The UFL has announced its first All-UFL list for the 2024 season. After watching the USFL and XFL merge this offseason speculation was this league would be the most competitive spring league yet. Buoyed by three seasons of growing a reputation among players of being a springboard to the NFL, it seems these hunches were correct. 

In 2023 the Stallions placed four players on the All-USFL team last season including quarterback Alex McGough who went on to stick with the Green Bay Packers in 2023. This list also featured Jace Sternberger who repeated this feat in 2024. This is the first player the Stallions have watched be named to the All-League team in back-to-back seasons, in fact shockingly enough he becomes the first Stallions player to win the award twice in three seasons. 

All-UFL List

Adrian Martinez, QB

Jace Sternberger, TE

Zach Johnson, OG

Carlos Davis, DT

Aj Thomas, Safety

Adrian Martinez 

Martinez is likely going to be the UFL MVP when the award is announced, it would have been a lapse in judgment if he wasn’t voted into the All-UFL team. He has not only been the most electric quarterback but possibly the most electric player in the league. 

Martinez finished the season completing 134 of 229 passing attempts (58.5%) 1,749 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He did his fair share of damage on the ground as well with 54 carries for 528 yards, and 3 touchdowns. 

He finished third in passing yards, tied for second in passing touchdowns, he had the highest yards per pass attempt of any player with more than 36 pass attempts. In the rushing category, he led the league in rushing yards despite being the only player in the top twelve rushers to carry the ball less than 72 times. He had 54 carries and finished with 9.8 yards per carry the highest in the league for any player who had carried the ball more than once. Leaving him off this list would have invalidated the entire list. 

Jace Sternberger 

Sternberger is the first player in the modern Stallions history that has been named to an All-League list in back-to-back seasons and he managed that feat while playing in two different leagues. 

Sternberger finished 6th in overall reception yards. He managed to do so on only 25 catches averaging 18.2 yards per reception. He has found the endzone four times as well. In an offense full of playmakers Sternberger became the big play threat. Some people will question why it’s Sternberger, but to see a tight end do the damage he did this year despite limited targets sets him apart from the pack. 

Zack Johnson

Zack Johnson allowed just one sack on 309 pass-blocking snaps. He committed just one penalty in ten games, allowing a total of 2 QB hits. He allowed pressure on 14 snaps or 4% of snaps. graded his overall performance at a 50.8, however, I have to wonder if their grading scale takes into account that they are grading UFL players and not NFL players. His best games of the season came in weeks 3, 4, and 10 all three of weird she graded out 78 or higher. One thing to take into account is that Johnson not only started at right guard but he also played 70 snaps at center. 

Carlos Davis

Carlos Davis is a monster among men when he steps on a football field. While this monster was apprehensive about the USFL at first he attended 5 games and watched as his brother played in the league before signing with the NFL. Now Carlos looks to follow the same path, right after he too gets a ring. 

Davis has produced this season despite a change in coordinators on defense. He has been tutored by Bill Johnson. Johnson spent 18 seasons coaching NFL defensive lines. Then he transitioned back to college where he the next three seasons assisting young players into the NFL for LSU. 

Johnson has helped Davis take his game to the next level and it could have been exactly what the doctor ordered for Davis’s future with an NFL franchise. Davis did himself a favor on that front by playing on some special teams units to maximize his value to the Stallions he saw time on punt return, field goal block, and field goal kicking units. This should help his case with NFL teams showing he can contribute in ways that may be slightly untraditional. 

Per Davis graded out 74.7 overall with an 83.5 grade in the pass rush department. He produced 20 pressures on a total of 245 pass rush snaps. He produced 7 sacks with his best games coming in weeks 1 and 3. In the first three games of the season, Davis produced 15 pressures, 6 sacks, 6 hurries, and 2 additional quarterback hits. He missed just 2 tackles all season long. He also displayed versatility playing outside, over the A, and B gap, and over the tackle at times. Essentially at 320 pounds, we saw Davis play everything from 1 technique to 5 technique. 

A.J. Thomas 

Thomas was a player I was excited about before the season. Anytime I see a 6’2, 215-220 pound safety, let alone one that can play the free or strong safety positions, drop in coverage, or come up in the box and help stop the run I can’t help but be intrigued. He played 70 snaps in the box, 240 at free safety, 30 as a slot defender, and 2 as an outside cornerback. 

He is a jack of all trades who could honestly even add ten pounds and make the move full-time to weakside linebacker at the NFL level. I would love to have seen him operate in the box more often in 2024. Not only did he play defense but he played 118 special teams snaps again showing how versatile he could be. He saw time on the kick return and kick coverage units, the punt return, and punt coverage units as well as the field goal block units. The only unit he didn’t appear on was the field goal-kicking unit which if he does someday move to linebacker would likely be added to his resume as well. 

Per Thomas has graded out favorably this season with a 71.7 overall and 70.5 in coverage. He was credited with 4 missed tackles on the year, and 1 penalty but had 5 stops. He was targeted 7 times allowing just 2 receptions for 20 yards and only 4 yards after the catch. Meanwhile, he logged 3 interceptions, and 2 pass breakups. 

Thomas in my opinion is one of those players that is a perfect depth piece for an NFL team. He can play nearly every special team’s unit, he can play no less than 3 different positions on defense, and if you want to get creative no less than five positions. His versatility is nearly unrivaled at this level and he could be a name to watch to sign an NFL contract and stick the latest Stallions player to latch on due to his special teams prowess. 

Exclusive List, Leaves League with Glaring Snubs 

Given that the league chose to only release one list some players should have gotten the nod but were bumped off the list by others. I will not argue the virtue of any players making the list. 

I will however argue that the league should have continued doing an All-USFL, and All-XFL list. Perhaps you still do one main All-UFL list, then use the All-USFL/All-XFL lists similar to the CFL Divisional all-star lists. You can even go an extra step and call the players that font make the All-UFL list as second-team All-UFL. 

This would not only create a larger list but it would avoid snubbing obvious players. Luis Perez, and Sal Cannela, come to mind as obvious All-XFL Players. If there was an All-USFL list I think guys like Ricky Person, Deon Cain, and Kyahava Tezino get on that list or at least receive heavy consideration. Regardless I believe this is an adjustment the league should consider long term. 

It would be tough to make happen, but I would like to see an All-XFL vs All-USFL game after the Championship game. Give the top players in the league a chance to earn one extra game check while giving the league an event they can sell to fans of every team while having it right there in Arlington. Give each guy a plaque or something to commemorate the nomination, and an extra game check and you might be surprised how far that goes in making players even happier with the UFL and its current setup. You would have to allow players to opt out of the game for NFL contracts/workouts to ensure the league isn’t holding players back. 

If you’re a fan of the UFL make sure you’re tuning in every weekend to Shady Sports Network where we discuss topics like: Should the UFL have an All-XFL and All-USFL list still? Were the yearly award winners the right choice? IF YOU could relocate one UFL Franchise where would it be and why? Let us know your thoughts live every Saturday!

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Sam Just

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