Central Arkansas) is returning for his second season with Arizona. Last season, Wyatt led the team in sacks with six, and was second on the team in tackles-for-loss with 13. Wyatt previously played with the Salina Liberty and the Dodge City Law of Champions Indoor Football. In two CIF seasons, Wyatt recorded 159 total tackles, 43.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, six blocked kicks, and three fumble recoveries. Wyatt earned First Team All-North Conference honors during the 2018 season with Salina.
The linebacker spent his college career playing for the University of Central Arkansas. Wyatt had a career-high 74 tackles (16.5 for loss) in his senior season. For his career, he ended with 195 unassisted tackles in 34 games played to go along with three forced fumbles and two blocked kicks.
The Monroe, Louisiana native was a two-time district 2-4A Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and was named the Louisiana 4A State Championship Game Outstanding Player.
DL Nikolaus D’Avanzo (6-foot-3, 270, New Mexico) is entering his second season with the Rattlers. Last season, D’Avanzo earned first-team All-IFL honors after leading the team in tackles-for-loss with 14 and had 5.5 sacks. He also had eight pass breakups. In 2017, D’Avanzo spent time with the Minnesota Vikings.
D’Avanzo attended the University of New Mexico where he played for four years. He finished with 198 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, one forced fumble, and four fumble recoveries in 49 games.
The Baltimore native played high school football at Archbishop Curley High School. In 2012, D’Avanzo was a consensus All-State selection and a first-team Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association All-Conference selection on the defensive line. D’Avanzo finished the 2012 season with 58 tackles, 14 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, an interception returned for a touchdown, and a blocked punt. He also played fullback, recording 114 carries for 664 yards and 10 touchdowns. D’Avanzo was also selected to and started in the Crab Bowl, Maryland’s high school all-star game.
About the Arizona Rattlers
The Arizona Rattlers were founded in 1992, and are proud members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). In the three seasons that the Rattlers have been in the IFL, they have been in the conference championship every year and have gone to the United Bowl twice, winning one in 2017. The Rattlers spent 24 seasons in the Arena Football League (AFL), and in that time made ten appearances in the ArenaBowl, winning in 2014, 2013, 2012, 1997 and 1994. For tickets, call 602-514-TDTD (8383), or visit www.azrattlers.com.
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