Houston Roughnecks Sign Three Players In UFL Free Agency \ Ja'Von Hicks

Houston Roughnecks Sign Three Players In UFL Free Agency

UFL Free Agency blew open on Friday. The Houston Roughnecks followed suit, signing three players for Training Camp:

RB Ryan Nall
TE Derrick Deese Jr.
DB Ja’Von Hicks

RB Ryan Nall

Ryan Nall brings NFL experience to the table for Houston. Nall spent a few seasons with the Chicago Bears, rushing six times for 12 total yards. He also caught nine passes for 71 yards.

With how crowded the running back room is already in Houston, it’ll be interesting to see where Ryan fits in. The team already features the likes of OPOY Mark Thompson, T.J. Pledger, Tiyon Evans, and others. That being said, Nall is a talented back in his own regard, and has been playing professionally for a reason.

Ryan Nall played his college football at Oregon State. He totaled 563 rushing yards and 4 TD’s during his career there.

TE Derrick Deese Jr.

Derrick Deese Jr. brings more depth to a tight end room that is also loaded in Houston. The Roughnecks already picked up Braedon Bowman, Woody Brandom, and Ryan Izzo during the dispersal drafts.

Now, Deese Jr. joins the fold for 2024. Derrick began his college career at Golden West Juco College, racking up 813 yards and nine touchdowns there.

Then, he moved to San Jose State, and worked his way up to being a starter down the stretch. In 2021, Deese posted 730 receiving yards and four scores.

This led to a stint with the Detroit Lions in the NFL. Deese was even featured on “Hard Knocks”, but ultimately did not make the roster. Now, he’ll look to kickstart his professional career with the Houston Roughnecks.

DB Ja’Von Hicks

Something General Manager Lionel Vital has focused on is bringing in new talent to the secondary. He’s done it throughout the entire offseason, and continued the trend by signing Ja’Von Hicks.

Hicks played his college football at Cincinnati, and was tremendous. Ja’Von is a ballhawk, totaling 10 interceptions and 197 tackles across his collegiate career.

Ja’Von Hicks earned 2022 All-AAC Second Team honors in his senior season, where he compiled 67 tackles and three interceptions.

This led to a mini-camp opportunity with the Atlanta Falcons. Hicks went unsigned, and then had a short stint in the CFL with the Edmonton Elks. Similar to Derrick Deese, Ja’Von will now look to get his professional career off the ground in the UFL.

Final Thoughts

The Houston Roughnecks are poised for success in the new United Football League. GM Vital, and HC Curtis Johnson have brought in some major pieces throughout the dispersal process, and continue to build upon their success in free agency.

A position to watch: quarterback. As it stands right now, the Roughnecks only have Kenji Bahar and Jarrett Guarantano rostered. Expect them to make at least one more move there, before free agency closes on February 14th.

What are your thoughts on Ja’Von Hicks rocking a Roughnecks uniform? Will Ryan Nall make an impact in 2024? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!