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Predators Add Three on Free Agency’s Opening Day

Friday September 26, 2014

 ORLANDO – The Orlando Predators agreed to terms with three players on the opening day of free agency, adding two former Tampa Bay Storm rivals in quarterback Randall Hippeard and wide receiver Justin Hilton, as well as rookie center William Maxwell. The Arena Football League’s Free Agency period began on Thursday, September 24th following the conclusion of the Exclusive Rights period.

Now entering his third AFL season, Hippeard (6-3, 215, Virginia-Wise) scored 109 total touchdowns as a member of the Storm in 2014. The veteran signal caller threw for 4,406 yards and 93 touchdowns, ranking third in the League with an average of 259.2 passing yards per game. Hippeard added 126 yards and 16 more scores on the ground.

“Randy is on the cusp of becoming one of the Arena Football League’s elite quarterbacks,” said General Manager of Football Operations Michael DiJulio. “He has tremendous talent and can make any throw that is asked of him. Randy also works hard to perfect his craft and we are looking forward to having the opportunity to work with him this season.”

Despite playing in just five games for Tampa Bay in 2014, Hilton (6-2, 200, Indiana State) hauled in 38 passes for 500 yards and 11 touchdowns, ranking among the League’s leaders in every category at that time. Hilton played two games for the Storm as a rookie in 2013, but was placed on the AFL’s Other League Exempt list late in the season after signing with the Tennessee Titans. Prior to entering the AFL, Hilton spent two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. A Florida native, Hilton attended Harmony High School.

“We look for rare physical attributes in our wide receivers and Justin certainly fits that mold. He has a unique combination of size and speed and puts a lot of pressure on the defense. He’s also a player that wants to continue to learn and develop. He has only scratched the surface of his potential.”

Maxwell (6-2, 310, Georgia Southern) played two seasons with the Green Bay Blizzard of the Indoor Football League, earning second-team All-IFL honors in 2014. Maxwell was an FCS All-American at Georgia Southern University. Following his collegiate career, he earned an invitation to Carolina Panthers rookie minicamp in 2012.

“Will is a technically sound player that battles on every snap. He consistently gains leverage on his opponents and is outstanding in pass protection. He doesn’t play the most glamorous of positions, but Predators fans should be excited to have him on board.”

“With the addition of these three players, we made great strides on the offensive side of the ball today,” said Head Coach Rob Keefe. “Randy, Justin, and Will are all capable of playing at an elite level, but they also bring a competitive mentality that drives them to get better. That kind of attitude will propel us towards success, both as individuals and as a team.”

The 2014 South Division Champion Orlando Predators enter their 24th season as Central Florida’s most exciting and innovative professional sports franchise. Proud members of the Arena Football League, the Predators have achieved unprecedented success on the field. Orlando has advanced to the AFL playoffs a league-leading 22 times in their history while securing seven conference championships, including two ArenaBowl Championship victories in 1998 and 2000.