As week 18 comes to an end in the NFL season many USFL and XFL players made their final appearances after playing almost 12 consecutive months of football. With over 170 players earning contracts from the 2022 and 2023 seasons coupled with players from 2019 and 2020 from the AAF and XFL 2.0, Spring Football players continue to make an impact in the present while also setting their eyes on the future.

USFL 2022 to 2023

Brandon Aubrey Kicker Dallas Cowboys Birmingham Stallions 2022-2023

The story has been told over and over again but yet never gets old. Aubrey goes from soccer player to Stallion to now pro bowl kicker for the Dallas Cowboys. While his week 18 performance may be a bit forgettable for his first 16 games in the NFL Aubrey did not miss a Field Goal. Aubrey finishes the season 36/38 on FGs, and 49/52 on Extra Points.

KaVontae Turpin Wide Receiver Dallas Cowboys New Jersey Generals 2022

The 1st “modern” USFL player to earn a Pro Bowl selection, Turpin’s role expanded in 2023 on the offensive side of the ball earning more touches (12 Receptions, 11 Rushes) enroute to 4 TDs in 2023. Though not as dynamic in the return game in 2023, Turpin has amassed over 1400 All-Purpose yards in his Two years in Dallas.

Tucker Addington Long Snapper Washington Commanders Houston Gamblers 2022

Addington for Two consecutive years has been asked to finish out the NFL season as the team’s starting Long Snapper. Addington spent 2022 with the Cowboys and Patriots, while spending the final part of the season Long Snapping for the Washington Commanders.

Jeremiah Pharms Defensive Lineman New England Patriots Pittsburgh Maulers 2022

Pharms has an amazing story that stems from the NAIA division of Football from the CIF, to USFL, to eventually being apart of the New England Patriots Defensive Line Rotation. After spending 2022 on the practice squad, Pharms eventually earn a spot off the Patriots 53-man roster appearing in 12 games in 2023. Pharms finished the season with 9 tackles and a fumble recovery in his 2nd NFL season.

Tae Hayes Defensive Back New York Jets Birmingham Stallions 2022

Hayes might be one of the more well traveled USFL players on this list. Hayes has spent time with 5 organizations since coming out of the USFL in 2022 appearing in 8 games for the Panthers, Patriots, and Jets. While Hayes spent the majority of the year on Practice Squads, he did manage to help the Jets beat the Eagles in an improbable upset earlier in the year.

Mitch Fraboni Long Snapper Denver Broncos Pittsburgh Maulers 2022

Fraboni was a mid-season signing for the Broncos after their Long Snapper Jacob Bobenmeyer was out with an injury for Four weeks in 2022. Fraboni rejoined the Broncos in 2023 proving himself to be a capable member of the Broncos special teams group.

Micah Abernathy Defensive Back Atlanta Falcons Houston Gamblers 2022

Abernathy has managed to stick around the NFL the last Two seasons since leaving the USFL. Originally one of two 2022 USFL players to make the 53-Man roster after training camp last year. Abernathy has appeared in 14 games for the Falcons and Packers since rejoining the NFL, registering 8 tackles in his career. Abernathy is also a member of the Dallas Renegades from the 2020 XFL.

Domenique Davis Defensive Line Cincinnati Bengals Houston Gamblers 2022

Davis was another 2022 USFL player who stayed around in 2023. Davis appeared in Two games registering Three tackles for the Bengals in 2022, and spent 2023 inactive with the team. Davis was signed to the active roster in late December, however was released and then re-signed to the practice squad.

Josh Pederson Tight End Jacksonville Jaguars Houston Gamblers 2022-2023

Pederson was a late season signing in 2022 by the Gamblers and really came into his with Houston in 2023. Pederson would become one of the 1st 2023 USFL players signed joining his father with the Jaguars. Pederson would eventually be elevated from the practice squad Three times appearing in 21 snaps across his Three game cameo.

Alex Akingbulu Offensive Line Washington Commanders Philadelphia Stars 2022

Akingbulu spent all of 2022 on the Commanders PS/Inactive list, only to be retained on Washington’s Practice Squad once again in 2023. After receiving an inactive elevation for week 9, Akingbulu would finally make his NFL debut in week 17, while also playing in week 18 as well.

Maurice Alexander Wide Receiver Detroit Lions Philadelphia Stars 2022

Alexander saw his role in 2023 take a step back after appearing Four games for the Lions in 2022. While the former FIU Alum has earned a nice living in the NFL for 2023, he spent the entire regular season on the practice squad during the Lions push for the playoffs.

Alex McGough Quarterback Green Bay Packers Birmingham Stallions 2022-2023

After earning the starting job in 2022, getting hurt and then coming back for 2023 enroute to his MVP season Alex McGough would earn an NFL contract with the Green Bay Packers in 2023. McGough would spend the season as the Packers QB3 backing up Jordan Love and Sean Clifford for 2023.

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Austin Watkins Wide Receiver Cleveland Browns Birmingham Stallions 2023

Watkins did receive an elevation for Cleveland however did not see the field with the Browns. The former Stallion exploded on social media with a strong preseason, and should be a candidate for a futures deal in 2024. Watkins had 197 yards on 16 receptions for Birmingham in the 2023 USFL season.

Davion Davis Wide Receiver Washington Commanders Birmingham Stallions 2023

Davis did a bit of a tour on three NFL teams Practice Squads in 2023. His football journey began with the Houston Roughnecks, before signing with the Birmingham Stallions for the USFL season. Davis would then spend time with the Cardinals, Texans, and then was recently signed with the Washington Commanders on January 2nd for the final week of the season.

