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USFL Transactions Update: New USFL Players and Roster Moves April 1

USFL Transactions Update: New USFL Players and Roster Moves April 1

USFL Transactions Update: New USFL Players and Roster Moves April 1

On April 1st the USFL released a list of USFL transactions and some of them were quite surprising.  Each team had some movement, including the SGPN’s consensus wide receiver one.  And as we welcome new USFL players, we also say goodbye to others that we expected to make an impact on the field.  Some players are on their way out due to injury or other reasons.  Others simply didn’t report to camp.  Let’s break down some of the USFL transactions and roster moves.

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New Jersey Generals

New USFL Players:
DE:  Deyon Sizer, Colorado State-Pueblo

QB:  Luis Perez, Texas A&M – Commerce
TE:  Woody Brandom, Sam Houston State

Released Players:
DE:  Malik Hamner
QB:  Ben Holmes
TE:  Carson Williams
WR:  Christopher Platt, Jr.

Biggest Move

The most important position on the football field is the quarterback.  Therefore, the USFL transaction that makes the biggest move for the New Jersey Generals on April 1st has to be the addition of Luis Perez. Expected by many to go in the original draft, Perez has remained involved in professional football after college.  He spent time in the NFL with the Rams, Eagles, and Lions.  He also spent time with the Birmingham Iron (AAF), Los Angeles Wildcats, New York Guardians (XFL), and most recently in The Spring League with the Jousters.  Perez had a decorated NCAA Division II career including a national championship and being named first-team All-American.  Perez threw for 655 yards and seven touchdowns with the Jousters.  In his first year in the AAF, he threw for 1,461 yards and five touchdowns.

Overall Impact

While DeAndre Johnson may get the first crack at the starting quarterback spot now, having a spring football veteran like Luis Perez on the team definitely provides a lot of value.  The two other new USFL players the Generals welcomed don’t have as much professional experience but will still look to make an impact on the field.  Woody Brandom had 419 receiving yards and one touchdown at Sam Houston State.  However, he’s a 6-5, 260-pound big-bodied tight end who can block as well as be a red-zone target.  Defensive end Deyon Sizer has been on and off the Denver Broncos practice squad three years in a row.  Losing first-round quarterback Ben Holmes to an injury is a blow to the team as it was expected he would get the first shot at taking the first snaps.

Tampa Bay Bandits

New USFL Players:
WR: Rashard Davis, James Madison
DE: Zac Dawe, BYU
OT:  Jalen Booth, Indiana State

Did Not Report:
WR: Eli Rogers
DE: Adam Shuler
OT: Tyler Catalina

Biggest Move

The biggest headline in the USFL roster moves is Eli Rogers not reporting.  Rogers was expected to be one of the top wide receivers in the league due to his experience and familiarity with Todd Haley’s system.  Most power rankings, team rankings, and player rankings pointed out just what an asset he would be for Jordan Ta’amu.  However, look no further than the new USFL players list to find the wide receiver they have already signed to replace him in Rashard Davis.

Overall Impact

While losing Eli Rogers is a big blow, the Bandits did a great job in their USFL transactions by signing Rashard Davis to potentially fill the void.  Davis has spent time in the NFL with the Eagles, Raiders, Chiefs, and Titans.  Davis doesn’t have the NFL stats that Eli Rogers had, having only played in one regular season game.  However, he’s been around the league and has also been sought after by other professional football leagues.  In the 2020 XFL Draft, Davis was the first overall pick in the skill players round.  He also most recently signed with CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.  Other new USFL players on the bandits include Zac Dawe and Jalen Booth.  In three years at BYU, Dawe had 81 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 13.5 tackles for loss.  Offensive tackle Jalen Booth, with his 6-4, 375-pound frame, bolsters the offensive line spot left by Tyler Catalina.

Pittsburgh Maulers

New USFL Players
RB: Madre London, Tennessee
OT:  Justin Evans, South Carolina State

Released
RB: De’Veon Smith

Did Not Report
OT:  Isaiah Battle

Biggest Move

With running back coach Kirby Wilson, the emphasis on the run game seems more important than on other teams.  Therefore, the USFL roster moves that see De’Veon Smith off the team and Madre London on seem to be one of the biggest USFL transactions to track.  De’Veon Smith was expected to get a crack at a lot of the carries, whether that was as running back one or part of a committee.  I imagine his loss will really open things up for Garrett Groshek.

Overall Impact

While the loss of De’Veon Smith is a big one, I love the USFL roster moves the Maulers have made.  Madre London has remained consistent in other professional leagues after graduating from Tennessee.  He’s taken part in The Spring League, Fan Controlled Football, and the European League of Football (ELF).  In his league debut in the ELF, he ran for 269 yards and three touchdowns.  The next game he rushed for 352 yards and four touchdowns and was named week two MVP.  London has proven that he can lead the team out of the backfield and is ready to carry the workload.  Other USFL players added to the Maulers included Justin Evans.  Evans is a 6-5, 310-pound tackle who will help replace some of the talent lost with Isaiah Battle not reporting.

New Orleans Breakers

New USFL Players:
CB:  Nevelle Clarke, Central Florida
CB:  Mike Stevens, NC State
OT:  Kai Absheer, Florida International
OG:  Brandon Rolfe, UTSA

Released:
CB: Derrick Jones
LB:  Diondre Wallace

Reserved (Did not report/left training camp):
OT: Donnell Greene
OG:  Brandon Rolfe

Biggest Move

The biggest USFL roster moves made by the breakers were strengthening their defensive backfield.  Nevelle Clarke has spent some time with the Minnesota Vikings.  He stands 6-1 and will be able to keep up with both the tall and the speedy receivers.  Clarke played college ball at Central Florida and participated in the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl.  He spent some time on the Minnesota Vikings training camp before injuring his foot.  From there he participated in The Spring League with the Generals.

Overall Impact

While losing two pieces from their offensive line is certainly a setback, the Breakers have new USFL players that will be able to fill in for those gaps left behind.  USFL transactions to sign Kai Absheer and Brandon Rolfe provide much needed depth and potential starters.  Absheer is a 6-4, 335-pound monster who only allowed one sack at Florida International his senior year.  Rolfe is a 6-3, 310-pound lineman who has experience playing multiple positions along the line. Adding two new USFL players in the defensive backfield will help the defense keep up with the opponent’s passing games.  Clarke looks to make the biggest impact but don’t sleep on Mike Stevens.  Stevens is a fast defender who has experience in the XFL and may fit perfectly covering slot wide receivers.

Philadelphia Stars

New USFL Players:
S: Evan Worthington, Colorado

TE: Pro Wells, TCU

Reserved – Did Not Report
S: Jack Tocho
TE: Bug Howard

Biggest Move

The loss of Bug Howard, who was listed as my tight end 1 on the SGPN’s initial rankings is a big one.  Howard is a big-bodied, sure-handed red zone threat and I expected him to make a big impact in the USFL.  Jack Tocho was also expected to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball.  However, the Stars added two new USFL players in Pro Wells and Evan Worthington.  Wells is another big-bodied tight end standing 6-4 and 250-pounds.  He spent some time on the Cincinnati Bengals during training camp but was eventually cut.  While he only had 403 receiving yards in college, along with eight touchdowns, Wells will look to take the next step and become a red-zone target for the Stars.

Overall Impact

The other USFL transaction completed by the Stars was adding Evan Worthington to replace Tocho.  Worthington had a great college career at Colorado, finishing with 167 tackles and 15 defended passes.  He’s a versatile back who can play safety as well as nickel slot.  He’s also an excellent tackler and has spent some time in NFL training camps.  And standing at 6-2, he’s one of the taller defensive backs in the league, and signing him was an excellent roster move.

Michigan Panthers

New USFL Players:
OG – Cordel Iwuagwu, TCU

Released:
LB: Tre Threat

Did Not Report:
OG – Marquel Harrell

Overall Impact

The USFL roster moves made by the Michigan Panthers were kept minimal on April 1st.  The only headline for their new USFL players is Cordel Iwuagwu out of TCU.  Iwuagwu spent time on the Houston Texans practice squad in 2020.  He also spent time with the Cleveland Browns practice squad and then made the active roster for their Week 17 matchup against the Steelers in January of 2021.  Iwuagwu has been coached up by NFL coaches and will look to bring that experience and knowledge to the USFL and the Panthers.

Birmingham Stallions

New USFL Players:
DT – Jordan Thompson, Northwestern

Released:
DT – Haston Adams

Overall Impact

The Stallions remained the quietest team during the April 1st USFL roster moves.  While they released Haston Adams his spot was filled by the signing of Jordan Thompson.  The 6-3, 292-pound Thompson was very consistent at TCU, starting 35 consecutive games before missing the Holiday Bowl due to injury.  Thompson was a key contributor to TCU’s rushing defense.  He finished his career with 91 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks.  He also had two forced fumbles in his final year.

 

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Born and raised in Iowa, Justin Mark is an avid Chicago Bears fan. He is a self-published author and loves writing almost as much as he loves sports. He lives in the small town of Winterset, IA with his wife and their dog and cat. He is enjoys being part of the #degen nation that is of The Sports Gambling Podcast Network.

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