This week the Massachusetts Pirates signed running back Marquis Young who is three years removed from playing at the University of Massachusetts and defensive lineman T.J. Barnes, who after playing for Georgia Tech nine seasons ago, is now suiting up in his fifth different league. The Pirates hope this mixture of youth and experience will provide balance on both sides of the ball as the team makes its playoff push.

Young, 6”1” – 210 lbs. from Freeport, NY most recently played in the XFL with the Dallas Renegades where he had three carries for 17 yards and four receptions for 20 more. A standout in college, three times he was on the Doak Walker watch list and was a Phil Steele All-Independent Team honoree. At UMass he played in 47 games, gained 3,631 yards and scored 29 touchdowns. Young added 98 receptions for 671 yards and two more scores. In 2019 he played in the East-West Shrine game and then signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent. Young said he never thought that indoor football might be a vehicle to jumpstart his career.

“No,” he said. “It’s funny because I used to watch a lot of arena football, but I never thought I’d actually be playing. Jawad (Pirates President and General Manager Jawad Yatim) called me and gave me the opportunity. He asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to play some football and he told me it was a good way to get some film and I could wind up in the NFL if given a shot,” he added.

Young says his NFL experience was a dream come true.

“Having the opportunity to be shoulder to shoulder with some of the people that you idolize growing up like T.Y. Hilton, Andrew Luck; a lot of the guys treated me very well when I was there, teaching me the game and being patient with me,” Young said. “The biggest takeaway would be to never waste time. Be a sponge for all of the information. Always spend as much time as you can on your craft and always be grateful for every opportunity,” Young added.

Barnes’ NFL career was a little more extensive. After signing as an undrafted free agent in 2013 with Jacksonville, 2014 saw him play in six games with the New York Jets. The following season he appeared in ten games (four with Buffalo and six with the Jets) and in 2016 he took the field five times with Kansas City. 2017 led Barnes to Saskatchewan of the CFL. 2019 saw him with the Atlanta Legends of the AAF and later that season signed a contract with the Carolina Panthers.

Barnes last played in the XFL for the New York Guardians in 2020 where he had 8.5 tackles. When the season was cut short, it looked like Barnes had retired, but like a heavyweight fighter, he found it hard to leave the ring.

“With covid, I thought I was done,” he said. “I was just looking forward to being a dad and developing my software engineering career, but I got a call from Jawad (Pirates Co-Owner and General Manager Jawad Yatim). He said I have an opportunity for you and if you’re still interested the door is open. It was crazy. I was just talking to my wife about it, saying I really do miss football, then I looked down at my phone and there was a text message from Jawad,” Barnes said.

His wife was more than supportive.

“She really wanted me to do what’s best. We were talking about how awesome it would be if I got another opportunity, be it the NFL, CFL, whatever. I just wanted the opportunity and the universe said, OK, here’s one. Let’s see what you’re going to do with it.”

This will be his fifth different league and first time playing indoors. The 6’-7” – 345 lb. Montgomery, AL native says there really is no difference between playing in the NFL, CFL, AAF, XFL or IFL.

“Well, being a defensive lineman, football is football. Get the man with the ball, getting off blocks, getting to the quarterback; it all falls within the same realm. I understand that in the IFL there are less people and the rules are stricter on the defensive linemen, but all in all it’s getting to the quarterback and stopping them from scoring points,“ he said frankly.

Barnes says his success starts with discipline like knowing how to practice and how to watch games.

“When you’ve been playing for so long you’ve seen just about everything a team can really throw at you, so just having that memory box that you go through, you’ll know what certain teams like to do, this is how they will block and things of that nature,” he said.

Barnes, who’s NFL career spanned 21 games, wants to bring intensity and leadership to the team. He’s more concerned with the present than his football future.

“I’m not even thinking about another level. I’m just happy to be where I am. A week ago, I was just chilling, studying, getting ready for class work. If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It’s nothing I’d be disappointed about. I’m just thankful to be in a position to help these guys. Hopefully we can keep our streak going and propel ourselves into the playoffs,” Barnes said.

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at Phoenix Field at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA, 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508)452-MASS (6277), email or visit Single game tickets are available now at or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard