NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Kats kick off their inaugural training camp on Saturday at Lipscomb Academy with 35 players reporting and vying for 25 roster spots.

“We have assembled a very talented and competitive roster as training camp opens,” Kats head coach Dean Cokinos said. “It takes unique skills to play each of the eight positions on the field in arena football, and we have quality depth at every position. They are a talented bunch.

Training camp will consist of 14 practice days starting Saturday and running through April 20. The Kats open the season on Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. versus the Minnesota Myth at historic Municipal Auditorium in downtown Nashville.

“The start of training camp is essentially the start of a new football season,” said Jeff Fisher, Partner and President of Football Operations and former Titans and Rams head coach. “Coach Dean has assembled a very talented group. There is nothing like that first day on the field for the first time at training camp.” 

The roster leans heavily on players with area and regional ties, including former Tennessee DL Ja’Quain Blakely, Vanderbilt OL Saige Young, Tennessee Tech WR Dontez Byrd, Western Kentucky DBs Trae Meadows and Ta’Corian Darden, Austin Peay DLs Damion Barber and Blake Mitchell, UT Martin DB Jay Woods and Tennessee State OL Robert Lacey, the team’s first signee

Other roster notables include former Baylor and Liberty quarterback Charlie Brewer, Texas A&M DL Zay Henderson, Auburn OL Darius James, LSU DB/LB Xavier Lewis, Ole Miss DB Derrick Jones, West Virginia DL Ezekial Rose, Washington OL/DL James Atoe and Utah WR Jaylen Dixon.

Kats wide receiver Marquise Irvin has been named one of two Arena Football League players to receive the league’s inaugural “Gamebreaker” designation.

The honor goes to players who enter the league with a depth of quality experience and production on both the professional and collegiate levels and are projected to be possible stars in the new AFL.

A former multiple all-conference performer at Mercer and native of Huntsville, Ala., Irvin (6-3, 215) set the program record in receiving yards in a season as a junior to only break his own record the following season as a senior with 816 yards.

The Kats will play 10 regular-season games this season with five home games at historic Municipal Auditorium in downtown Nashville. The season opener versus the Minnesota Myth is slated for Saturday, April 27. The Kats also play the Georgia Force on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 18 at the new F&M Bank Arena in downtown Clarksville.

To help lead the return of the Nashville Kats and the Arena Football League to the Music City, the Kats tabbed Cokinos as Head Coach and Vice President of Football Operations.

Cokinos was an assistant coach from 2005-07 for the prior Nashville Kats’ team under head coach Pat Sperduto. After moving on from the Kats, he later coached the Georgia Force, New Orleans VooDoo, Alabama Vipers and the Alabama Hammers. As a head coach, Cokinos boasts two League Championships, five Conference Championships, seven Semi-Final appearances and 13 playoff appearances.

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