The first week of the new XFL is in the books, and it was a rather successful weekend. The new rules made the games interesting, the all-access parts of the broadcast were entertaining and there appears to be a couple of budding stars that piqued the interest of viewers.
The XFL has an award called the "Star of the Week," and it's decided by fans voting on the XFL's Twitter page. The winner will apparently be named every Tuesday night.
This week, two quarterbacks made the cut: P.J. Walker of the Houston Roughnecks and Jordan Ta'amu of the St. Louis BattleHawks. Let's take a look at what both players did in their first XFL games and where both of them came from.
QB P.J. Walker, Houston Roughnecks
Walker is currently the XFL's leading passer, as he completed 59 percent of his passes for 272 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in the Roughnecks' 37-17 victory over the Los Angeles Wildcats on Saturday. At one point, the Roughnecks were down 17-12, but Walker helped Houston score 25 unanswered points to record a victory in front of the home fans.
"The game was different, just being out there," Walker said after the game. "I thought I did well, gotta be better, trust my eyes. The two-a-days really paid off."
All four of his touchdown passes went to different wideouts, and he completed at least one pass to eight different receivers. It's early, but Walker appears to be one of the best signal callers in the league.
Walker attended Temple University, where he found success under current Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule. In 2016, Walker passed for 3,295 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He left Temple as the all-time leader in pass attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes and total offense.
Walker would end up going undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, but was signed by the Indianapolis Colts. He spent two years on the Colts' practice squad and was released last August.
Now, just one week into this new opportunity with the XFL, Walker has a chance to be one the league's first stars with the Star of the Week award.. Sure, it's only been one game, but it was certainly an impressive performance offensively from this group.
QB Jordan Ta'amu, St. Louis BattleHawks
Ta'amu helped the BattleHawks pull off the upset of the week, as they took down the Dallas Renegades, 15-9. The Renegades were the favorite to win the first XFL championship, but it's worth mentioning that they had to take the field on Sunday without starting quarterback Landry Jones, who was out nursing an injury. That shouldn't take anything away from the BattleHawks' performance on offense, however, as they were affective both on the ground and through the air.
Ta'amu completed 74 percent of his passes for 209 yards and one touchdown, and also rushed nine times for a total of 77 yards. He showed off his potential as a true dual-threat quarterback, and he could end up being one of the more entertaining players in this league.
The Ole Miss product broke the all-time school record for 400-yard passing games during his time in Oxford, and finished his career ranking sixth all-time in program history with 5,600 passing yards. During his senior season in 2018, he also rushed for 342 yards and six touchdowns.
Ta'amu ended up going undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, but got a chance with the Houston Texans and passed for 50 yards and one interception in three preseason games. He was released ahead of the regular season.
While many teams relied on the passing game in Week 1, the BattleHawks asserted their will on the ground. Matt Jones was the XFL's leading rusher with 85 yards on 21 carries, and he and Ta'amu could end up being somewhat of an offensive dynamic duo moving forward.