Turkish League of American Football kicks off 2019 season

The Turkish League of American  Football kicks off its 2019 season Sunday, April 7 with eight teams in the hunt for the title that the Koc Rams have won for the past three years.

Along with the Koc Rams, the ITU Hornets, Bogazici Sultans, Uludag Timsahlar, Anadolu Rangers, ODTÜ Falcons, Gazi Warriors, and the Sakarya Tatankalari will all compete.

ITU Hornets (2018: 4-3)

The Istanbul Technical University Hornets were close to making the playoffs in Turkey in 2018, winning their final two games of the season. They have signed OL/DL Giuliano Cattaneo from Texas State University and will be looking to reach the semifinals for the second time in their history.

Koc Rams (2018: 9-0 Champions)

Winners of the past xx titles in Turkey, the Rams are gearing up to challenge again. They have re-signed quarterback David Whipple and brought in Darius Lewis and running back Josh Quezada. Talented Serbian WR  Strahinja Stepovic  has also joined the team along with a number of other key additions. Head coach Saygun Ofluoglu who helped found the team, will have another powerhouse.

Bogazici Sultans (2018: 5-4, Finalists)

The Sultans are returning to prominence after a couple of years of mediocrity and reached the final in 2018, losing to the Rams. This year, they have beefed up their offensive and defensive lines with the signing of Michael Brehon (Western Connecticut State) along with WR/DB Demichael Jackson,  (Southeast Missouri State University).

Uludag Timsahlar (2018: 1-6)

With only one win in 2018 (and that was a forfeit) the Timsahlar have nowhere to go but up and to do that they have signed a pair of imports. LB Colten Hoots (Trinity Bible College) and WR Rashaad Shamburger (Hastings College) have joined the team.

Uludag is an unknown quantity right now, so anything can happen.

Anadolu Rangers (2018: 2-5)

The Rangers in their first season in the top league in Turkey, suffered through a 2-5 season, only really managing to beat one team, the lowly Uludag Timsahlar with the other victory coming on a forfeit. They will be looking to improve in 2019.

ODTÜ Falcons (2018:6-2 Semifinalists)

The ODTU Falcons enjoyed their best season in the Turkish league since 2012 last year until they were eliminated in the semifinals by the Sultans a team they had beaten during the regular season. To help them reach the final, which they have never done, they have signed offensive help. WR Exavier Edwards (Midland University) has signed on along with WR/RB Cam Jackson (The Citadel).

Gazi Warriors (New to the league)

The Gazi Warriors are returning to the top league in Turkey after a one year absence. The team finished winless in 2017 and dropped out for 2018.

The Warriors will be in tough in 2019.

Sakarya Tatankalari (2018: 4-4 Semifinalists)

The Sakarya Tatankalari reached the semifinals in 2018 where they were bounced by the Koc Rams. They advanced all the way to the final in 2017 and the Rams downed them for the title. To help get past their nemesis, they have signed QB Dom Hilt, DB/WR Leondre Simmon (Williams College) as well as British WR/DB James Webb (Canterbury Christ Church University) and Brazilian LB Ed Flavio Santos.

The Tatankalari will again challenge for a playoff spot, but without an import QB they may find it tough again to get past the Rams.

Graphics: Igor Lazarevic

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