Roster Breakdown

With the season opener just 4 weeks away, the Nashville NightWatch sent out the first iteration of the 2016 roster.

On the same day that NFL free agency opened, 24 men were officially named to the opening day roster. Of those invitees, only 11 return from a season ago, providing plenty of fresh faces to the new-and-improved Nashville squad.

2016 Nashville NightWatch (* denotes returning player; ^ denotes 2016 captain)

3 Zack Avello

4 Blake Waldron*

6 Justin Moore

8 Player Pierce

9 Javier Ortiz*

10 Tyler Conger*^

11 Jake Wright*

13 Carter Rae

14 Alex Hill

15 Ray Davenport

17 Nick Peppers*

20 Adam Paicely

21 Ryan Balch

22 Paul Lally*

23 Craig Stewart^

25 Michael Venezia

30 Kyle Welch

33 Frank Strasser*

34 John Carden*

42 Andy Barnhardt*

44 Jon Meade

54 Dan Chazin

55 Tom Radcliffe*

99 Mac McClellan*

There remain 4 open spots on the roster as well.

Alongside returning standouts and All-AUDL South players Paul Lally and Tom Radcliffe, last year’s captain Andy Barnhardt, speedster Javier Ortiz, and co-“bash bro” Blake Waldron each logged over 230 points played last year and each sported a positive Offensive Efficiency coefficient in 2015.

John Carden (whom we interviewed alongside Lally here), Frank Strasser, and Jake Wright each also logged at least 100 points for last year’s team.

As we mentioned here, the roster is bringing in a lot of experience with the new players. Dan Chazin, Craig Stewart, Justin Moore, Alex Hill, and Tyler Conger have all played at national competitions either on the collegiate or club level. Player Pierce and Ray Davenport played with Stewart, Hill, and Wright on Tanasi, a team whose first iteration featured Jon Meade and was at one time one of the premier club teams in the region. Davenport brings some much-needed “relentless-ness” to the 2016 team.

Zack Avello, Carter Rae, and returning player Mac McClellan serve as the team’s youth movement, providing energy and enthusiasm to round out the NightWatch equation. In particular, Avello impressed Coach Ryan Balch at tryouts as someone who really emerged time and time again and showed he could play anywhere on the field.

“The difference between the top guy [on the roster] and the last is very marginal,” Balch espoused. “[A] high level of talent allows for a lot more consistency [and] guys could plug in at a variety of positions… Anyone could play in the top 20.”

Last weekend's training camp, the first since the official roster announcement, in the beginning, backed Balch's beliefs.