Marquise Irvin and Marcell Barbee Join the AFL

The Arena Football League fans will see in 2024 is a "new" version of the league, but there are plenty of familiar faces as well. While some players will be brand new to the game, team rosters will be full of established producers who have put up impressive stats in the past, making the league's teams competitive from Day One. And some of those rookies will end up being stars in the indoor game, providing their teams with a needed boost alongside the veterans. Whether it be a storied college career, previous versions of the AFL, or other indoor football leagues, these athletes have established themselves as consistent passers, receivers, and scorers over the years. Here are just a couple of them:

  • Marquise Irvin, WR/DB, Nashville Kats
  • Mercer (2018) - 6-3, 215 pounds
  • Pro Stats (2 Seasons): 21 games, 78 catches, 906 yards, 13 touchdowns

Irvin was a standout at Mercer University, never missing a start and logging a 175-2,325-18 stat line for the Bears, earning all-conference honors multiple times. He set the school record for receiving yards in a single season...and then broke his own record in his senior year. Irvin signed with the Tucson Sugar Skulls of the Indoor Football League with the hopes of contributing immediately. Unfortunately, an Achilles tear cut short his rookie season and forced him to miss the following season as well. Heading into 2023, Irvin signed with the IFL's Green Bay Blizzard for an opportunity to prove himself and re-establish a dominating receiving presence, this time in a professional setting. And this time, finally healthy, Irvin delivered.

His 71-886-16 stat line not only earned him All-IFL Second Team honors, but his touchdowns were a top-10 mark in the league last season. In addition, the team named him their Offensive Player of the Year, cementing his status as a powerful weapon for any indoor team. And this year, that team will be the Nashville Kats of the new Arena Football League. Irvin will be a popular name for both fans and opposing defensive coordinators in 2024.

  • Marcell Barbee, WR, Southwest Kansas Storm
  • Texas State (2022) - 6-1, 195 Pounds
  • College Stats: 101 Catches, 1403 Yards, 16 touchdowns

Can a rookie make an impact on a team despite being new to the indoor game? It looks like Barbee has the potential to become one of those rookies. He certainly showed off his talents at his first college stop, Iowa Western Community College. A two-time all-state selection in high school, Barbee made the most of his time at the community college, where he went 52-1,042-13. From there he went to Texas State University, where his 101-1,403-16 stat line in 32 games made him a two-time all-conference selection. He left the Bobcats with his name in their record books, finishing in the school's all-time top 10 in both in receptions and touchdowns.

The Southwest Kansas Storm is new to the Arena Football League, having spent its first two seasons in Champions Indoor Football, where they posted records of 5-5 and 3-7. But they're quietly building a strong roster for their AFL debut, and Barbee is shaping up to be one of the weapons they'll be using to make their inaugural AFL season memorable.