Oscar White goes from from D-III to Commanders camp

Commanders cornerback Oscar White goes through Sunday's training camp practice at Central Catholic High School. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders cornerback Oscar White (left) goes through Sunday’s training camp practice at Central Catholic High School. – photo by Joe Alexander
Oscar White knows what it feels like to be overlooked.

After playing high school football in River Falls, Wisconsin, he didn’t have any colleges offering him scholarships.

He landed at Division III Dubuque in Iowa. His senior year in 2015 he earned all-conference honors and Dubuque won the conference title.

Here’s is White’s story:

“Actually coming out of high school, I didn’t have any recruits, I didn’t have any offers to any school. I set my journey out to go to school at the the University of Whitewater (Wisconsin). I went and talked to their head coach. He wouldn’t let me play.

“So I ended up taking a trip down to Iowa, to the University of Dubuque. I just went down there and visited with a friend of mine who went on a school visit. The coach asked me if I was an athlete. He told me if I enrolled in the school, I could be on the team.

“I knew I wanted to play football. I didn’t know where at. I didn’t have an option. The coach gave me that option to enroll and play there. It turned out to be a good decision for me. I was a three-year starter there.”

Move ahead four years and the story repeats. No pro teams came calling. White stayed in shape, but there were no opportunities until…

The fledgling Alliance of American Football (AAF) came along in the fall of 2018 and had some open combines where players could put their talents on display. White performed well enough at the combine that he was signed by the San Antonio Commanders before mini-camp.

Now the 6-foot, 199-pound cornerback is in the third week of training camp in San Antonio. The AAF season opener is about three weeks away and the former Dubuque Spartan has a shot at making the Commanders’ regular-season roster.

White got a taste of bigger-time football on Saturday when the Commanders practiced at the 65,000-seat Alamodome. White said his home stadium in college sat about 2,300.

“Coming from a D-III school, that’s actually the biggest place I’ve even been inside to practice,” White said. “That is going is to be a great experience and that was very cool to be in for a practice.”

White’s college highlights
hudl.com

White joins Commanders
dbq.edu

Commanders cornerbacks in mini-camp
210football.com

Rose returns to Commanders practice

Kicker Nick Rose, who spent last weekend kicking in the NFL playoffs, was back with the Commanders on Sunday. - photo by Joe Alexander
Kicker Nick Rose, who spent last weekend kicking in the NFL playoffs, was back with the Commanders on Sunday. – photo by Joe Alexander
Nick Rose spent Sunday a week ago handling the kickoff duties for the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC divisional playoffs.

This Sunday, Rose was back at Central Catholic High School taking part in the San Antonio Commanders training camp.

Rose, a kicker from the University of Texas, had been with the Commanders when the Chargers signed him. A week and a half later, he was back.

The longest field goal Rose made in today’s practice was 58 yards. He was working with holder Joseph Zema, a punter from Incarnate Word, and long snapper Scott Daly.

Training camp report: Sunday, January 20, 2019

After spending Saturday’s practice indoors at the Alamodome, the players were back outside on Sunday. The temperature was about 58 degrees when practice started and close to 60 when it ended.

T-shirt day

On Saturday, the players practiced in helmets and shoulder pads. Sunday they went without shoulder pads in what was mostly a learning day. The quarterbacks did very little passing.

Scenes from the Commanders training camp practice at the Alamodome

The San Antonio Commanders practiced at the Alamodome for the first time on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterback Marquise Williams passes to tight end Evan Rodriguez (88). The Commanders practiced at the Alamodome for the first time on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. – photo by Joe Alexander
Saturday’s open practice at the Alamodome had a different vibe from the San Antonio Commanders’ previous training camp workouts.

There were more fans in the stands, there was music being piped in and the team was on a professional football field.

But besides the thrill of the team being on its home field for the first time, there was still all the usual work of training camp to be done.

Commanders passing game at Alamodome practice photo gallery

Commanders receivers and defensive backs work on the passing game in Saturday's practice at the Alamodome. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders wide receiver Josh Stewart (80) makes a catch in front of cornerback Oscar White. – photo by Joe Alexander
The San Antonio Commanders put in a lot of time working on their passing game offense and defense at Saturday’s practice at the Alamodome.

Commanders wide receiver Josh Stewart was used to catching passes in the Alamodome, going back to his college career at UTSA. Stewart was wearing a UTSA t-shirt under his pads and jersey on Saturday.

