The San Diego Fleet made three additions to their roster on Thursday.
Offensive lineman Ben Huss was the first of these three moves. A four-year starter in Duquesne, Huss is probably the best o-lineman in Duquesne history and might be the program’s greatest player ever. He earned All-Conference first team honors three times and was named an FCS third team All-American twice.
Huss became the first player in Duquesne football history to participate in the NFLPA collegiate bowl, but did ultimately go undrafted in the 2018 NFL draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars invited Huss to attend rookie mini-camp, but he did not go further with the team from there.
For me, Huss is an interesting prospect. He only stands at 6’2″, which is a tad bit undersized to play the guard position. Huss has a good frame, weighing in at 310 pounds, but he is a limited athlete and is easily beaten on the inside by blitzes.
An interesting idea in regard to Huss would be moving him over to the center position. The Fleet is extremely thin at the position and this may be his best chance to solidify himself a roster spot if the transition is smooth. This proposition is probably unlikely, but it’s something to keep your eyes on.
The next player the Fleet brought in is former Minnesota Gopher defensive back, Damarius Travis. In his career at Minnesota, Travis recorded 189 tackles, four interceptions, 13 pass deflections, and forced one fumble. He started all 13 games his senior season and was a rotational player prior to his final season.
Travis did attend the NFL combine following his senior season but would ultimately go undrafted. The New England Patriots did sign him to their practice squad, where he would go up against some of the best offensive players in the league on a daily basis.
Primarily a safety at Minnesota, Travis has ideal size for the position. He stands at a lanky 6’2″ and weighs in at about 206 pounds, giving him a respectable stature. He’s incredibly physical, as Travis has no problem laying a big hit on someone. On top of his physicality, he’s a great tackler that makes the basic and necessary tackles.
From a technique standpoint, Travis is an excellent player. However, he does lack athleticism and this may limit his abilities on the football field. He does not move well laterally and does not have the great recovery speed to make up ground down the field. His combine numbers were not impressive at all, as Travis posted a 32.5″ vertical and only put up 13 reps on the bench press. At his Minnesota pro day, he ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, which is not ideal at all.
In my opinion, this is a great signing for the Fleet. The team is relatively thin at the position, outside of Na’im McGee, and this may turn out to be a sneaky good signing that may ultimately pan out.
The final player signed by the Fleet is former Pittsburgh Panther punter Ryan Winslow. While this is not the “sexiest” of signings, Winslow did have a good career at Pittsburgh and could challenge Sam Irwin-Hill for the starting punter job.
In college, Winslow was a four-year starter and was a first-team All-ACC selection as a senior. He led the conference in average yards per punt, 44.5, in his senior season. Winslow was not drafted, as most punters are not, but did spend some time in training camp with the Chicago Bears in 2018 before getting cut.
Irwin-Hill and Winslow averaged basically the same yards per punt for their collegiate careers, so this may be an interesting competition going on in training camp. Ultimately, it will come down to whichever of the two is better at pinning opponents inside the 20-yard line and getting good air time on their punts.
This signing may also be corresponding news to an injury that Irwin-Hill suffered, although the Fleet has not come out and said anything about it. It’s unusual for a team to bring in an extra punter when the current one has performed well thus far. If this is not the case, however, the Fleet will likely only carry one of these two players on their 53-man roster.