Arena football is coming to East Tennessee this spring. Saturday morning, the Knoxville Nighthawks coaching staff held tryouts to recruit local athletes.
Head coach Chris MacKeown says he has several spots available for training camp, and hopes to fill many of those posts with local talent. Arena football provides a new opportunity for many athletes to extend their football careers
"You get all kinds. You get guys that come out here that played high school football ten years ago, were good players then and want to try and do it still. You'll get guys out here that maybe should be in the NFL," said MacKeown.
East Tennessee native Tony Colston has signed as quarterback for the Nighthawks. The Clinton High School graduate also works in the team's front office.
"I'm working sales, marketing, and advertising, dealing with our sponsorships, that sort of thing. So I'm invested in this team right now," Colston said.
According to the Nighthawks website, Colston was the first player to sign the new franchise. He earned a degree in sports management from Tusculum, where he also played football.
At the tryouts Saturday, Colston says he'll use those skills to help recruit quality players for the team.
"You're looking for guys that are class acts, guys that can come out and you can put in front of people and sell, because that's what professional sports are."
The Nighthawks season kicks off March 2012. They will play home games at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.