Coming off what’s hopefully their get-right 17-9 win over the Arlington Renegades, the Houston Roughnecks are bolstering their active roster. They’re playing the team-to-beat in Week 5, and the Birmingham Stallions are yet again undefeated in spring football. With news that Adrian Martinez is starting for Skip Holtz under center, they’ll have to bring their A-game and compete this weekend. The Stallions’ listing of featured running back CJ Marable as inactive will likely mean this will be a pass-happy offense.

With 7 players on their inactives list, the team made some moves to bring up guys who’ve just recently been brought into the fold.

Curtis Johnson has moved two defenders up to the active roster. Alabama standout edge defender Christopher Allen, and CB Jai-Nunn Liddell out of Bowling Green/Kentucky State.

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Christopher Allen played out a reserve role with the Crimson Tide his first two seasons, and exploded on the scene in the SEC his Junior year with 13 tackles for loss and 6 sacks in Nick Saban’s defense. He was named All-SEC and was projected to have a big senior year and draft stock, but suffered a freak broken foot during a strip-sack of D’Eriq King early in the year.

He signed with the Denver Broncos as a UDFA in 2022, and healed up on Injured Reserve for a year before being let go ahead of the 2023 season. He’s now made his way to the UFL and will look to make an impact on defense alongside 2022 DPOY Chris Odom in the pass rush.

I’m excited about this move, and he’s a high upside prospect who could really help bring the heat.


Defensive Back Jai-Nunn Liddell signed with the Gamblers last season, so he’s a known commodity to Curtis Johnson. He is a bit of a raw prospect, as he rostered at Troy and Bowling Green without much play time, before making an impact at Kentucky State in HBCU ball his last year in college with 16 tackles and an interception in 2022. He was also selected to the 2023 HBCU Legacy Bowl, and turned enough heads there to earn a Rookie Minicamp spot with the Baltimore Ravens.

Coach Johnson said “Liddell’s playing well…moving well as a big corner, I love to see him press but the one thing about Liddell man, is he’s a special teams demon.” Corn Elder and Kiondre Thomas have been making good plays at corner, and Liddell may move into a nickel or dime role here, but having a special teams ace is going to be important as they tighten up that phase of the game moving forward.

At 6’2″ 190 pounds, Liddell has the size and tools needed to make an impact here, and we’ll see how his role develops.

author avatar
Matthew Nagashima
Matt Nagashima has been covering Spring Football with News Hub since the XFL's 2019 Draft, and received Press Credentials to cover the Dallas Renegades in 2020. He has also covered the NFL with Pro Football Doc, and received his Bachelor of Arts in History from Colorado State University.

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