It didn’t take long for Keith Evans to start tracking down several of his former players after the Kent Predators hired him this month as coach.
Evans has signed at least four players who played under him last year in Wenatchee to join Kent’s Indoor Football League team, which is now in its second year. The Predators open the 2011 season Feb. 25 at the ShoWare Center.
Evans coached the Wenatchee Venom of the American Indoor Football Association last year before the team let him go. Wenatchee has joined the IFL this season.
“Most of my players stuck with me,” said Evans, who was hired by Kent earlier this month.
The Predators have signed 38 players and can bring up to 45 players to training camp when it opens in a couple of weeks. The IFL requires teams to cut to 30 players after one week of camp. Teams can carry 30 players on the roster during the season and suit up 21 for each game.
More than 40 players competed in a Predators tryout Jan. 15 at French Field in Kent. About eight of those players are expected to be invited to camp with a shot at making the team. Evans said he is still searching for a training-camp site, but hopes to be able to use French Field.
Players are paid $225 per game. The 14-game season starts Feb. 25 and goes through June 12.
Evans expects some of his former Wenatchee players to play key roles in Kent, including quarterback Devin Hollins, defensive back Courtney Miller, receiver Maurice Bryant and offensive lineman Ryan Pahua.
Hollins will challenge returning Predators quarterback Charles McCullum for playing time. Hollins was a reserve quarterback at Arkansas State in 2004 and 2005 after a standout career at West Los Angeles Junior College, where he broke several school records held by NFL Hall of Famer Warren Moon, the former University of Washington quarterback.
“Devin brings a lot to the table and that will make for good competition at quarterback,” Evans said.
Miller played at the University of Oregon from 1999 to 2002 and has six years of indoor football experience. Bryant spent two years on the Tennessee Titans NFL practice squad after playing at the University of Houston. He also played in the former Arena Football League.
Pahua is a 380-pound lineman who played at Utah State and has five years of indoor football experience, Evans said.
The Predators also have signed receiver Mike Bush, the former Washington State University starting receiver in 2002 and 2001. Bush most recently played semipro football for the Puget Sound Titans.
“I think we have a lot of talent signed,” Evans said. “We have the talent to play with anybody. I’m excited about our opportunity to compete.”
For season tickets, call the Predators at 253-236-5568 or go to www.kentpredators.net. Season tickets are available from $252 to $96.
For individual game tickets, go to www.showarecenter.com. Single-game tickets range from $14.50 to $42.