SALT LAKE CITY — As the Utah Blaze continue to deal with training camp, the team welcomed back a familiar face.
The Blaze have agreed to terms with veteran DB David Hyland, and also added DB Arness Ikner and WR DeJay Lester.
Ikner and Lester enter their rookie seasons in the Arena Football League, while Hyland returns after starting 15 games for the Blaze in 2012.
Despite missing the first five games of the 2012 season, Hyland (6-0, 190) managed to lead the Utah Blaze with 93 total tackles, including three tackles for loss. He added two interceptions, 11 pass breakups and one fumble recovery.
Off the field, Hyland was awarded the Arena Football League’s Community MVP of the Year award for his philanthropic efforts.
“I’m excited to be back with my Blaze family. It’s a privilege to be surrounded by such great people throughout the organization,” said Hyland. “The opportunity to wear the black and orange for a second season is a blessing that I hope to take full advantage of. I can’t wait to get out on the field and get back to work.”
A Layton native, Lester (6-3, 200) played two seasons at the University of Wyoming after transferring from Snow College.
In 2009, Lester hauled in 27 receptions for 456 yards and two touchdowns while helping Snow capture the Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl. He prepped at Layton Christian Academy.
“It’s humbling and a blessing. It feels great to be part of great organization,” Lester stated. “I’m ready to contribute wherever I’m needed and hopefully I can help this team win a championship. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Ikner (5-8, 180) started 24 games during his junior and senior seasons at Middle Tennessee State. He totaled 112 tackles with two tackles for loss over his final two campaigns, adding two interceptions and 11 pass breakups.
The team also recently added young quarterbacks Jason Boltus and Shane Kelly to the roster to back up Tommy Grady.
The Blaze will stage their FanFest Friday at EnergySolutions Arena. The team opens the season on March 23 at Pittsburgh.