A new year brings another new football league to compete with the unstoppable machine that is the National Football League (NFL). Last year, the United States Football League (USFL) returned to prominence by ushering in a new era of "spring football." Now, the XFL, under a new ownership group including Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, is striving for success for a third time over the last 20+ years.

On one hand, the USFL and XFL don't offer the same kind of notoriety and excitement of the NFL due to the nature that the NFL courts the best of the best at every position. On the other hand, it does give a plethora of athletes a second chance at making money while playing the sport they love. It's hard not to at least tangentially support these leagues for doing that.

The 2023 XFL Draft was held in November. I took a look to see if any former Iowa or Iowa State players were picked up. Turns out, a few were!

Shaun Beyer with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Photo Credit: Steven Branscombe, Getty Images
Shaun Beyer with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Photo Credit: Steven Branscombe, Getty Images

Shaun Beyer, TE:

The first Iowa Hawkeye off the board was Shellsburg, IA native Shaun Beyer, a decorated tight end for the Hawkeyes who played from 2016 - 2020. He saw a lot of action during the 2019-20/2020-21 seasons, amassing over 200 yards and a touchdown.

Beyer was drafted by the Arlington Renegades (formerly the Dallas Renegades) in the sixth round.

Jack Koerner, DB:

Former Iowa Hawkeye defensive back and Des Moines, IA native Jack Koerner recorded more than 216 combined tackles and a forced fumble across 47 games during his college career. He also recorded six interceptions, three of which coming in three straight games in 2020. He was one of three juniors named to the 20202 Leadership group, and graduated after the 2021 season.

Koerner was drafted by the San Antonio Brahmas (one of the brand new teams in the XFL) in the eleventh round.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Oregon v Iowa State
Mike Rose with the Iowa State Cyclones. Photo Credit: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

Mike Rose, LB:

Ohio native Mike Rose played for the Iowa State Cyclones from 2018 to 2021 as a linebacker. He was named honorable mention All-Big 12 Conference after finishing his freshman season with 75 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. He was also named first-team All-Big 12 and the conference Defensive Player of the Year as a junior.

Rose spent a bit of time on the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad after going undrafted in the 2022 NFL Draft. He was drafted by the St. Louis BattleHawks (one of the most popular teams during the XFL's 2020 comeback) in the ninth round.

Willie Harvey Jr, LB:

Mike Rose will have some familiar company in the XFL. Hailing from Florida, Willie Harvey Jr. will join him on the St. Louis Battlehawks. A fellow linebacker, Harvey played for the Iowa State Cyclones from 2014 to 2018. During his college career, he was named Honorable Mention All-Big 12 three times, and was selected to participate in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January 2019.

Harvey spent time with the Cleveland Browns during the 2019 and 2021 seasons. He recorded one tackle with the Browns before being waived in August 2022. Harvey was drafted in the third round of the XFL Draft. Again, he'll join Rose on the St. Louis BattleHawks.

See the complete list of XFL players, courtesy of SI.

Iowa Born Sports Stars

What do each of these stellar athletes have in common? They all hail from the Hawkeye State.

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