Top defensive players to watch in Spain’s LNFA this 2024 season

Spain’s Liga Nacional de Fútbol Americano (LNFA) has the annual honor of kicking off the American football circuit on the European scene. This year, 10 teams from all over the country battle it out for a championship. Spain brings an interesting flavor to the European scene as the talent on the field is typically an interesting mix of domestic talent, American imports, a few European talents, and of course several Mexican players taking their talents across the ocean.

With that being said the 2024 season features an intriguing cast of players to keep an eye on not only for the LNFA season in Spain, but also beyond as many of these players are expected to play elsewhere in Europe or line up for one of Spain’s European League of Football teams this summer.

This week we’ll look at the defensive players to watch this season:

Defensive Line:

Johnny Escobar – Osos Rivas

To regular viewers of the LNFA this comes as no surprise, as Escobar has been terrorizing quarterbacks for several years in the LNFA. The Mexican talent typically plays both ways for the Osos Rivas but saves his best for his time as a defensive end. The former Aguilas Blancas IPN captain is also a coach for the Osos Rivas Women’s football team.  

Benjamin Banks Egbudiwe – Badalona Dracs

The Swedish veteran defensive lineman brings a lot of experience to Badalona’s defensive line as the 31-year-old has earned several all-star honors playing in both Sweden and Finland during his career. Last season he played in Spain as a member of the Barcelona Dragons (ELF) notching 1 sack and 18 tackles. Apparently, he took a liking to Spain as he’s decided to stay and play for the Dracs this season. 


Victor Villaca – L’Hospitalet Pioners

The Brazilian talent looks to make a splash on the Spanish football scene after several all-star seasons in the competitive American football scene in his home country. Last year he played in the Austrian Football League where he made 35 tackles and 5 sacks for the Telfs Patriots. Look for Villaca to make a big impact on the Pioners defense this season.

Devon Cathcart – Badalona Dracs

Cathhart was a standout at Lincoln University (NCAA DII) before taking his talents to Spain this year. The Chicago native had over 200 tackles and three interceptions in his career at Lincoln. This production didn’t go unnoticed as he made 1st team all-conference three straight seasons. At 6’2, 205-pounds he brings an impressive mix of size and speed to the Dracs second level. 

Defensive Backs

Nolan Corpening – Las Rozas Black Demons

Corpening is back in Spain and looking to make a run at the title this team with the Black Demons. The former NCCU (NCAA DII) speedster has been a force in the international game as a defensive back, receiver, and kick returner. Previously Corpening has played for the Barbera Rookies in Spain along with his twin brother. He also has all-star honors from Finland, Serbia, and the Czech Republic under his belt. He is back in Spain straight after a national championship in Brazil this past fall. 

Ronald Tomasello – Osos Rivas

Running back, defensive back, whatever, whenever. Tomasello brings toughness, grit, and quick-twitch athleticism to the field as a hard-hitting defensive back. The former Ball State Rugby standout still plays with the same grit and can be used all over the field for the Osos Rivas. Tomasello is back in Madrid for unfinished business as he and the Osos Rivas fell just short in the championship game last season. 

Andy Vera – Osos Rivas

Vera is a staple of the Spanish National team secondary. He is back for another season with the Osos Rivas. Vera was a 2021 ELF All-Star and has played the last three seasons for the Barcelona Dragons making six interceptions and 70 tackles in those seasons. 

Jeremiah Guiterrez – Badalona Dracs

Guiterrez has embraced his role on the Dracs defense this season after joining them midseason in 2023. The Former Chadron State player is a versatile piece in the Badalona secondary and can be counted on to take away the opponent’s top target as well as fill in well in the run game.

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and