“”It feels great. It’s where I played college ball at,” Stewart said. “I’m excited to be around professionals. It’s a little bit different than UTSA but it’s always great to be back in the dome.”

Home crowd

It was the first opportunity for the team to work out on its home field. The practice was open to the public and many fans were wearing Commanders jerseys. The team estimated the crowd at almost 900.

New old kicker

Later in the day, the Commanders announced the team waived kicker Sergio Castillo and added kicker Nick Rose to the active roster. Rose had previously been with the Commanders. He was signed by the Los Angeles Chargers and played in their divisional playoff game.

Commanders quarterbacks at practice at the Alamodome

Commanders quarterbacks threw in the Alamodome on Saturday as the team practiced on its home field for the first time. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterbacks threw in the Alamodome on Saturday as the team practiced on its home field for the first time. – photo by Joe Alexander
For three of the San Antonio Commanders’ four quarterbacks, Saturday’s practice at the Alamodome gave them their first chance to work out at their home stadium.

Dalton Sturm played in the Alamodome as his home college stadium with the UTSA Roadrunners.

Dustin Vaughan, Marquise Williams, Logan Woodside and Sturm are in a four-way competition to be the Commanders’ starting quarterback. They are also fighting for roster spots if the team keeps less than four quarterbacks.

Commanders completion of the day to John Diarse from Marquise Williams

Commanders receiver John Diarse catches a long pass from Marquise Williams and celebrates in the end zone with teammate Speedy Noil on Saturday in the Alamodome. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders receiver John Diarse catches a long pass from Marquise Williams and celebrates in the end zone with teammate Speedy Noil. – photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders fans in the Alamodome on Saturday tended to save their loudest cheers for great catches.

Near the end of practice, quarterback Marquise Williams from North Carolina hit a long pass to John Diarse from TCU.

Commanders linebacker Austin Larkin training camp photo gallery

San Antonio Commanders linebacker Austin Larkin at training camp practice Thursday at Central Catholic High School. - photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Commanders linebacker Austin Larkin at training camp practice Thursday at Central Catholic High School. – photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Commanders linebacker Austin Larkin is part of a sports family.

The best known of the family is his uncle Barry Larkin, a Hall of Fame baseball player.

Austin Larkin’s father Michael Larkin played linebacker at Notre Dame. Austin’s cousin Shane Larkin played professional basketball.

Austin Larking played two seasons at Purdue after transferring from city College of San Francisco. He was at Dallas Cowboys camp last summer listed as a defensive end.

Larkin at Cowboys camp
DallasNews.com

Commanders receiver Speedy Noil training camp photo gallery

Former Texas A&M receiver Speedy Noil at San Antonio Commanders training camp at Central Catholic High School. - photo by Joe Alexander
Former Texas A&M receiver Speedy Noil at San Antonio Commanders training camp at Central Catholic High School. – photo by Joe Alexander
Speedy Noil got his nickname for a reason.

As a high school quarterback from New Orleans, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds at the High School All-American combine. He was rated as the top athlete in the nation in high school football after his senior seasons.

Noil’s production at Karr High School in New Orleans backed that up. As a senior he passed for 2,235 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also ran the ball for 1,345 yards and 20 touchdowns.

At Texas A&M, the Aggies put his athleticism to work as a wide receiver. Noil’s freshman year in 2014 he caught 46 passes for 583 yards and 5 touchdowns. That turned out to be his best season with the Aggies. He caught 21 passes for 325 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2016 as a junior and entered the NFL draft the following spring.

Noil wasn’t picked in the NFL draft. He was signed as a free agent by the Seattle Seahawks and later spent time in the CFL.

Noil’s Texas A&M bio page
12thman.com

Noil’s NFL draft preview
DallasNews.com

Comparing Noil to NFL players
fieldgulls.com

Noil signs with Edmonton Eskimos
edmontonsun.com

Commanders safety Orion Stewart at training camp

Orion Stewart, a former All-Big 12 safety from Baylor, at Commanders training camp at Central Catholic High School on Wednesday. - photo by Joe Alexander
Orion Stewart, a former All-Big 12 safety from Baylor, at Commanders training camp at Central Catholic High School on Wednesday. – photo by Joe Alexander
Orion Stewart spent most of his college career as a mainstay in the defensive secondary at Baylor.

