Commanders’ running game powered by former Texas high school players

San Antonio Commanders running back Aaron Green played at Madison High School and TCU. - photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Commanders running back Aaron Green played at Madison High School and TCU. – photo by Joe Alexander
Part of the plan for the Alliance of American Football is to give teams a regional flavor.

The San Antonio Commanders get plenty of that from their ball carriers. When the Commanders cut their 75-man training camp roster down to 52 for the regular season, the list of holdovers included all four running running backs from the state of Texas still on the roster.

“We like to be balanced. We want to be able to be able to run the ball,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said. “We feel like we have good runners. We have four guys who made the team, which is probably a little unusual. We felt like those were four of our best football players, so that’s the direction we went with them.”

All four of the running backs played high school football in the state: Aaron Green is from San Antonio and played in college at TCU, Kenneth Farrow II is from Hurst and played in college at Houston, David Cobb is from Killeen and played in college at Minnesota and Trey Williams is from Spring and played in college at Texas A&M.

“I think we’re all different in our way,” Green said. “I think we’re all extremely good. At any given moment any of us can take the ball to the house. Everybody in the backfield is pretty much a starter so it’s pretty much up to the coaches to look at our talent and give us roles.”

Green is also working with the punt return and punt coverage units.

“Anywhere they need me I can do it,” Green said. “Special teams is actually something I enjoy doing.”

His NFL game experience is two games seeing special teams action with the Rams in 2016.

Commanders GM Daryl Johnston on cuts, 52-man roster

Commanders GM Daryl Johnston discusses the roster cutdown to 52 players for the regular season. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders GM Daryl Johnston discusses the roster cutdown to 52 players for the regular season. – photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston has lived through player cuts as a college and NFL player.

The former Dallas Cowboys fullback was on the other side of that on Wednesday when Alliance of American Football (AAF) teams announced their 52-man rosters, down from 75 in training camp.

“Today was one of the more challenging days I’ve been a part of,” Johnston said. “We started this journey several months ago. We’ve gone from 85 down into the 60s back up to 75 and now today we had to come down to 52. There were some really hard decisions we had to make. We think we picked a very competitive 52, but time will tell.

“They’re great guys. That was the thing that made it the hardest. We had good players but we had great guys.”

The Commanders kept three quarterbacks – Dustin Vaughan, Marquise Williams and Logan Woodside. The fourth quarterback in camp, former UTSA starter Dalton Sturm, did not make the 52-man roster. Johnston said the league recommends having three quarterbacks on the roster and AAF rules call for three quarterbacks to be suited up on game day. Vaughan finished training camp as the team’s No. 1 quarterback.

Johnston said some of the toughest roster decisions were at receiver, linebacker and running back. The receiver position was complicated by some players suffering injuries in training camp and a few players joining the team late in camp.

The decision at running back was influenced by how the team performed in practice games on Sunday and Monday.

“We were prepared to go in with three running backs,” Johnston said. “We saw how well we ran the football. We saw our physical the runners were. We decided four would be better. Then Trey Williams came up with a turf toe coming out of the game.

“Aaron Green did a great job on Monday night. I’m really impressed with him not only as a runner, but special teams is something that I don’t know how much of a part of his background that was, and he’s done a really good job of embracing special teams.”

Kenneth Farrow II, David Cobb, Green and Williams are the four running backs on the roster.

Update: I just heard from wide receiver Riley Smith, who is not on the 52-man roster. Smith said he is on the injured list and expects to be activated when he is fully healthy.

Commanders add players to training camp roster, make cuts

Commanders players reported to training camp on Friday. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders players reported to training camp on Friday.
The San Antonio Commanders announced today that they added players to their 75-main training camp roster. The team also announced three players were released. Players reported today and practice starts tomorrow.

The following is from the Commanders official news release:

The Commanders have announced the signings of linebacker Arthur Brown, defensive back Kurtis Drummond, wide receiver John Diarse, offensive lineman Avery Gennesy, offensive lineman Donald Hawkins and running back Trey Williams.

Arthur Brown

Born in Wichita, Kan., Brown became a member of the Kansas State football program (2011-12) after electing to transfer from the University of Miami (2008-10). A two-year starter at linebacker for the Wildcats’ defense, Brown collected 218 tackles, 17 tackles for losses, three sacks and three interceptions. Drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Brown played five seasons in the league with the Baltimore Ravens (2013-15), Jacksonville Jaguars (2016), New York Jets (2016) and Seattle Seahawks (2017).

John Diarse

A native of Monroe, La., Diarse played wide receiver at LSU (2013-15) before transferring to TCU as a graduate student (2016-17). A two-year starter for Gary Patterson’s offense, Diarse became a feature piece of the offense. Finishing his collegiate career with 96 receptions, 1,429 yards and nine touchdowns, Diarse signed an undrafted rookie contract with the Denver last offseason. He was waived during the team’s final roster cuts after finishing the preseason with four catches for 68 yards.

Kurtis Drummond

From Youngstown, Ohio, Drummond was a three-star recruit before signing to play for Michigan State (2011-14). A three-year starter for the Spartans, Drummond was a two-time first team All-Big Ten reciprent and named a first team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America in 2014. Collecting 233 tackles, 14 tackles for losses, 12 interceptions and one sack, Drummond would sign an undrafted free agent contract with the Houston Texans following the 2015 NFL Draft. Drummond played two seasons with the Texans (2015-17) where he collected 13 total tackles and one forced fumble.

Avery Gennesy

A Southhaven, Miss. product, Gennesy started as an offensive tackle for Texas A&M (2014-17) under Kevin Sumlin. Transfering from East Mississippi Community College (2012-13), Gennesy helped the Aggies offense average 190.4 rushing yards per game and 361.6 passing yards per game during his two seasons as the team’s left tackle. Undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, Gennesy was a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-18), Cleveland Browns (2018) and Denver Broncos (2018) practice squads.

Donald Hawkins

Born in Tunica, Miss., Hawkins has spent some time in the Texas area. An offensive tackle for Texas (2012-13), Hawkins started in 24 of his 25 career games under Mack Brown’s offense. Following going undrafted in 2014, Hawkins has played offensive tackles for multiple NFL teams including the Philadelphia Eagles (2014), Cleveland Browns (2014), Dallas Cowboys (2014), Miami Dolphins (2015), San Francisco 49ers (2015), Carolina Panthers (2016), New York Jets (2016) and Kansas City Chiefs. The 26-year-old played in eight NFL games over the course of four seasons.

Trey Williams

A native Spring, Texas, Williams was a state champion running back for the Dekaney Wildcats before electing to play for Texas A&M (2012-15). Over the course of three seasons, the rotational back, Williams rushed for 1,343 yards on 204 carries with 18 touchdowns, while averaging a career 8.7 yards per carry. Williams also worked as the Aggies’ return man where he collected 1684 yards on 70 returns in three years. Since leaving College Station, Williams has been a member for several NFL programs, including the Washington Redskins (2015), Dallas Cowboys (2015, 2017), New England Patriots (2015), Miami Dolphins (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015-16) and Pittsburgh Steelers. Williams also has played in the Canadian Football League as a member of the Toronto Argonauts (2017).

In other moves, the Commanders waived the rights to Tyler Palka (WR), Juwaan Rogers (RB) and Bryan Braman (DL).