Jordan Ta’amu Named 2023 XFL Offensive Player of the Year | DC Defenders

Analyzing The DC Defenders Quarterback Room For 2024

With the dust settled on the major resigning of QB Jordan Ta’amu to the DC Defenders, it’s time to breakdown and discuss his previous, and potential impact on the 2024 season. New arrivals to DC, Jalan McClendon and Deondre Francois, will also be a topic of discussion. All three quarterbacks on DC’s roster played in the XFL last season, with Ta’amu obviously having the most success with an Offensive Player of the Year award and XFL Championship appearance.

Last season, DC began the year with Jordan Ta’amu, D’Eriq King, and Eric Dungey in the QB room. Only 1/3 will be returning, but Ta’amu is indescribably important to this offense and potential success of this team.

QB Jordan Ta’amu

To any spring football fans out there, Jordan Ta’amu is a name that is all too familiar. The Hawaii native finished his star-studded 2023 campaign with 1,878 passing yards, along with 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions. On the ground, he added three touchdowns.

Last season, Ta’amu led DC to a league-best 9-1 record, with their only loss being to the 1-9 Orlando Guardians week seven in a shootout. A game that many considered the XFL ‘Game of the Year’. Nonetheless, Ta’amu’s control of the offense in 2023 was a masterclass on display, even with some inconsistency in snaps when the two-quarterback system was used with King. A topic that will undoubtedly be under frequent discussion during training camp and heading into this season with McClendon and Francois.

As mentioned, Jordan Ta’amu signing back to the DC Defenders is significant considering his previous success. Expect Ta’amu to be the starter throughout camp and entering week one against San Antonio.

QB Jalan McClendon

Jalan McCledon was thrusted into the starting position for the Vegas Vipers last season after Luis Perez was traded to Arlington and Brett Hundley struggled mightily. McClendon became a very intriguing prospect, especially towards the tail end of the XFL season. Though his team floundered, McClendon continued to show flashes of brilliance through his reign as starter for Vegas.

McClendon finished the year with 873 passing yards, along with five touchdowns and only one interception (four starts). McClendon also showed off his wheels with 137 yards in limited time.

Jalan McClendon’s end goal/outlook on 2024 is obviously to be the starting quarterback, but with Ta’amu’s return that appears less likely. Do not be shocked if we see McClendon asked to use his legs more often this season, considering the type of role D’Eriq King served in 2023 for the DC Defenders. In college, McClendon never went over 35 carries in a season. Last season for Vegas, he had 30 attempts in just four starts, so expect to see more of that in DC.

QB Deondre Francois

Francois’s spring football journey has been an interesting one to say the least. After a college career that included starting at Florida State and later transferring to Hampton, Francois found his way to The Spring League (TSL) where he played in 2021. This past season, Francois played for the Orlando Guardians and was a small part of one of the biggest stories to come out of the XFL: Quinten Dormady leaking playbooks.

Besides the off-field drama, Francois played in five games for Orlando last season with one start. He finished the season 20/39 with three touchdowns, and three interceptions. On the ground, he added 54 yards on ten attempts.

Francois will face an uphill battle in training camp, but he should be given the opportunity to compete for the QB2 job with McClendon. Francois will need a strong camp either way, as other quarterbacks around the league will be released during the process and DC will do their due diligence…

Final Thoughts

Jordan Ta’amu will be entering training camp on February 24th as the presumed starter for the Defenders, as he should.

The real competition to watch for will be between Jalan McClendon and Deondre Francois for QB2. D’Eriq King served a pivotal role in Fred Kaiss’ offense last season, and had major success in situational areas, specifically the red zone. When comparing both quarterbacks to King, Francois is more compatible with size, but McClendon’s overall style and ability to extend plays with his legs may give him the edge over Francois. Only time will tell, but all fans should have their eye on this backup quarterback competition.

As training camp approaches quickly with coaches reporting on the 19th, and players on the 23rd-24th, things are about to heat up in Texas.

What are your thoughts on the DC Defenders quarterback situation for 2024? Is Jordan Ta’amu the surefire starter? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

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