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Thunder Make Roster Moves, Acquire Trio of Rookies

Wednesday January 14, 2015

 PORTLAND – The Portland Thunder have been assigned a trio of rookies, WR Deandre Cooper, FB Jonathon Sharpe, and OL Phede Celestin, Head Coach Mike Hohensee announced on Wednesday.

The Thunder have also reassigned K Zach Ramirez, FB/LB Dustin Risseeuw, and WR Kevin Cummings.

WR Deandre Cooper (6-3, 215) arrives in Portland following an impressive collegiate career at Prairie View A&M (Div. 1/FCS). Appearing in 32 games for the Panthers over four seasons, the wide receiver amassed 137 receptions for 1815 yards and 20 touchdowns.

“Deandre is a player with big time talent, and we feel his abilities will translate well to the AFL,” Hohensee stated.

Over half of those totals came in a record setting senior season (2013: 80 rec. – 1037 yds. – 12 TD) that saw Cooper surpass former Kansas City Chiefs great Otis Taylor’s 52 year old Prairie View marks for single season receiving yards and catches. A native of Houston, Texas, Deandre most recently spent time with the IFL’s Nebraska Danger following a rookie mini-camp invite from the Detroit Lions.

Rookie fullback Jonathon Sharpe (6-0, 235, NGU) enters his first season in the AFL in a Thunder uniform. The former linebacker began his collegiate career at Wofford before transferring to North Greenville University (SC) in 2011. Sharpe started two seasons for the Crusaders, totaling 132 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks and three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

The Conway, South Carolina native is known for his appearances on the popular NFL Network show “Undrafted”, which documented the lives of six professional football hopefuls in their preparations for the NFL’s Super Regional Combines. Jonathon participated in off-season workouts with both the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers before spending most of 2014 training camp with the Indianapolis Colts.

OL Phede Celestin (6-4, 318, Marist) also enters his first season in the AFL in a Thunder uniform. A three time all-conference (Pioneer, NCAA Div. 1/FCS) selection for the Marist Red Foxes, Phede (pronounced “Fed”) started in 40 games at right tackle over his four seasons in Poughkeepsie. A Brooklyn, New York native, Celestin featured in the 2013 FCS Senior Bowl, and was a third team FCS All-American selection the same year.

K Zach Ramirez (6-1, 205, Portland State) joined the Thunder in Week 14 of last season, and appeared in each of the last 6 games in 2014. Ramirez was 27 of 37 on PAT’s, and one for two on FG attempts.

FB/LB Dustin Risseeuw (6-2, 280, Western Oregon), was a 2013 Open Tryout call back, one of three that spent time with the Thunder in 2014. Risseeuw (pronounced “Rih-Zoo”) appeared in one game for Portland in 2014, recording two fumble recoveries and a one yard rushing touchdown.

WR Kevin Cummings (6-1, 184, Oregon State) appeared in one game for the Thunder last season, recording two catches for 16 yards and one touchdown.

About the Portland Thunder
The Portland Thunder kickoff the 2015 AFL season March 27th against the LA KISS at the Moda Center! Tickets and sponsorships for the 2015 season are now available. For more information, email us at or call 503-773-4235. For all the latest news and discussion on the Portland Thunder, follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@pdxthunder).