With the USFL season kicking off in the Spring of 2022, it’s a good time to start looking at some players who could end up in the league. I have compiled a list of fifteen individuals from three offensive positions (RB, WR, TE), and divided those fifteen into three different categories.
The second category we’ll be looking at is “lesser-known products,” or players from smaller schools that haven’t received much media attention. These are players who may be looking at their first true opportunity in the pros, and will pave the way for the USFL’s future.
Frank Brown, WR, Bethune-Cookman
Brown comes from an FCS program in Florida, and is still trying to find consistency as a pro. Coming out of college, he was briefly with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes, and was also listed on the DC Defenders (XFL) roster at one point. In 2019, he played for the IFL’s Green Bay Blizzard, and most recently signed with the Tucson Sugar Skulls of the same league. If Brown continues to work hard, he should find his way onto a USFL team with ease. Brown is the type of player that coaches and executives will like due to his dedication, and he now has experience in multiple systems.
Kamathi Holsey, WR, Buffalo
The Buffalo Bulls have produced talented NFL players such as Khalil Mack and Jaret Patterson, so it’s only a matter of time before the next gem is discovered there. Holsey has seemingly flown under the radar of most teams, but has plenty of fight in his game. He spent time at Independence Community College in Kansas, following a childhood filled with hunger and homelessness.
Holsey has already come a long way from where he began, and he continues to make progress. He was signed by the Toronto Argonauts in late 2018, but didn’t make the cut for 2019. The USFL can give Holsey another chance at success, even though it’s been over two years since his last pro experience.
Vinny Papale, WR, Delaware
Vinny Papale is the son of Vince Papale, a former Philadelphia Eagles receiver who famously joined the team at age 30 with no collegiate experience. The younger Papale is just starting his pro career, and was originally signed by the Montreal Alouettes in 2020. He’s also spent time with the Conquerors of The Spring League. The USFL would be the next step of Papale’s journey, and perhaps he will end up in the NFL like his father. Assuming that’s a possibility, both men will have done it through unconventional means, which only makes the story better.
Blake Morgan, RB, Wofford
Just like Papale, Morgan is also an alumni of The Spring League, having played for the Alphas in 2021. Morgan had the second-most rushing yards in the league, but failed to generate additional pro interest despite playing special teams. Morgan is a RB/WR hybrid, and could perhaps develop into a player that resembles Cordarrelle Patterson or Deebo Samuel. Since Morgan can fill multiple roles, he should be a priority for USFL teams, especially since it will be their first time assembling a roster.
Brandon Barnes, TE, Alabama State
Barnes has more experience when compared to other names on this list, but is still working to find a meaningful role with a team. After going undrafted in 2017, he was signed by the Detroit Lions, and finished training camp with the New York Jets. In 2019, he got another chance with the Oakland Raiders, and eventually turned to the XFL in 2020. Barnes was a member of the LA Wildcats, and finished second in the league for receiving yards amongst tight ends (trailing Donald Parham).
Since then, there’s been few updates regarding Barnes’ career, but what he showed in the XFL was promising. Other receivers on the Wildcats team often outproduced and overshadowed Barnes (Tre McBride, Nelson Spruce, etc.), but the USFL can likely give him more recognition.
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