Jim Popp, the Vice President of Player Personnel for the United Football League, recently appeared on the McElroy and Cubelic show to discuss the league’s future plans, player development, expansion and the a upcoming college draft.

College Draft and Player Opportunities

In the interview, Popp discussed the UFL’s upcoming college draft and the opportunities it presents for players who may not have been selected in the NFL draft or have gone through the NFL’s mini-camp process.

“We’re going to have a college draft actually after the season. We had several guys come to the USFL the first year that came in and played several games and then went on to the NFL that skipped the whole process of going to an NFL camp or a mini camp. But the biggest thing is a lot of these guys, that’s their dream. They want to go through their pro day. They want to go. They all think they’re going to get signed by the NFL, even going to mini camp. Our door is open to all those players. They’re open to even guys in the portal. If they have nowhere to go, it’s open to the JC guys. It’s just a matter, are they good enough to play in our league.”

NFL Interest in UFL Players

Popp also mentioned that NFL teams are closely monitoring the UFL and its players, requesting game footage and asking questions about the athletes.

“We’re getting a lot of NFL teams watching everything. They get every bit of the tape. They’re asking questions. They’re following the players.”

Long-Term Success and Expansion

When asked about the UFL’s long-term plans, Popp emphasized the league’s commitment to steady growth and building a strong fan base. He mentioned that several cities have expressed interest in having UFL teams, and the league is carefully considering its options for expansion while focusing on improving the fan experience in its current markets.

“This whole thing is built for long term success. We have the right people behind it all. It’s taken small steps to get to where we want to go. I think it’s just continuing to look at the different markets of people who want the league, along with the markets that we’re in, to try to establish it, make it better, and then to try to figure out what’s the better niches. We know right now there’s several cities that are just putting a lot of fans in the stands. There’s several cities that we just haven’t cracked the envelope yet, and we’re still trying to figure that out. But there’s several different people out there that do want teams in their cities, and we’re going to have to figure out from the best ability for our league and growing it slowly. But it’s We have a lot planned, and we’re already working on the future years. I think that if we keep the steadiness we’re going and we can continue to build our fan base on TV, that this can be around a long time.”

This quote relates to what we have been reporting, that there are several interested parties interested in a UFL franchise. We have heard from sources that the last two days were filled with high level meetings talking about the UFL’s next steps in season 2. League officials are very happy with the TV numbers, but like Popp said, they are trying to crack the code for locations like Memphis and Michigan.

Rising Star in the USFL

Popp also took the opportunity to praise Zack Potter, the General Manager of the Birmingham Stallions, calling him a “superstar” and noting that NFL teams are already keeping an eye on him.

“Birmingham right now has a young man that’s their GM for a third year. It’s built this team and collaborated fantastic with Coach Holtz named Zack Potter. He’s a superstar. The NFL team is already… He’s on their radar, but he’s a superstar. And whoever gets him is going to have a tremendous employee that’s going to help them win.”

Jim Popp’s interview on McElroy and Cubelic also provided insights into the UFL’s plans for player development, its relationship with the NFL, and its long-term goals for growth and success. You can give it a listen below.

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Mark Perry Editor
Mark Perry, a devoted sports journalist and founder of UFL News Hub, has been a key figure in XFL, USFL and UFL coverage since 2018.

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