Former Orange guard Andrew Tiller, defensive back Jordan Martin and wide receiver Jamal Custis were selected in the inaugural XFL Draft.
Held over the past two days via conference call, the draft featured a pool of more than 1,000 players. Picks were announced via social media and players were allocated in four, 10-round phases separated by position groups. The fifth phase was a 30-round open draft. Prior to the start of the draft, one quarterback was assigned to each of the league’s eight teams.
Tiller was taken on Tuesday afternoon with the fifth pick in the fourth round of Phase 2 (No. 29 overall) by the Tampa Bay Vipers. Martin was selected Wednesday by the Seattle Dragons with the sixth pick in the seventh round of Phase 4 (No. 54 overall). Custis was chosen during Phase 5 by the DC Defenders.
Tiller played three seasons (2009-11) for the Orange, earning All-BIG EAST First Team honors in 2011. He paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher each season (Delone Carter, 2009-10; Antwon Bailey, 2011). A Brentwood, N.Y. native, Tiller played in 35 games during his Syracuse career and started all 25 games over his final two seasons.
Following his collegiate career, Tiller was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL draft. Including the Saints, he went on to spend time with five NFL teams in seven years, most notably the San Francisco 49ers. Tiller played in 28 games (14 starts) for the 49ers from 2014-16. Most recently, he competed for the Orlando Apollos of the Alliance of American Football (AAF).
A graduate transfer from the University of Toledo, Martin played in eight games, starting five at free safety, for the Orange in 2017. He carded 25 tackles, three pass breakups and one forced fumble before undergoing season-ending surgery on his wrist. In 2019, Martin was a starter for the AAF’s San Diego Fleet making 17 tackles and intercepting one pass in eight games. He signed with the Minnesota Vikings in April and was later released.
Custis led Syracuse with 906 yards on 51 catches and six touchdowns to earn All-ACC Second Team honors as a senior in 2018. In 40 career games for the Orange, Custis had 64 receptions for 1,048 yards and eight scores. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs following the 2019 NFL Draft.
The XFL, which was disbanded in 2001 after one season, is set to begin play again in the spring of 2020. In addition to the Vipers, Dragons and Defenders, the league includes five more teams – the Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, New York Guardians and St. Louis Battlehawks.