Written by Josh Farnzy

Images by Hubba Kimbrel

The Rookie Index – 3.0
How under the radar can rookies go?
They need time to build a name for themselves, so many can go unassumingly through weeks and months without notoriety as the player is continually built. Look a little closer, however, and you may find some serious players building some solid play. In this edition of The Rookie Index, we take a look at some of the rookies that may perhaps be flying under the radar.
Top 4 Rookie storylines
1. Line ‘em up
This is where I state a cliché about offensive lines being all grit and no glory for success in football. The clichés are typically right. At 6-2, Florida sits near the top of the SFL two-thirds into the season. Part of that success is in part thanks to their rookie offensive line coach, Greg McDonaldson. The Storm are 8th in offensive yards and allowed the seventh fewest sacks in the league (Ron Cockren thanks you). The offensive line has also opened holes for rookie running back Charlie Biletsky. Nice work, McDonaldson. [Insert second cliche about offensive line not getting any of the glory].
2. Lawe stands firm
Defensive backs are playing at a premium level in the SFL. One such rookie, who somehow eluded the first night of the Season 16 draft, has made a giant impact on the Houston Hyenas: Ralgar Lawe. Lawe has been racking up interceptions – sitting at seven at this point in the season, which is good for first amongst rookies and fourth in the entire SFL. His play lately is starting to get a few whispers for Defensive Rookie of the Year consideration…rightfully so. So much for his under the radar status.
3. San Diego D-Trio
A Lynx, River Runner and Flight walk into a defense… Stop me if you’ve heard this one. The offense may be still figuring things out, but the defense is putting some good football together. Just take the last game against the mighty Nightwings. Devin King: 18 tackles (16 solo), 1 TFL, 1 PD, Mike Ryan: 10 tackles, Ray Lenearl III: 3 PDs and an interception in the clutch that nearly setup the winning field goal. Yes, seasoning is still needed, but these three could easily be the long-term nucleus that strike fear into the league in the years to come. 0-7 for now. Still, they are packing quite the punch(line). taps microphone. Is this thing on?
4. Wyatt needs to be said
Interceptions. They are sizzle and glitz when it comes to defensive back playmaking markers over the course of a season. Carolina’s Monte Wyatt has an INT and 8 PDs, sure. However, Wyatt has been very busy in the tackling game. Wyatt is the top-ranked rookie tackler in the SFL with 69 (tied for 18th overall in SFL), including 52 solo tackles. He has been equally solid in run support as in his free safety passing game duties. While he was not the top Skyhawk drafted from the Season 16 class, he is proving himself to be one of the steals of the draft. Interceptions? Solid tackling has just as much sizzle (or at least it should).

One Last Thing

As we head into the stretch run, here are some key games remain where rookie QBs will face each other…Week 9: Tulsa vs. St. Louis, Week 11: Las Vegas vs. St. Louis, Week 12: Tulsa vs. Las Vegas. In other words, we have ourselves a Rookie Round Robin with heavy playoff implications. The playoffs are right there rookies. All you need to do is go through each other.

See you next time.