2023 Football

USFL play begins this week with 19 HBCU players

After an exciting first season, the USFL returns this week for its second season. There are former HBCU players on every team with six on the New Jersey Generals. New Jersey QB DeAndre Johnson out of Texas Southern is a USFL star.

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. 

New Jersey Generals QB 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.

Aqeel Glass led Alabama A&M to its first SWAC title since 2006 in 2021.

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


Skip Holtz 

HOUSTON GAMBLERS (2) – 3-7, fourth in South

Brandon Barnes (28)

TE            6’4”          255 lbs    Alabama State
Rodell Rahman

TE            6’4”          230           Tennessee State


Curtis Johnson 


Ryan McDaniel (24)

WR          6’1″            204           NC Central

Todd Haley, Head coach 

MICHIGAN PANTHERS (1) – 2-8, 3rd in North

Corey Rahman

S                6’1″            200           Tennessee State


Mike Nolan 

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


Mike Riley

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


Don DeFilippo

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


Bart Andrus

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        


Ray Horton

USFL play begins this week with 19 HBCU players
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