02/08/2018 5:06 PM -

JACKSONVILLE- Ryan Aelker (6’4, 270) signs with the Jacksonville Sharks for his first year of arena football.

Aelker played defensive end and tight end for Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio. Bluffton University is a Division III school in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC). During his junior season, Aelker finished with 54 tackles (22 TFL) and 13.5 sacks, winning the HCAC Defensive Player of the Year and helping the Beavers finish the season with a 6-4 record. During his senior season, Aelker won the HCAC Defensive Player of the Year award once again after finishing the season with 60 tackles (24 TFL), 15.5 sacks, one interception, four pass breakups, three forced fumbles and one blocked kick. Aelker’s defensive performance helped the Beavers go 6-4 once again. After his senior season, Aelker was awarded HCAC Male Athlete of the Year, HCAC Defensive Most Valuable Player and All-America honors from Aelker left Bluffton University as the school record-holder in sacks (35), tackles for loss (60), forced fumbles (8), sack yardage and quarterback hurries. Aelker also previously worked out for NFL scouts with the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.

Aelker is a native of New Bavaria, Ohio and played high school football at Holgate High School in Holgate, Ohio.


The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The 2017 NAL Champions and ArenaBowl XXIV Champions and play all home games at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Sharks Nation Memberships for the 2017 season are now available. Shark Nation Memberships start as low as $150. To become a Shark Nation member or for more information please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at and on Twitter and Instagram @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at and Chum at

The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. The National Arena League will kick off its second season in April of 2018. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at [email protected] or Expansion Chairman Jeff Bouchy at [email protected] For more information about the NAL visit,,,