Published 12:00 am Friday, March 7, 2008
Commentary by Myra Bean
Alternate football leagues are developing and looking toward Panola County for worthwhile talent.
Former South Panola and Ole Miss standout Eddie Strong was drafted by the All American Football League (AAFL). He was drafted by the team from Alabama.
Also eligible for draft is Tillman Ballentine, who has spent his post college years at Batesville Jr. High. The Developmental Football League (DFL) out of Los Angeles will hold its draft June 16 and 17.
There are six teams in the AAFL including Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas. A look through the rosters shows familiar names from football players who did not get drafted by the NFL or were released from their NFL contracts.
Some of Strong’s teammates include Scott Eyster of Delta State, Kerry Johnson of Ole Miss, Brian Balazik of Southern Mississippi and Clifford Carter of Valley.
More releases from Renee “Que” Chapman, public relations, are forthcoming as the opening date nears. Chapman is the wife of Kory Chapman, formerly of Batesville.
Que Chapman hopes to have a bus available to transport fans to see the opening game on April 19.
The website for more information is www.allamericanfootballleague.com.
“Tillman Ballentine is a power back from Mississippi Valley State University,” a news release said. “After being disappointed by academic ineligibility at the end of his college playing days, he has been coaching high school ball where his team has been highly ranked and undefeated. He has continued his training and preparation through combines to be ready for his shot at the pros.”
The draft eligibility process consisted of open tryouts in the form of pro-style Combines plus scouting and recruiting analysis, bringing the best players available from around the country, the release explained.
The 210 players selected in the draft will be assigned to one of the four teams. Maintaining a position on a team is based on a combination of individual and team performance through the DFL season. The final game will be the Eagles All-Star Game with the players selected from the remaining 78 players who have made it through the cuts. The Eagles All-Star Game will allow the nation and professional scouts to access the talent and perhaps receive invitations to camps and workouts.
The DFL is a new league, with an old idea. The DFL gives players with talent and determination the training and opportunity to prove themselves. The DFL was created to provide a chance for these individuals who may have been overlooked, believed not ready for the pros, or free agents who were injured and now need to prove their readiness and ability to make it at the next level.
For more information go online to www.GoDFL.com. To see video of Ballentine’s workouts go to http://www.godfl.com/player_profile.cfm?id=294.