The XFL’s New York/New
Jersey HITMEN selected three players during
the league’s first-ever supplemental draft and
exercised one of its territorial selections
to add a total of four players to its roster
today. The newest members of HITMEN are listed
below in the order they were selected.
(territorial selection) Jeff Pilon, OT, Syracuse
(selection #2 overall) Joe Aska, RB, Central
(selection #15 overall) Marcus Hinton, TE, Alcorn
(selection #18 overall) Leo Araguz, K, Stephen
The HITMEN will have 24 hours to trim their
roster to 70 players in preparation for the
opening of training camp on Tuesday, January
2 in Orlando, FL.
Although teams could add an unlimited number
of players, the HITMEN were the first team to
opt out of the selection process, passing after
acquiring Pilon and the three other players.
“That’s all we felt we needed,” HITMEN head
coach Rusty Tillman said. “There wasn’t anything
out there in the supplemental draft that we
felt was better than the players we already
Vice President and General Manager Drew Pearson
agreed with Tillman’s assessment. “The players
we selected today will complement the fine nucleus
of talent that Rusty, (HITMEN player personnel
director) Joe Mack, the coaching staff and I
have already assembled.”
Pilon started every game at right tackle for
Syracuse during his junior and senior seasons.
The 6-foot-6 300-pounder has good athleticism
for a big man and is a physical run blocker
with good strength. Pilon signed with the New
York Jets as a rookie free agent on April 20,
2000. He was one
of 18 undrafted players the Jets added to their
training camp roster. Pilon was assigned to
the team’s practice squad on August 29 of this
year. The native of Ontario, Canada was also
selected by Winnipeg in the third round of the
1999 CFL draft.
The lightning fast Aska will bring his 4.3 speed
to the HITMEN running back corps. Originally
signed by the Oakland Raiders, Aska made his
pro debut in the 1995 season finale against
the Broncos. The Central Oklahoma University
alumnus played in 15 games for the Raiders during
the following season, earning a pair of starts.
Aska was the team’s third-leading rusher with
326 yards on 62 carries (an average of 5.3 yards/carry).
He also caught eight passes for 63 yards and
returned one kickoff for 17 yards. The four-year
NFL veteran has rushed for 336 yards on 74 carries
along with one TD and has hauled in eight passes
for 63 yards during his career.
Another former Raider, the veteran Araguz is
a talented, steady punter with a strong, quick
leg. He has also doubled as capable kickoff
man and holder for place kicks. In 1999 he saw
action in all 16 league games for the Raiders,
tallying 76 punts for 3,045 yards (an average
of 40.1 yards/punt). Araguz tied for fourth
in NFL for fewest touchbacks (4) and tied for
seventh in AFC for punts placed inside opponents’
20-yard line (25). The Pharr, TX native began
his NFL career in 1996 as a late addition to
the Oakland roster after participating in Miami
and San Diego training camps during 1994 and
Hinton recorded two tours of duty with the Raiders,
during the 1995-96 seasons and again during
1999, when he signed as a free agent on January
15. During 1998, he was a member of the Saints’
training camp roster. Out of football in 1997,
Hinton pulled down a meager paycheck working
in a sawmill in his hometown of Wiggins, MS.
The 6-foot-4, 273-pounder can catch the ball,
as his numbers at Alcorn State suggest. A favorite
target of Alcorn quarterback Steve McNair’s
in 1994, Hinton holds school records for touchdowns
(26) and receiving yards in one game (13 catches
for 316 yards against Tennessee-Chattanooga).
He finished his career with 112 catches for
2,392 yards, third-most in school history.