SPOKANE, Wash. -

The Empire has signed former Colorado Crush restricted free agent offensive lineman James Atoe to their 2017 IFL roster.

Atoe (OL, 6-7, 375, Washington) joins the Empire for his second year as a member of the IFL after spending the 2016 season with the Colorado Crush where he earned Second Team ALL-IFL honors.

During his collegiate career at the University of Washington, Atoe started every game on the offensive line as a senior in 2014 which included nine games at right guard and four at right tackle. As a junior, he played in 12 of 13 games and started in the Fight Hunger Bowl victory over BYU at right guard. James saw his first significant action as a sophomore as he played in every game (six starts), including his first career start at right guard against No. 3 LSU.

After completing his collegiate career, James received an invitation from the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks to their rookie minicamp before going on to play in the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Championship as a member of Team USA. 

“James is a big, physical offensive lineman with great athleticism that is tough to find,” said Empire Head Coach Adam Shackleford. “His ability to both run block and pass protect earned him All-IFL honors last season. We felt like getting Atoe was an essential free agent pick up for us.”

James played his prep career at The Dalles-Wahtonka High School in The Dalles, Oregon where he was named to the All-Intermountain Conference First-Team and Second-Team on defense. He also played in the Hawai’i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl following his senior season.