By Nate Thompson

MUSKEGON – The West Michigan Ironmen are far from plucking fans out of the stands to fill their roster, but when that fan happens to be Jamie LSJ Logo incertPotts, they’ll gladly extend an invitation.

Potts, a former football and baseball standout at Oakridge High School and Grand Valley State University, was in attendance at the Ironmen’s last home game at L.C. Walker Arena on April 2 against the Chicago Blitz.

He witnessed an exciting 34-30 victory for the Ironmen, propelling their season record to 2-1.

Jamie Potts

Potts during his baseball days with the Muskegon Clippers.

A few days later, Potts found himself signing to play with the Ironmen, the area’s new pro indoor football team.

“Honestly, I had no plans on playing football this year, but after the game, I saw TJ Williams, their owner,” Potts explained. “I grew up watching him play at Oakridge. He was just a few years older than me. He came up to me and we started talking and he eventually asked if I was interested in playing.”

The interest was mutual, and Potts agreed to sign with the squad. He said he’s attended both of the team’s practices this week, and expects to play this Saturday when the Ironmen host the River City Raiders. Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m.

“I guess (the practices) were my tryout,” Potts said. “But I had no formal tryout.

“I do expect to play right away, but I’m not sure how much,” he added. “I might do some kicking for them. We’ve discussed that. But I’m not exactly sure what their plans are for me yet.”

Potts said he recognized plenty of players on the Ironmen roster, including five fellow Grand Valley State graduates.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Potts was a four-year starter as a receiver and tight end at Grand Valley, and also punted.

During his senior season, he had 44 catches for 821 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Lakers reached the NCAA Division II semifinals, where they were defeated by Shepherd University. GVSU finished with a 12-3 record.

But it was in baseball that Potts earned a professional opportunity. An All-American outfielder at GVSU, Potts was drafted in the 31st round by the Texas Rangers last June.

He played last season for Spokane at the Class A minor league level and batted .217 with four home runs in 57 games.

But lingering hamstring and shoulder injuries prompted Potts to step away from the game, as he announced his retirement in March, a decision he called one of the toughest he’s ever had to make.

“The injuries were a concern in jumping into something like (the Ironmen), but I feel I’m completely healed up now,” Potts said. “I’m confident I can hold my own out there.”

Potts said he’s beyond excited at the opportunity to showcase his skills on the gridiron once again in his hometown of Muskegon — although it’s a smaller field than he’s used to.

“It’s a lot different,” he said. “The field is only 60 yards, so the game is a lot faster than what I’m used to.

“But to be back in Muskegon and playing football here again, it’s special. Getting the chance to play in front of friends and family and see some familiar faces in the stands, it’s really cool.”