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Breaking Down The Wide Receiver/Defensive Back Position: AFL Central

Updated at Mar 4, 2024

Here is a breakdown of some of the most notable players who will be designated as the WR/DB for their teams.

Ironman football dictates that wide receivers will also be expected to double as defensive backs. This is a unique feature that tests the ability of even the most skilled at their position. Now, they will be tested on both sides of the ball. Not all will play both ways, but more will than won’t.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most notable players who will be designated as the WR/DB for teams in the Central Division. Many have played both ways already. Some will get a taste of Ironman football for the first time this season.

AFL Central

Iowa Rampage

Michael Cornelious

Measurables: Valley City State University 6-3, 205

Stats: 2023 Gillette Mustangs - 34 REC, 323 yards, 4 TD

Cornelious is a multi-sport athlete and spent the 2018-19 season on the Valley City State basketball team. He moved over to football for the next two seasons, ending his college career with 49 receptions for 458 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Last season, Cornelious suited up for the Wyoming (Gillette) Mustangs of the Champions Indoor Football League. He appeared in 11 games where he accounted for 34 receptions, 323 yards, and 4 touchdowns.

LeDarian McAllister

Measurables: Kentucky State University

Stats: 2023 Gillette Mustangs - 14 REC, 131 yards, 1 TD, 5 total tackles

McAllister is an all-around player who accounted for 500 all-purpose yards, 36 receptions, and 6 touchdowns in his junior college career. His performance garnered him Second-Team MCAC (Minnesota College Athletic Conference) All-Conference honors.

He will join Cornelious in Iowa after the two played together in Gillette last season. McAllister played seven games for the Mustangs, catching 14 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. He also tacked on three solo tackles and two assists on defense.

Sadeeq Nathanel

Measurables: SUNY Morrisville

Stats: 2021-23 NY Green Wave - 16 REC 265 yards, 7 TD, 71 total tackles, 8 INT, 1 TD

Nathanel has kept himself busy on the football field over the last three seasons. He has participated in various leagues in both the outdoor and arena games. The versatile athlete is no stranger to two-way football, suiting up as both a wide receiver and a defensive back in each of his last few assignments.

These include stops with the NY Green Wave and the Harlem Gators of the Triboro Football League. He led the Gators in both receptions (19) and yards (329) in his only season with the team. He also led the Green Wave in combined tackles (15) and interceptions (3) during the 2023 season.

Most recently, Nathanel hoisted a championship trophy as a member of the Jersey Bearcats of the AAL2. His arena football team went 6-1 on the season on their way to the title. Nathaniel was named the defensive MVP of the championship game versus the Steel City Stampede.

Salina Liberty

Prince Shonola

Measurables: Rocky Mountain College, 5-9. 170

Stats: 30 REC, 467 yards, 4 TD, 19 Kick RET, 436 yards, 1 TD

Shonola may not have seen many opportunities in college, but made the most out of what he got. The speedy wideout averaged 15.6 yards per reception in his two seasons at Rocky Mountain College. On top of that, he averaged 22.9 yards per kick return.

His efforts in college earned him an invitation to the Alliance of American Football League (AAF) in 2019 with the Arizona Hot Shots. Most recently, Shonola has spent time with the Orlando Predators (NAL). He has also been invited to two XFL showcases over the last two years.

Tramon Wiley

Measurables: Heidelberg University, 5-9, 185

Stats: 107 total tackles, 9 INT, 21 Kick RET, 459 yards

Wiley burst onto the football scene as a wide receiver in high school, lettering all four years. Along the way, he was recognized as the team MVP four times. After a brief stop at Michigan State, Wiley transferred to Heidelberg University. He made the switch to defensive back at Heidelberg, where the accolades continued to include first-team AFCA All-American. Wiley ended his college career with four All-OAC selections.

Maceo Matthews Jr.

