Birmingham Stallions Re-Sign DE Dondrea Tillman For 2024

Birmingham Stallions Re-Sign DE Dondrea Tillman For 2024

The Birmingham Stallions landed another big fish last week in their quest to three-peat. Defensive end Dondrea Tillman, whose contract was set to expire at the end of the month, has re-signed with the team.

2022 Season

The Stallions had one of the best USFL defenses—if not the best—in 2022, and their defensive line was a huge part of that. The Stallions allowed the fewest yards per game and the second-fewest points per game. Up front, they only allowed 95.5 yards per game on the ground (good enough for second in the league) and led the league with 27 sacks (2.7 sacks per game).

Dondrea Tillman was a major reason for that success. As a starting defensive end for the Stallions from week one, he became one of the Stallions’ most productive players. Throughout the season, he registered 40 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and deflected six passes.

Tillman and company were able to lead the Stallions to a USFL Championship victory in their first season together. And fortunately for the Stallions, Tillman returned for another dominant campaign in 2023.

2023 Season

Although the Stallions’ defensive unit struggled more in 2023, Tillman continued to be a bright spot, picking up from where he left off in 2022. He finished his 2023 campaign with 35 tackles, five tackles for loss, five sacks, and seven pass deflections.

However, those stats fail to give a complete picture of Tillman’s dominance. For example, Tillman only had five sacks, but in the final five games of the regular season alone, he had 30 quarterback pressures. It is safe to say Tillman lived in the backfield, terrorizing opposing quarterbacks all season.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Tillman was the Stallions top graded player in 2023. His 90.0 grade qualified as “elite.” He was the fifth-highest-graded player in the USFL and the second-highest defensive end. PFF also broke his performance down further:

  • He had an 18.4% pass-rush win rate (fourth highest among USFL defensive ends).
  • He had a 16.1% quarterback pressure rate (fifth highest).
  • He had a 24.5% positively graded run-snap percentage (second highest).
  • He had 14 run stops (third most).
  • He only missed 3% of tackles (tied for second).

In other words, Tillman was a top-five defensive end in every meaningful statistic this past year, whether facing the pass or the run. It is hard to overstate what he meant to the team in their second consecutive championship run.

2024 Season

Although Tillman was a prime candidate for the NFL, he unfortunately was not signed this offseason. He did have a workout with the Atlanta Falcons, but they chose to go a different direction.

This has led him to renew his contract with the Birmingham Stallions. In this case, the NFL’s loss is the Stallions’ gain. Skip Holtz and company are undoubtedly thrilled to get Tillman back for at least one more year. After posting 75 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and 13 pass deflections in two years, Tillman will look to continue his dominance in 2024.

What are your thoughts on Dondrea Tillman re-signing with the Birmingham Stallions? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!