Card: Topps AAF 2019 Acquired: IP 2020, Houston Roughnecks/ Tampa Vipers Joint Practice
As the Tampa Vipers sauntered off the field from the joint practice, I caught Reggie Northup and got his autograph. He was kind enough to flag down Obum Gwacham for me. Then Reggie ribbed Obum saying to him, “I didn’t even know you had a card or played for the Hotshots!”, As they both laughed heartily. Obum played 2020 for the Tampa Vipers. After battling through injuries early on, he posted 7 tackles and a sack.
Originally a 6th round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, Obum saw stints with New Orleans (2015-2016), the Cardinals and Jets (2017), and Colts (2019). He played in 2019 for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football, posting 16 total tackles and 2 sacks in 8 games.
Gerald Christian split time with Florida(2011) and Louisville (2013-2014) with the bulk of his numbers coming while playing for the Cardinals. He finished with 64 catches for 882 yards and 10 TDs.
Christian was selected with the final pick of the 2015 NFL Draft by Arizona, and spent the entire season on IR. In 2016, he was signed by the Bills and spent the next year on and off the roster through 2017, later briefly returning to the Cardinals.
Late in 2018, Gerald signed with the Alliance of American Football Atlanta Legends. He’d later end up on the Arizona Hotshots before the season kicked off. Gerald finished the season catching 14 of 20 targets for 158 yards and a TD.
Cards: Topps AAF Certified 2019, Topps AAF 2019, Topps AAF Now 2019, Topps AAF 2019 Red Parallel (58/99) Acquired: EBay, 2020. In Person 2019, San Antonio Commanders v Arizona Hotshots TTM 2020, C/o Home Sent: 8/31 Received: 9/8 (8 days)
After the Arizona Hotshots defeated the Commanders in that final game of the AAF, many of the Hotshots stayed behind to talk to family and sign a few autographs behind the visitors side of the field. Arena staff was eager to shepherd fans out of the stadium, but I managed to haul in quite a few Hotshots including Justin. At the time, I was still one of the few fans who had their actual trading cards, and Justin hadn’t seen his base AAF card yet. He thought it was pretty awesome.
Anticipating that players might not have their cards yet, I went ahead and gave Justin the extra copy of the card I had on me that evening. Justin’s certified card is one of the few that also features an action shot him from the preseason, and he also signed the card with a thin, black ink pen, as opposed to the standard blue medium tip.
Justin played from 2014-2017 for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Over 4 years he averaged a heathy 5.8 yards per carry, and finished with 1714 yards and 14 TDs on 294 carries. He also displayed a knack for catching the ball, recording 82 receptions for 872 yards and 10 TDs.
He would be allocated to the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football after going undrafted in the 2018 NFL draft. Stockton was part of a 3 headed monster rotation alongside Tim Cook and Jhurrell Pressley. Despite this- Stockton managed to finish 11th in the league rushing for the Hotshots top flight rushing attack, with 43 carries for 233 yards and a 45 yard TD. His 45 yard TD came at an opportune time as it sparked the Hotshots to a victory over the Memphis Express earlier in the season.
After camp with the Lions, Stockton joined the XFL 2020 as a member of the New York Guardians along with former teammate Tim Cook. Justin made it count oddly, mostly, in the last game of the season against Dallas, rushing 5 times for 41 yards, had a catch for 8 yards for two points, and blew by the Renegades return unit for a 58 yard kick return. With COVID already hitting the league, the XFL shut down after week 5.
Oddly Stockton was not included in the XFL set, however, I finally got a copy of his Topps NOW card. I have been chatting with his RB coach for a while, and after helping him out with some design work, he hooked me up with the Hotshots RB corps addresses so I could get them on a few cards. Justin not only signed his Topps Now card, but I also had a red parallel he signed as well, and included a nice note- that almost felt like he was punching up, cleverly telling me, “That he always likes to run hard in San Antonio!”
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.