Measurables: Heidelberg University, 6-0, 190

Stats: 141 REC, 2,922 yards, 40 TD

Matthews’ playing career got off to a slow start both in high school and in college. At Miami Northwest High School, he did not play at all his sophomore year, then played JV his junior year. He was unproductive his senior season, his only at the varsity level. Despite that, he managed to impress scouts from Heidelberg University at a D3 prospects camp and was offered a chance to play.

His college career would begin the way his high school career ended, seeing Matthews on the bench his entire freshman season. However, after four impressive seasons, including the COVID-shortened 2020-2021 season, Matthews left Heidelberg with the most receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in the history of the program. He would go on to sign with the Bay Area Panthers of the Indoor Football League but did not make the final roster.

Southwest Kansas Storm

Chris Platt Jr.

Measurables: Baylor University, 5-11, 172

Stats: 112 REC, 1987 yards, 12 TD

Platt was a two-sport athlete at Baylor, competing on the track team as well as football. His speed helped the 4x400m team claim the Big 12 title in 2017. It also made him a deep threat in the receiving game, with a long reception of over 75 yards in three of five seasons at Baylor. He holds the school record by appearing in 57 games over his college career. That total lands him second all-time in the nation behind K’Von Wallace of Clemson.

Platt was drafted by the New Jersey Generals in the 16th round of the 2022 draft but was released before the season began. He was brought back again by the Generals the following season but once again did not land on the active roster.

Marcell Barbee

Measurables: Texas State University, 6-1, 195

Stats: 101 REC, 1,403 yards, 16 TD

Barbee began his playing career as a two-time All-State player in Colorado. He would go on to attend Iowa Western Community College, where in two seasons, he would accumulate 52 receptions for 1,052 yards and 13 touchdowns.

His success landed him a spot at Texas State University, where he would go on to lead the team in receptions twice. He finished his time in San Marcos inside the program’s top ten in both receiving touchdowns and receptions per game.

Lashard Durr

Measurables: 5-11, 188

Stats: 36 total tackles, 1 INT

Durr has gained plenty of national attention on the football field beginning in high school. He was rated as the 16th-best prospect in Mississippi by ESPN.com. That trend would continue in junior college, where he would be named the No. 7 corner by 24/7 and No. 52 overall by Scout. During his time at Mississippi State, he appeared in 25 total games with 13 starts.

After college, Durr has spent time with the Indianapolis Colts (NFL), the Ottawa Redblacks (CFL), and the Orlando Guardians (XFL). He also has arena football experience from his time with the Massachusetts Pirates (NAL) and the Frisco Fighters (IFL).

Wichita Regulators

DeWayne Autrey II

Measurables: Bethany College, 6-1, 195

Autrey is a seasoned veteran of the arena game, having suited up for several teams in the CIF over his career. He has appeared in 71 total games with five different teams since the 2017 season. Autrey has spent time with the Dodge City Law, Sioux City Bandits, Texas Revolution, Salina Liberty, and the Topeka Tropics.

He has been a member of two championship teams in his nine seasons as a professional football player. In 2021, he helped the North Texas Bulls of the AAL win a title. The following season, he was a part of the Salina Liberty’s run at the CIF championship.

Demario Donnell

Measurables: Tennessee Tech University, 5-9, 180

Stats: 132 total tackles, 3 fumbles recovered, 1 INT, 16 passes defended

The Regulators are accumulating several experienced defensive backs on their roster, and Donnell is another one of them. His arena experience includes stints in the CIF with the Amarillo Venom and the Wichita Force. He tallied 10 interceptions and 51 tackles with the Venom, two interceptions, and 56 tackles with the Force. Donnell also played in the NAL for the Columbus Lions, where he had three interceptions, 23 tackles, and a touchdown.

His football journey also took him overseas. Donnell suited up for the Sydney Express of the Australian National Gridiron League as well as the Sraubing Spiders of the German Football League. He appeared in three games with the Spiders, racking up 30 tackles and 2 interceptions.

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