Cardale Jones, Pepper Johnson among Ohio State standouts in the new XFL

Credit: Andrew Weber

Credit: Andrew Weber

Think football is over until NFL training camps convene in July?

Think again!

The new XFL is set to kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday when the DC Defenders play host to the Seattle Dragons at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.

>>RELATED: Ohio State announces important spring dates

The league’s first game features the team with the most Ohio State players, including the most-well known.

Cardale Jones is set to quarterback the Defenders while fellow Buckeye Tracy Sprinkle is listed as a starting defensive lineman for the team and Doran Grant is a reserve defensive back.

The newest pro football league also has a pair of local players: Wayne graduate Tyree Kinnel is a reserve safety for the Defenders while Donteea Dye of Fairfield will suit up for the Tampa Bay Vipers.

Kinnel played college football at Michigan while Dye went to Heidelberg and spent two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL and played in the Alliance of American Football last year before that league folded.

Kinnel took part in training camp with the Bengals last summer but did not make the team.

Pepper Johnson, an All-American linebacker and captain at Ohio State, is the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Los Angeles Wildcats. He won two Super Bowls as a player for the New York Giants and three more as a coach for the New England Patriots.

Martin Bayless, a Belmont High School grad who played and coached in the NFL (among other pro leagues), is special teams coordinator and safeties coach for the Wildcats.

Former Ohio State quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano is a member of the coaching staff of the St. Louis BattleHawks. He also spent two seasons on the Bengals staff.

Longtime Bengals assistant Jonathan Hayes is the head coach of the BattleHawks while his brother, Jay, is the defensive coordinator. He also spent several years on the Marvin Lewis’ staff in Cincinnati.

Former Bengals defensive back Chris Crocker is also on the BattleHawks staff.

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