Kaden Davis Wide Receiver Arizona Cardinals Michigan Panthers 2023

Another Davis in Arizona, Kaden Davis out of Northwest Missouri State would spend the whole 2023 season with the Cardinals on their practice squad. Davis was elevated on December 23rd for Arizona however did not see action. Not bad for a mid season signing by Mike Nolan for the Michigan Panthers.

Levi Bell Defensive End Seattle Seahawks Michigan Panthers 2023

Bell was a 2023 Rookie Draft Pick for Michigan who joined the team midway through the 2023 USFL season. Bell would end up having a strong preseason with the Seahawks earning a practice squad spot for 2023 and spending the whole season with Seattle.

Josh Butler Defensive Back Dallas Cowboys Michigan Panthers 2023

Butler became a lock-down corner in USFL finding his way to Dallas. Though he didn’t receive an elevation for the Cowboys, Butler was able to remain on Dallas’ practice squad for the whole season. Butler totaled 29 tackles in his lone USFL season.

Khalil Davis Defensive Lineman Houston Texans Birmingham Stallions 2023

Davis has emerged as one of the USFL’s best stories in the 2023 season. The former Nebraska alum amassed 32 Tackles, 2.0 Sacks, and a Forced Fumble enroute to helping the Texans to a playoff berth. Davis appeared in 15 games and would earn a spot on Houston’s 53 Man Roster.

LaBryan Ray Defensive Lineman Carolina Panthers Philadelphia Stars 2023

Ray was one of Two USFL players from the 2023 class to earn a spot on an Active Roster after training camp. The Alabama alum appeared in all 17 games this season totaling 19 tackles in his second season as a professional.

La’Michael Pettway Tight End New England Patriots Michigan Panthers/Birmingham Stallions 2022-2023

Pettway has had a wild journey in his pro football career since coming out of Iowa State in 2020. Between the Spring League in 2021, Pettway spent 2022 with the Michigan Panthers and then earned a championship with the Birmingham Stallions in 2023. After earning a contract in August of 2023 with the Colts and injury found him on the waiver wire on August 17th. Pettway recently found his way back in the NFL on December 27th earning a contract with the New England Patriots and was recently signed to a Two-Year deal by New England on January 6th.

Frank Ginda Linebacker Atlanta Falcons Michigan Panthers 2022-2023

Ginda has been all over since coming out of San Jose State. The 2023 USFL DPOY, had multiple NFL stints in addition to spending time in the AAF, and XFL 2.0. After putting together two consecutive seasons as one of the USFL’s top Linebackers Ginda would sign a contract with the Falcons only to be released at the end of training camp. Ginda would once again be signed by the Falcons on November 28th as a member of their practice squad where he finished out the 2023 NFL season.

EJ Perry Quarterback Jacksonville Jaguars Michigan Panthers 2023

After spending training camp with the Houston Texans, Perry managed to finish out the 2023 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars after an injury to Trevor Lawerence. While Perry’s future in Jacksonville remains murky, the Ivy-League QB has carved himself out with a nice living since coming out of college in 2022.

Matt Hankins Defensive Back Los Angeles Chargers Birmingham Stallions 2023

Hankins was a late signing by Birmingham in 2023, having an immediate impact during the team’s win against the Houston Gamblers. Hankins who spent time with the Falcons in 2022, would earn a practice squad opportunity with the LA Chargers in 2023. After being released for a WR, Hankins finished the season with LA in line for a futures deal in 2024.

DJ Montgomery Wide Receiver Indianapolis Colts Michigan Panthers 2023

Montgomery joined the Panthers mid-season during the teams playoff push. The former Austin Peay WR, would latch on with the Colts after 2023 training camp, Montgomery would receive several elevations eventually joining the Colts 53-Man roster. Montgomery totaled 3 Receptions for 56 Yards and a Touchdown during the 2023 NFL season.

Arnold “Tre” Tarpley Defensive Back Atlanta Falcons Pittsburgh Maulers 2022-2023

Tarpley had waited Two Seasons in the USFL before earning a practice squad contract with the Atlanta Falcons. In Two USFL seasons Tarpley totaled 85 Tackles, and 4 Interceptions in his time with the Maulers. Tarpley was also be apart of the AAF’s Memphis Express.

USFL Short Stints:

Trey Quinn (WR Michigan Panthers), Brandon Wright (P Memphis Showboats), Nehemiah Shelton (DB Memphis Showboats), Lorenzo Burns (DB Birmingham Stallions), Devin Ross (WR Michigan Panthers), and 22′ Alum DeMarquis Gates (LB Birmingham Stallions) all spent time on NFL rosters with Gates spending several weeks on the Bears active roster. Gates appeared in 5 games recording a tackle and recovering a fumble. Wright, Ross, Shelton, and Burns all signed contracts to return to the USFL prior to the dispersal draft.

While the above list is contains only the USFL that saw time on NFL rosters in 2023, it’s important to note that the USFL alone has seen over 100 players since 2022 earn an NFL opportunity. Last season close to 30 players were signed to NFL payrolls at the same time with the league consistently averaging over 20 players rostered throughout the NFL. With the XFL and USFL merging for 2024, it’s not out of the question to see the league send over 100 players to the NFL in 2024.

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Patrick Rifino

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