The United States Football League (USFL) is back for its second season and HBCU football was well represented in its 2023 draft.
Out of a pool of 80 football players, 12 HBCU players were selected in the USL College Draft across 10 rounds: Isaiah Bolden (Memphis Showboats), J.J Holloman (New Jersey Generals), Isaiah Land (Pittsburgh Maulers), De’Jahn Warren (New Jersey Generals), Keenas Issac (Houston Gamblers), Derrick Tucker (New Jersey Generals), Darius Hagans ( New Orleans Breakers), Jermaine McDaniel (New Jersey Generals), Andrew Farmer II, (Michigan Panthers) Mark Evans II (Birmingham Stallions), Dre Terry (Philadelphia Stars), and Rey Estes (New Jersey Generals)
The 2023 season will kick off in late April in Memphis, Tennessee on FOX networks. Eight teams will compete in a 10-week season, concluding with a championship game.
The USFL has added teams for the upcoming season, expanding the opportunities for players looking to play pro football. By doing this the USFL heightens the exposure and opportunity for HBCU players looking for the chance to make it to the NFL.
Players selected in the USFL draft will be given the opportunity to be drafted or signed with an NFL team or sign with the USFL if they don’t see a better option.
11th overall in USFL College Draft: Isiah Bolden from Jackson State
Cornerback Isaiah Bolden led the nation in kickoff return yards in 2021 with 594 yards. Bolden completed 55 tackles with one fumble recovery.
23rd overall in USFL College Draft: J.J Holloman from Tennessee State
Playing wide receiver this transfer from Florida International, Holloman concluded the 2020 season with eight catches totaling 108 yards, two touchdowns, and two receptions.
33rd overall in USFL College Draft: Isaiah Land from Florida A&M
Land was an impactful player for the Rattlers. He was named the 2022 Preseason SWAC Defensive Player of the Year, 2022 Preseason All-SWAC First Team Defense, 2021 SWAC Defensive Player of the Year, 2021 All-SWAC First Team, 2021 National Defensive Player of the Year, and led the nation in both Sacks and Tackles for Loss. He finished his career with 89 tackles, 62 being solo tackles, and 29 sacks.
39th overall in USFL College Draft: De’Jahn Warren from Jackson State
Warren was ranked the No. 1 overall JUCO pick on the country before committing to Jackson State in 2021. For the Tigers, Warren completed 51 tackles, one 20-yard interception and 57 total punt and kick return yards.
42th overall in USFL College Draft: Keenan Issac from Alabama State
As a Defensive Back for the Hornets, Issac completed 99 tackles, 65 of those being solo tackles. Issac add one interception and one sack to his record before concluding his time with Alabama State.
45th overall in USFL College Draft: Derrick Tucker from Texas Southern
At the safety position for the Tigers, Tucker completed 26 total tackles: 15 solo and 11 assisted.
52nd overall in USFL College Draft: Darius Hagans from Virginia State
Hagans had 1,012 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns for Virginia State in 2022, along with 17 receptions for 135 yards. He had 2,069 career rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in three years with the Trojans despite sitting out the 2020 season.
53rd overall in USFL College Draft: Jermaine McDaniel Jr. from North Carolina A&T
As a defensive end McDaniel Jr. was a pivotal component in pass rushing for North Carolina A&T. McDaniel completed 8 sacks in the 2022 season, and 40 total tackles (29 unassisted)
56thd overall in USFL College Draft: Andrew Farmer II from Lane College
Farmer appeared in 18 games across two seasons for Division II Lane College, including each of the Dragons’ first eight games in 2022 where he recorded 58 total tackles, 25 tackles for loss, six sacks and a forced fumble.
63rd overall in USFL College Draft: Mark Evans II from Arkansas-Pine Bluff
During his time with the Golden Lions, Evans contributed heavily to the offensive line as a lineman. Evans was a four-time First Team All SWAC player, and received the Phil Steele Offensive Lineman of the Year Award
78th overall in USFL College Draft: Dre Terry from Alabama A&M
For the Bulldogs, the transfer from East Carolina played an impactful role for the defense. This pass season at linebacker, Terry completed 85 tackles, 1.5 sacks, a 31-yard interception and one forced fumble.
80th overall in USFL College Draft: Rey Estes from Grambling State
Starting at the defensive back position Estes tallied 75 tackles, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.