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The XFL's return to the professional sports landscape is inching closer, and the first group of players to enter the upcoming draft has been announced.

Former Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, who bounced around the NFL for a while, headlines the list of 198 players announced by the XFL earlier this week.

The draft is Oct. 15-16, and will take place via social media.

Other local players of note who have entered the draft include:

►OG Shakir Carr, Central Michgan

►S Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State

►RB Jonas Gray, Notre Dame (Detroit Country Day)

►OT Jeremy Hickey, Eastern Michigan

►RB Ty Isaac, Michigan

►C John Keenoy, Western Michigan

►OT Miguel Machado, Michigan State

►WR Keith Mumphrey, Michigan State

►DE Sydney Omameh, Grand Valley State

►CB Channing Stribling, Michigan

Cook, 26, played four seasons at Michigan State, the last three as a starter, and led the Spartans to a victory in the Rose Bowl following the 2013 season, and then a spot in the College Football Playoff in 2015. He was a fourth-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in the 2016 NFL Draft, and also spent brief time with the Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions, who released him this past June.

The XFL has invited more than 1,000 players to enter the draft, all players having passed a background check.

The draft will work in five phases — a skill phase, an offensive-line phase, a defensive front-seven phase, a defensive backfield phase and then an open phase. Also, one quarterback will be assigned to each team before the draft.

The draft will work in a "snake" format.

The league, a reboot of wrestling mogul Vince McMahon's failed attempt to compete with the NFL in 2001, features eight teams: Dallas Renegades, DC Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, New York Guardians, Seattle Dragons, St. Louis BattleHawks and Tampa Bay Vipers. Rosters will include 71 players.

In the early phase of team consideration, Detroit was being looked at by the XFL.

A 10-week regular season will begin in February.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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