Week one of the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football is in the books. Four games in and there have already been some tremendous performances. Some of these were tremendous statistical outputs, and some of them didn’t show up on the stat sheet but were valuable to the team’s performance overall. With that, let’s look at the 10 best individual performances from the first week of the AAF.
Trent Richardson, Birmingham Iron Running Back
Steven Johnson, Arizona Hot Shots Linebacker
Greg Ward Jr, San Antonio Commanders Wide Receiver
10. Zac Stacy, Memphis Express Running Back
10 carries, 58 yards
Memphis running back Zac Stacy is the lone representative of a losing team on this list. While Birmingham halfback Trent Richardson had two touchdowns, it was Stacy who looked like the best back in the game. Memphis abandoned the run game after falling behind, but the former Vanderbilt Commodore Stacy looks like a feature back in the Express offense.
9. Mekale McKay, San Antonio Commanders Wide Receiver
5 receptions, 80 yards
Mekale McKay was one of two Commanders receivers to catch five balls on Saturday night. McKay just edges out his teammate Greg Ward Jr. based on his big catch on third-and-nine in the fourth quarter to keep the San Diego Fleet offense off the field. McKay and Ward Jr. will serve as a solid pair of receivers for quarterback Logan Woodside.
8. Xzavier Dickson, Birmingham Iron Linebacker
1 tackle, 1 QB hit, 1 pass deflection, 1 interception
Xzavier Dickson had his fingerprints all over the first shutout in AAF history. Late in the first quarter, Dickson tipped a pass that was intercepted by defensive back Jamar Summers. Dickson bookended his performance by getting an interception of his own. He picked off backup quarterback Brandon Silvers late in the fourth quarter. With a hand in two turnovers, Dickson earned himself a spot on the top ten players from week one.
7. Shaan Washington, San Antonio Commanders Linebacker
2 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Shaan Washington, the former Texas A&M Aggie, had a great opening night with two sacks. More importantly, Washington provided the first viral highlight of the AAF season. Coming off the right edge unblocked, Washington unleashed a vicious hit on San Diego quarterback Mike Bercovici. The hit was so hard that Bercovici’s helmet popped clean off. Washington did help to hold the San Diego Fleet to six points, but his massive hit alone would have landed him a spot on this list.
Shaan Washington can BRING IT. pic.twitter.com/7VqYNk3DwD
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) February 10, 2019
Luis Perez, Birmingham Iron Quarterback
19/33 passing, 252 yards
Birmingham Quarterback Luis Perez had less hype around him than other quarterbacks in the AAF. The former Harlon Hill (FBS Division-II Best Player) winner Perez had a great game passing the ball all over the Memphis Express defense. Perez didn’t find the end zone but set up halfback Trent Richardson for two scores. It was an impressive first outing for Perez, who is just two years out of starring at Texas A&M Commerce.
Jamar Summers, Birmingham Iron Defensive Back
2 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception
Birmingham defensive back Jamar Summers was a key piece of the defense that pitched the first shutout of the season. Summers had an interception early, catching a tipped ball for a pick of Memphis Express quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Summers would add a forced fumble in the fourth quarter to help seal the win. The Iron defense looked like it was made of Iron in week one, and Summers was a big factor in that.
4. Rashad Ross, Arizona Hot Shots Wide Receiver
5 receptions, 103 yards, 2 touchdowns
Rashad Ross absolutely balled out in his first game of the year. Ross finished with two touchdowns on the night, both of them fantastic catches. The Arizona State product had home-field advantage of sorts, playing in his college stadium. Of all the players on this list, Ross is the one who looked most NFL-ready this week. You can expect a team like the Buffalo Bills (who need wideout help) to keep an eye on him.
John Wolford 36 yard touchdown to Rashad Ross pic.twitter.com/uego7LmBp2
— Arif Hasan, but spooky 👻 (@ArifHasanNFL) February 11, 2019
3. Terence Garvin, Orlando Apollos Linebacker
8 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 pass deflections, 2 interceptions, 1 TD
Terrence Garvin had a massive first game on the defensive side for Orlando. Garvin had eight tackles, and the former West Virginia Mountaineer had two interceptions of Atlanta Legends quarterback Matt Simms. Garvin returned one all the way to the house, recording the first defensive touchdown in AAF history. The Apollos defense looked intimidating on opening night, and Garvin will be a big factor in them continuing their excellent play moving forward.
2. Garrett Gilbert, Orlando Apollos Quarterback
15/25 passing, 227 yards, 2 passing TDs, 1 receiving TD, 1 2-PT conversion
Garrett Gilbert was the star of opening night for the AAF. Gilbert, the Southern Methodist University product, led the highest scoring offense during week one. Gilbert looked sharp on his throws, spreading the ball out to eight different receivers. The best play for Gilbert wasn’t as a quarterback but instead was during the “Snowbird Special”. In a re-creation of the famous “Philly Special” from Super Bowl 52, Gilbert handed the ball off and rolled out right. Gilbert caught the touchdown pass from wideout Jalin Marshall, putting Apollos well ahead of the Legends and creating the most memorable play of the young franchise’s existence.
John Wolford, Arizona Hotshots Quarterback
18/29 passing, 275 yards, 4 passing TDs, 2 2-PT conversions
Just like the NFL, it seems the AAF is also a quarterback league. John Wolford came out in the final game of the opening weekend looking incredible. The former Wake Forest Deacon kept plays alive with his legs and made smart decisions with the football. The Arizona Hotshots offense looks like a force after week one, and the talent of Wolford is the main reason.
This drive by Arizona
Wolford to Rashad Ross for 42 yards
Jhurell Pressley for 9 yards
Jhurell Pressley for 30 yards
Larry Rose III for 4 yards
Wolford to Gerald Christian for 5 yards TD pic.twitter.com/jEMMq66TGP
— Arif Hasan, but spooky 👻 (@ArifHasanNFL) February 11, 2019