Life as a pro football player has been a lot more chaotic.

The Waco native played in 49 games at Baylor. As a senior in 2016 he started all 13 games, made six interceptions and earned All-Big 12 honors. In 2017 and 2018, Stewart has seen time with four different NFL teams – the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins and New York Giants.

“I bounced around a little bit,” Stewart said. “This is what I want to do. I just knew when my opportunity came, this so happened to be my opportunity, I had to be ready. That’s what I made sure I did.

“This is opportunity. My dream is to play in the NFL. I had my little stint. That’s what I’m trying to get back to.”

The 6-foot, 200-pound safety is now at the San Antonio Commanders training camp and is happy to be back in pro football.

“I love to play this game of football,” Stewart said. “Every day I get up and put my cleats on, tie my shoes up, ready to go, I love it.”

Playing on a brand new franchise in the opening season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF), Stewart is trying to become part of a cohesive defense with a group of players who are in similar situations to his own. Success in the secondary not only depends on doing your part, but also in knowing where your teammates will be.

“That was the most difficult part about all of us coming together,” Stewart said. “The first few days was kind of rusty. People were trying to get their back legs under them almost but still trying to figure out. Their minds were just kind of going all these of these directions.

“Now everyone is in the film room talking to each other, feeling out all the players. We’re starting to get adjusted to how we play and what we can do.”

Stewart’s Baylor bio page
BaylorBears.com

2017 draft profile
nfl.com

Stewart lands with New York Giants
giants.com

Training camp report: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019

What started out as an ugly day got better as practice went along. The early drizzle stopped and the temperature was around 60 at the end of practice.

Roster update from Commanders daily update

The Commanders waived offensive lineman Avery Gennesy.

The Commanders added offensive lineman Dillon DeBoer (Florida Atlantic) to the active roster. San Antonio’s roster is at 75 players.

Dillon DeBoer

Appeared in 46 career games along the offensive line in four seasons at Florida Atlantic University … played center, both guard positions and left tackle in senior season of 2016, earning All-Conference USA and FAU’s team offensive MVP honors … undrafted in 2017 NFL Draft.

Commanders nose tackle Ra’Zahn Howard training camp photo gallery

Commanders nose tackle Ra'Zahn chases quarterback Dalton Sturm during training camp practice Tuesday at Central Catholic High School. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders nose tackle Ra’Zahn chases quarterback Dalton Sturm during training camp practice Tuesday at Central Catholic High School. – photo by Joe Alexander
Ra’Zahn Howard brings the experience of a college career in a big conference to playing a big man’s position at the professional level.

The 315-pound nose tackle from Purdue expects the lessons he learned in the Big 10 to pay off with the San Antonio Commanders.

“It’s awesome. Every Saturday playing in the Big 10 you’re going against NFL caliber linemen – Wisconsin and Michigan State back to back” Howard said. “It kind of makes the transition a lot easier.

“The competition, you’re used to it playing against guys from different conferences and all over the world. Big 10 and SEC are notorious for producing some of the best linemen. I would say it’s definitely an advantage from that point of view.”

Howard spent three seasons at Purdue, playing in 11 games as a junior in 2015. He signed with the Houston Texans as a free agent in the summer of 2016.

He likes what he has seen so far in his defensive teammates at Commanders training camp at Central Catholic High School.

“I’ve seen a group of crazed animals, I like to describe our defense,” Howard said. “Relentless, fast to the ball, guys that are excited to be out here and excited to learn. We’re playing fast. We’ve got chemistry. We’ve got a great coaching staff, a great defensive coordinator.

“Our defensive line coach, coach Mac (Jeff McInerney) does a real good job of working with us with details. He’s always coaching details because at the end of the day we’ve all got talent and ability, but if you’re not detailed, you can’t put it together.”

The Alliance of American Football (AAF), which includes the Commanders, has been looked at as a place for pro football players to get a second chance – and sometimes a last chance.

“I feel like you got a bunch of guys out here with nothing to lose,” Howard said. “They say a man with nothing to lose is dangerous. You’ve got guys flying around on both sides of the ball. It’s excitement. You can feel the tension and energy every day you come out here. It’s a blessing, definitely.”

Howard’s Purdue bio page:
PurdueSports.com

Howard signed with Houston Texans”
Houston Chronicle