The eight team United States Football League (USFL) begins its second year Saturday, April 15 with 19 former HBCU players on team rosters.
The schedule begins Saturday (April 15) with games set for ten Saturdays thru regular season finales on June 17. Two games are scheduled on three Sundays – April 16, May 7 and June 11. See the full schedule here.
USFL games will be carried on FOX, FS1, NBC, USA Network and Peacock. This second season includes 29 games on broadcast television, up from 22 last season. All NBC and USA Network games will be streamed on Peacock.
The USFL played all its games in Birmingham, Alabama a year ago. This season the league will have games in four host cities – Detroit, Memphis, Canton, Ohio and Birmingham. Through the 10-week regular season, each of the USFL’s teams will play division rivals twice and teams of the opposition division one. Each of the host cities will have games within the first three weeks.
The Birmingham Stallions defeated the Philadelphia Stars 33-30 in last season’s championship game.
HBCU players on USFL’s New Jersey Generals
The New Jersey Generals have nearly a third of the 19 HBCU players on their 51-man roster. Six players from the HBCU ranks will be playing for head coach Mike Riley’s defending North champions. Chief among them is former Texas Southern quarterback De’Andre Johnson.
The 6-2, 188-pound dual threat signal-caller split quarterbacking duties with Luis Perez a season ago. Perez is no longer on the team. Johnson is expected to take over one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Last year, Johnson ran for 310 yards and four scores while completing 72 percent of his passes for 772 yards and two TDs for the 9-1 Generals.
He is one of the top candidates for USFL offensive player of the year honors.
Protecting Johnson and opening holes for the Generals’ running backs are three former black college offensive lineman – Brandon Haskin and Robert Myers out of Tennessee State and Calvin Ashley from Florida A&M.
Elusive former Jackson State standout wide receiver/kick returner Warren Newman joins the Generals. He will get a shot at replacing 2022 USFL MVP Kavontae Turpin, who excelled at both positions. Turpin earned a trip to the NFL Pro Bowl as a returner for the Dallas Cowboys this past season.
New Jersey won nine straight games to finish atop the North race a year ago. The Generals lost to Philadelphia in the league semifinals. They will play home games this season in their new hub in Canton, Ohio.
Other HBCU USFL notables
Former two-time SWAC offensive player of the year, quarterback Aqeel Glass out of Alabama A&M, is a player to watch this season as he joins the New Orleans Breakers. Glass, who also won back-to-back black college player of the year awards, is expected to compete with 2022 backup Zach Smith and Davis Cheek of Elon for the starting job. Glass threw for 12,136 yards and 109 TDs in his career at A&M. He is in the top 15 among quarterbacks in FCS (I-AA) history.
Glass will have a familiar face in 6-6, 220-pound wideout Dee Anderson of Alabama A&M in the Breakers’ receiving corps. The Breakers finished 6-4 and in second place in the South behind Birmingham in 2022.
Former NC Central standout wide receiver Ryan McDaniel is the lone HBCU player on the Memphis Showboats roster. McDaniel was a second team all-MEAC receiver in 2021. He posted 52 catches for 678 yards and four TDs for the Eagles. He led the MEAC at 4.7 catches per game.
It’s the same for former prolific Prairie View A&M quarterback Jalen Morton. He is the lone HBCU player on the Birmingham roster.
The Houston Gamblers will feature two former HBCU tight ends – Brandon Barnes of Alabama State and Rodell Rahman of Tennessee State. Texas Southern product Brett Maxie, who had a 13-year NFL career, is the Gamblers’ defensive secondary coach.
HBCU players on USFL rosters
BIRMINGHAM STALLIONS (1) – 9-1 first in South – Won title
Jalen Morton (25)
QB 6’4″ 226 Prairie View A&M
HOUSTON GAMBLERS (2) – 3-7, fourth in South
Brandon Barnes (28)
TE 6’4” 255 lbs Alabama State
TE 6’4” 230 Tennessee State
MEMPHIS SHOWBOATS (1) – 4-6
Ryan McDaniel (24)
WR 6’1″ 204 NC Central
Todd Haley, Head coach
MICHIGAN PANTHERS (1) – 2-8, 3rd in North
S 6’1″ 200 Tennessee State
NEW JERSEY GENERALS (6) – 9-1, 1st in North
De’Andre Johnson (27)
QB 6’2” 188 lbs Texas Southern
Brandon Haskin (33)
OL 6’3 ” 315 Tennessee State
Calvin Ashley (25)
T 6’6″ 310 Florida A&M
Kingston Davis (25)
RB 6’0 ” 225 Miles
Robert Myers (31)
OL 6’5″ 325 Tennessee State
Warren Newman (23)
WR 5’8″ 175 Jackson State
NEW ORLEANS BREAKERS (3) – 6-4, 2nd in South
Aqeel Glass (23)
QB 6’5″ 215 Alabama A&M
Dee Anderson (25)
WR 6’6″ 220 Alabama A&M
Nigel Chavis (26)
DE 6’1” 230 lbs Norfolk State
PHILADELPHIA STARS (2) – 6-4, 2nd in North
Chris Rowland (25)
WR 5’8″ 179 Tennessee State
Sean Brown (30)
C 6’3” 320 lbs Mississippi Valley St
PITTSBURGH MAULERS (3) – 1-9,, 4th in North
Josh Simmons (28)
WR 5’11” 165 Prairie View A&M
Justin Evans (27)
OT 6’4 ” 310 SC State
Savion Williams (24)
DT 6’4″ 290 Florida A&M