Richmond Raiders stockpile more talent
The Richmond Raiders have inked five players to preseason contracts including one returning player from the 2012 PIFL runner-up and four newcomers to the team. They represent a mixture of veterans and younger players who Head Coach James Fuller believes will provide additional quality up and down the roster.
Anthony Silvers (Lenoir-Rhyne) will return for his second season with the Raiders after making major contributions in 2012 as a two-way player. At fullback, he had 45 carries for 67 yards and eight TDs, finishing sixth in the league in rushing. All his offensive productivity came in just seven games, as he played linebacker the last four games of the season. “We are glad to have Anthony back this season,” Coach Fuller said. “With his ability to play several positions on offense and defense, he is a great asset to our team.” Silvers burst on the scene with 11 carries, 23 yards, and two touchdowns in the season opener against Columbus, and tied his career highs with 11 carries and two touchdowns against Alabama (4/14) and set a career mark with 25 yards.
Nick Royal (Hampton) joins the Raiders as a heralded offensive lineman with significant pro experience. He participated in New Orleans Saints rookie camp, and played in the Arena Football League with the Pittsburgh Power and New Orleans VooDoo. Fuller cited Royal’s experience and versatility as two important qualities he will bring to the Raiders, saying that Royal “will add veteran leadership to the team as well as the O-Line. With his ability to play every position across the line, he gives us a lot of options as a team.”
Royal started for two seasons at Hampton. After his senior season, Royal was invited to the HBCU Senior Bowl and the East Coast All-Star Bowl. His cousin Eddie Royal played at Virginia Tech and currently stars for the San Diego Chargers.
Shaun Quezada (Richmond) is a rookie defensive lineman who made a tremendous impression on Raider coaches at the open tryout. “He is technically sound, has a good motor, which is what we want out of our D-Line play,” Coach Fuller said after seeing Quezada at the tryout. “He should add depth and youth to our defensive line.” Quezada was a member of the University of Richmond’s 2008 National Championship team and the 2009 CAA Champions. He is a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Reserve.
Chris Peoples (Catawba) will make the transition from tight end to down lineman, but the Raider coaching staff has high hopes that his natural athleticism and raw talent will make the former pass catcher a force in the trenches. Fuller said Peoples will “bring some youth into the organization” after performing well at the tryout. Peoples will challenge for playing time on both offensive and defensive lines. “He’s a very athletic player that can play both sides of the ball at a high level,” Fuller said.
Mike Jones (Southeast Missouri State) was a four-year starter at fullback with the Redhawks. He gained over 1,000 yards during his career there and scored nine touchdowns. Fuller believes Jones will be a good fit in the indoor game, calling him a “hard-nosed runner with the talent and strength to run inside, as well as break the big runs. What is also impressive, is he has soft hands and can catch the ball out the backfield. We are hoping for big things from him in 2013.”
These players and the rest of the Raiders will get back to action when the 2013 season begins on March 16 as the Raiders host the Charlotte Speed! The Raiders will play all their home games at the Richmond Coliseum. Season tickets start as low as $30, and are available on the Raiders’ website, www.RichmondRaidersProFootball.com, or by calling 804-780-0430. Again this year the Raiders will play in the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) and will look to take the next step after falling short in the championship game last year.