The first player on the first roster of St. Louis’ new XFL franchise is a quarterback who wasn’t even picked by the team, but assigned by the league.
Jordan Ta’amu, a NFL Combine invitee and former Houston Texans backup, will be at the center of the St. Louis BattleHawks’ huddle when the league reboots and the season opens come February.
The announcement was made at Westport Plaza Tuesday as the XFL teams prepared for its first player draft.
BattleHawks coach Jonathan Hayes introduced Ta’amu to the media.
“We’re excited to have Jordan as a part of our team, a part of our program and to get us going down the road,’’ Hayes said. ”I think the thing that excited me about Jordan is his mental toughness, his physical toughness, he can extend plays, his arm strength and his talent level. Those are things that are going to get better and better.
“And those are the things you look for when you get a dynamic young quarterback, guys who are going to grow into the position and become great at it.’’
Ta’amu played two seasons at the University of Mississippi. As a junior in 2017, he played in eight games, including five starts with 1,682 passing yards with 11 touchdowns.
In his senior season last fall, the Hawaii native broke the Ole Miss single-season record with four 400-yard passing games and led the SEC in both passing yards per game and total offense. He finished 6th all-time in school history with 5,600 career passing yards and 9th in passing touchdowns.
Ta’amu arrived in St. Louis for the first time in his life earlier this week.
“First time being here,’’ Ta”amu said. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the fan base in St. Louis. I’m excited to be here and ready to get going.’’
“When I got the call from them (the BattleHawks), I was excited and it made me even more hungry and I’m excited to get rolling and get this program going. It’s just a blessing all around.. I’m at a comfort spot with my decision and with the coaching staff. It’s just been amazing just being here the last two days, getting to know them and this St. Louis town.’’
A former 2019 NFL Combine invitee, Ta’amu was signed and released by the Houston Texans in August 2019.
Ta’amu was one of eight quarterbacks picked to lead the eight XFL franchises. The announcement of the eight quarterbacks came from the XFL Tuesday prior of the draft which will conclude Wednesday.
A native of Pear City, Hawaii, T’a’Amu 21, saw duty in the preseason with Houston behind Texans starter Deshaun Watson before being released in August.
“It was a nervous time for me wondering if I was going to get signed and so when I did get signed by them (Houston) I was really excited. I felt like the whole time I was there I put everything I had into that team and that program,’’ Ta’amu said. “I felt like the whole time I was there I acted professional, did what I had to do and learned a lot from Deshaun (Watson).
“It was just a great experience all-around.’’
And now like Watson, the 6-3, 220-pound Ta”amu will attempt to lead his team to a championship.
“My goal is to win, to be a competitor, to put points on the board sand to win,’’ Ta’amu said. “That’s what struck me when I talked to coach (Hayes) on the phone. Hey loved to compete and he loved to win.
“That’s how I grew up. I’ve never had anything given to me. I’ve always had to work for what I’ve gotten. That’s the same feeling I got when I talked to the coaches here. I feel like we’ve got the same mindset, the same goal and the same vision.’’
Player selections will be announced on XFL.com, @xfl2020 on Twitter, @xfl on Instagram, and through the social media channels of the eight XFL teams.