Commanders Camp Three Quick Hits: John Diarse is a secret weapon

Commanders Camp Three Quick Hits: John Diarse is a secret weapon


By Cole Thompson / The Alliance  

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Commanders have three more weeks until they open the season, but on Saturday the team got a little preview of what to expect. Practicing for the first time in the Alamodome, fans were able to sit in the stands and feel the excitement that The Alliance will bring to the city.

The team also did not disappoint as several players on both sides of the ball made astonishing plays that had fans on the edge of their seats. While seven other teams can’t wait to meet their fans, the Commanders gave a front-row seat to the hundreds of people that filled the Alamodome for what to expect moving forward.

Here are Saturday’s notes:

  1. John Diarse is going to be a secret weapon for the Commanders offense

The wide receiver unit has blended well under the direction of coach Keith Williams. While Demarcus Ayers (Houston) might be a fan favorite due to his time in the NFL, John Diarse (TCU) certainly made his case to be the next big name to watch for moving forward. The former Horned Frog made almost every catch during team 7-on-7 seven drills and wowed the crowd during team drills.

After making an acrobatic grab on an out route, Diarse burned the defender up the middle of the field on a go route courtesy of Marquise Williams (North Carolina). If it was a live game, that would have led to a touchdown. Diarse might not be the biggest receiver on the roster, but his speed and route-running skills could make him a valuable slot receiver for the Commanders in a spread heavy offense during the season.

  1. Marquise Williams thrives under the lights  

The Commanders quarterback battle will be an interesting one heading into the final two weeks of camp. While Dustin Vaughan (West Texas A&M) and Logan Woodside (Toledo) had good days, Marquise Williams easily had one of the more consistent ones. Minus one throw during individual drills, the former Tar Heel was on point, delivering clean passes from the pocket.

In team drills, Williams commanded the offense and led them down the field twice to score. While his throw to Diarse was the highlight of the day, Williams also completed a pair of first downs to Mekale McKay (Cincinnati) to help lead toward a pair of scores. It’s still anyone’s battle for the starting job, but Williams looked very comfortable playing inside the Alamodome in front of his fan base.

  1. Speedy Noil will be dangerous as a return man  

Football is won three ways; offense, defense and special teams. While the offense has some weapons and the defense has several key play-makers, few people rarely speak of special teams play. Inside the dome, Speedy Noil (Texas A&M) deserved some credit for his work during punt return drills.

The quick receiver juked and slid his way through defenders and toward the near sideline. With his speed and agility, Noil should be considered the team’s top return man heading into the third week. If Saturday was a spectacle of what’s to come, Noil could be dancing his way into the end zone all season long.

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Cole Thompson covers the San Antonio Commanders for The Alliance of American Football. Follow him on Twitter @MrColeThompson

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The San Antonio Commanders are in training camp throughout January. The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins Saturday, February 9, when the Commanders host the San Diego Fleet at the Alamodome. You can get your tickets at:

(Photo by Joe Alexander /