Three former Dukes selected on day one of XFL Draft

Three former James Madison football players were selected on day one of the XFL Draft.
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STAMFORD, Conn. – Former James Madison All-American Rashard Davis was selected by the DC Defenders with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 XFL Draft and a total of three Dukes were picked on the opening day of the two-day draft event.

Following Davis, wide receiver Ishmael Hyman was an eighth-round pick of the skilled-players portion of the draft, as he was taken 59th overall by the St. Louis BattleHawks. The BattleHawks later selected defensive end Andrew Ankrah, who was picked in the third round and 18th overall in the defensive front seven part of the draft.

Davis was a four-year letter winner from 2013-16, playing in 50 games for the Dukes. He finished his career with 114 receptions for 1,549 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also had four punt returns for a touchdown, all in 2016 to lead the nation. A 2016 Colonial Athletic Association Special Teams Player of the Year, he was a First Team All-American by STATS, Walter Camp and HERO Sports while earning Second Team honors from the AP in his senior campaign.

After his JMU career, he spent two seasons on NFL practice squads, winning a Super Bowl as a rookie with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017 and spending the 2018 year with the Oakland Raiders. Prior to being drafted into the XFL, Davis was part of the Kansas City Chiefs’ preseason roster.

Hyman, who played for the Dukes from 2014-17, was one of JMU's top deep-threat targets. In 48 career games, he made 72 receptions for 1,061 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had a career average of 14.7 yards per reception. As a senior in 2017, Hyman made 29 catches for 408 yards and four touchdowns.

Prior to being drafted, Hyman spent time on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad and was part of the preseason roster for the Cleveland Browns. Last spring, he played for the Orlando Apollos in the Alliance of American Football. In his five games in Orlando, he tallied four catches for 60 yards, including a long of 23.

Ankrah was a standout for the Dukes from 2013-17, which included being a two time All-American (2015, 2017). He won the 2017 FCS Athletics Directors Association Defensive Player of the Year award and was second runner-up for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award. A Consensus First Team All-American as a senior, Ankrah finished his career with 177 total tackles, to go with 36.0 tackles for loss, 26.0 sacks, eight forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He ranks fourth all-time at JMU in career sacks and was a three-time First Team All-CAA honoree.

Over the last year, Ankrah has had stints both in the NFL and AAF. Ankrah was a preseason roster member with the Washington Redskins and played last spring for the AAF’s Orlando Apollos. In his eight games down in Orlando, he tallied 14 tackles and three sacks, helping the Apollos to an AAF-best 7-1 record.

Additionally, former JMU Head Coach Mickey Matthews is on the coaching staff with the Dallas Renegades, where he serves as defensive quality control coach and outside linebackers coach.

Day two of the XFL Draft resumes Wednesday with the 10-round defensive backfield portion, followed by the open draft, in which any player at any position can be selected until the teams’ roster are completed. The draft pool includes approximately 1,000 professional football players.