Local Players Selected In 2023 XFL Draft

Nov 19, 2022, 7:33 PM
3 Feb 2001: A view of the XFL logo sign taken during the game between the Las Vegas Outlaws and the New York/New Jersey Hitmen at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Outlaws defeated the Hitmen 19-0. (Photo by: Todd Warshaw /Allsport)
(Photo by: Todd Warshaw /Allsport)

SALT LAKE CITY – Multiple local players that starred at the University of Utah heard their names called during the 2023 XFL Draft.

The XFL Draft was held in Las Vegas, Nevada from November 15-17.

During the selections, a pair of former Utah football standouts landed on rosters ahead of the XFL’s reboot for 2023.

Former Utes Tareke Lewis and Pita Taumoepenu were selected during the three-day events. Taumoepenu was chosen by the Vegas Vipers with the 32nd pick during the fourth round. Lewis landed with the St. Louis Battlehawks as their 78th pick in the 10th round.

Taumoepenu played for Utah from 2013-16. The former Timpview High standout recorded 73 total tackles, 49 solo tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, four forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery in 43 games with the Utes. After his college career, the linebacker was selected by the San Francisco 49ers during the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He played for the Niners until 2019. From 2019-21, Taumoepenu was a member of the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, and Denver Broncos.

Lewis played for the Utes from 2018-19. During his time at the University of Utah, the defensive back had 32 total tackles, 26 solo tackles, one interception, and nine pass breakups in 25 games.

The 2023 edition of the XFL will be under a new ownership group led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Training camp is slated to begin in January and the regular season will start in February.

XFL in 2020

In April 2020, the XFL suspended league operations and terminated its employees amid the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 12 former college football players from the state of Utah were on active 52-man rosters in the eight-team league. Along with the 12 players, former BYU and Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow was the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Wildcats.

In 2019, another football league, the American Alliance of Football, folded before the completion of its inaugural season.

Kyle Ireland is a Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com and co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@kyleireland) and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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