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XFL Draft, expanded roster could offer HBCU players another path to pro football dreams


Photo: Jah-Maine Martin/247 Sports

The XFL announced that it will expand its rosters league-wide, which could mean more opportunities for HBCU football players looking to play in the pros.  

In that vein, the league will hold the XFL Rookie Draft on June 16. The virtual event is open for undrafted players who were eligible to have been drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft and are not currently under contract by a professional football team.

Offseason team rosters will also be expanded from 51 to 90 to accommodate the increased number of players, the league said. 

Any players who sign an XFL contract will have an “NFL Out” until Tuesday, Dec. 26, following the end of Week 16 of the NFL regular season. This also applies to players who are still under contract from the 2023 season.


This development means players who were not taken during last month’s NFL Draft, including scores of HBCU players.

Currently, 19 former HBCU players were on rosters across the eight XFL teams during the 2023 season, with seven playing for the Orlando Guardians.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, XFL co-owner, had a successful first season, averaging 622,000 TV viewers across its 10-game regular season docket, per the Atlantic. The XFL Championship Game, in which the Arlington Renegades defeated the Reggie Barlow led-Washington Defenders 35-26, averaged 1.43 million viewers. 

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