The Raiders have signed several players as they continue to add to the preseason roster, which now numbers 15. Seven returning players will provide experience and depth on both sides of the ball, and two newcomers will challenge for gameday spots in 2013.
Maurice Thorne (North Carolina Wesleyan) is an original Raider who will return for his fourth season at cornerback. In 2012, he had four interceptions, good for eighth in the PIFL, and returned two picks for touchdowns to tie for the league lead. Thorne led the PIFL in passes defended with 22, was eighth in the league in total tackles with 40.0, and ninth in tackles per game with 3.6. His game high 7.5 tackles in the first game of 2012 led to his being named PIFL Defensive Player of the Week. Thorne is a Richmond area native, starring at Hopewell High School and leading the Blue Devils to a state championship in 2003.
Brandon Grier (Virginia State) helped to anchor the Raiders’ offensive line in 2012, starting all 14 games. He was named to the All-PIFL second team as part of a front three that allowed just 15 sacks all season. Grier often reported eligible as the tight end, and caught three touchdown passes among his 10 receptions for 75 yards.
Pierre Lee (Virginia State) came on strong in the second half of 2012 and made big contributions in the defensive backfield to the Raiders’ playoff run. He had three interceptions and finished in the top 20 in the league in total tackles, despite playing just eight games. He was named PIFL Defensive Player of the Week on June 2 thanks to his two interceptions and an additional pass broken up. Lee has extensive previous arena experience and spent time with the New York Jets. He played at Thomas Dale High School in Chesterfield.
Brandon Sutton (Catawba) proved to be a dominating force on the defensive line, leading the team with nine QB hurries and tying for second with 6.5 tackles for a loss. He registered 2.5 sacks, recovered two fumbles – both for touchdowns – and blocked two kicks (one PAT and one field goal). Sutton was a second team All-PIFL selection.
Hakeem Moore (Towson) caught on with the Raiders in game four and quickly became a deep threat at wide receiver. He played in seven regular season games and both playoff games in 2012, catching 35 passes for 530 yards and seven TDs. He set single game team records with 12 receptions and 172 yards and tied the team record with five touchdowns in the May 11 win over Alabama, and was named PIFL Offensive Player of the Week. Before coming to the Raiders, Moore was a member of the Baltimore Ravens.
T.C. Stevens (Hampden-Sydney) was as dependable a kicker as could be found in indoor football in 2012. He made 83 percent of his extra points, went 14 of 29 on field goals (including 10 of 16 within 30 yards), and notched 19 unos, including at least one in every game until the championship tilt. Stevens led all PIFL kickers with 140 points and led the league in extra points attempted and made en route to earning first team All-PIFL honors. He was also selected the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week three times.
Gerron “Scooby” Bryant (Catawba) was a late addition to the Raiders’ wide receiving corps in 2012 who made strides on the practice squad and dressed for the regular season finale against Albany. He was a college teammate – and roommate – of fellow Raider Brandon Sutton.
Kevin Allen (Virginia State) is a versatile defender who can play on the edge or at Jack linebacker. He participated with the Raiders’ reserve squad in 2012 but did not crack the game roster. Another local Richmond product, Allen was a first team All-Metro player with Highland Springs High School in 2005.
Raibonne Charles (Maine) is an indoor rookie looking to contribute at linebacker. An All-CAA selection and team captain at the University of Maine, Charles had 47 tackles and two sacks his senior season helping lead the Black Bears to the NCAA FCS quarterfinals. He started 42 games during his college career and led the team with seven tackles his final game.
Players wishing to join the Raiders in 2013 are invited to the team’s open tryouts October 20 at the Richmond Coliseum. Registration begins at 2:30 pm and costs $55 the day of, or $50 in advance by signing up online at www.RichmondRaidersProFootball.com.
See these players and many more in action when the 2013 season begins on March 16 as the Raiders host the Charlotte Speed! The Raiders will play all their home games at the Richmond Coliseum. Season tickets start as low as $30, and are available on the Raiders’ website, www.RichmondRaidersProFootball.com, or by calling 804-780-0430. Again this year the Raiders will play in the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) and will look to take the next step after falling short in the championship game last year.