Blake Sims was Alabama’s starting quarterback in 2014. Starting all 14 contests, he was 252 of 391 for 3,487 yards and 28 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He also ran 78 times for 350 yards and 7 TDs. Blake was not selected in the 2015 NFL Draft and teams tried to pigeonhole him in at another position other than quarterback. Sims headed north to the Canadian Football League. There he was on the roster of both the Argonauts and the Roughriders during the 2015 season.
Blake then took his skills to an unusual destination: Australia. He was going to play for the Wollongong Devils of the National Gridiron League- but the league never got off the ground in 2016, so he returned to the United States and signed with the Falcons and spent time on their practice squad before ultimately ending his season on the practice squad of the Bucs.
After he was waived by the Bucs, Sims eventually signed with the Alliance of American Football. He was assigned to the Birmingham Iron and then later re-selected by the team with their second round pick during the QB Draft. Unfortunately he’d be injured and subsequently waived by the team before taking a regular season snap.
Max Redfield played safety for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from 2013-2015. Over his 3 years he totaled 143 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions and 3 pass deflections.
He’d be dismissed from the team in 2016 for violating team rules a second time- specifically possession of an unlicensed handgun and marijuana possession. Redfield enrolled Indiana University -of Pennsylvania. He had a solid season in 2017 for the Crimson Hawks with 78 total tackles, 4 interceptions, 9 pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. A traditional ‘in the box’ safety- Redfield is a sure tackler and solid athlete who can chase down ball carriers while making his home close to the line of scrimmage. He wasn’t selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Redfield made the best of his situation and became one of the stars of the Iron defense. The Iron were well disciplined. Coached by former NFL DB Tim Lewis- they were excellent at keeping opposing offenses in front of them and not giving up big plays or chunk yardage. Starting 7 games Max had a pick, 34 total tackles, and a forced fumble.
After the AAF folded, Max was drafted by the Washington Defenders of the XFL- but he opted to not sign with the league citing the XFL’s poor pay structure. Max wanted to do some travelling, and opted to play for the Italian Football League. After COVID struck, he decided to stay there, becoming an ambassador for the Florence Gufeli of the IFL while the pandemic played out.
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.