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Thunder Exercise Rookie Options on Eight

Wednesday October 7, 2015

 PORTLAND – The Portland Thunder have exercised rookie options on eight players, the AFL offices announced Wednesday afternoon.

Portland will retain the rights to WR Perez Ashford (5’10, 195, Northern Illinois), DL Dexter Davis (6’2, 230, Friends), DL Adrian Hamilton (6’5, 260, Prairie View A&M), DL Robert Hayes (6’2, 250, Shephard), OL Sam Longo (6’4, 300, Cincinnati), DB Andre Martin Jr. (6’0, 195, North Dakota State), DB Osagie Odiase (6’0, 180, Sacramento State) and DB Matt Pierce (5’11, 190, Valdosta State).

WR Perez Ashford, the Thunder's 2015 "Rookie of the Year", as voted on by the coaches and staff, played a pivotal role as the #3 receiver, and more often than not, as the up-man on kickoff returns, in a solid first season of AFL play. Perez hauled in 49 receptions, for 458 yards, and six touchdowns, while adding 17.5 tackles on special teams, to go along with 10 returns, for 68 yards.

LB Dexter Davis proved an integral cog in the Thunder pass rushing machine during the 2015 AFL season. Providing both speed and elusiveness, the rookie notched 20.0 tackles, including six for a loss, and five sacks in nine appearances in his role coming off the bench at the mack linebacker position.

DL Adrian Hamilton joined the Portland Thunder for his first year of Arena Football action on July 8, 2015, after stints in both the CFL and NFL. The former Baltimore Raven acclimated well in late season action, featuring in the last five games of 2015, tallying 12 tackles, with two for a loss, three pass break ups, and a sack. Hamilton is currently on the AFL’s Other League Exemption list, playing for the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks.

The Thunder's "Comeback Player of the Year", as voted on by the coaching staff, DL Robert Hayes completed his first season in the Arena Football League and first in Thunder uniform in 2015, recording 13.5 tackles in 11 games. Hayes missed nearly 2 months with a leg injury before returning to Portland's lineup in the Week 10 loss to San Jose, and started six of the last eight regular season games.

OL Sam Longo was assigned to the Thunder on April 23, 2015 to begin his first year of play in the AFL. The former Cincinnati Bearcat played a major role in Portland’s success on an offensive front that only allowed 19 sacks in 2015, good enough for fifth best in the League. Longo is currently on the AFL’s Other League Exemption list, playing for the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

DB Andre' Martin was assigned to Portland on February 19, 2015, and went on to appear in six games during his rookie AFL season, recording 26.5 tackles, six break-ups, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery, which he returned for a touchdown in a 72-48 victory over the ArenaBowl 28 finalist Jacksonville Sharks.

DB Osagie Odiase (pron. Oh-Sah-Gie Oh-Dee-Ah-See) led the Thunder in pass break ups, with 17, and was second in tackles for Portland in 2015, racking up 63.5 stops in 14 games. Odiase was the first of the 2015 off-season’s open tryout participants to be offered a contract. In total, 99 athletes from nine states auditioned over two events.

DB Matt Pierce joined the Thunder in October 2014 for his first season of AFL action. A four-year starter at Valdosta State University, Pierce tallied 19.0 tackles, four pass break-ups, and one forced fumble from 8 games played in 2015.

About the Portland Thunder
The Portland Thunder would like to thank our fans and sponsors for bringing the BOOM this 2015 AFL Season. Tickets and sponsorships are now available for the 2016 AFL Season. For more information, email us at info@portlandthunder.com 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).