Birmingham Stallions Sign Matt Corral and DeMarquis Gates

Breaking Down The Birmingham Stallions 2024 UFL Roster

Full Steed ahead, Birmingham Stallions fans! The inaugural UFL season is fast approaching, and as the Stallions are now down to their final 50, I have prepared a breakdown of every position group.

The two time Champs are seeing plenty of returning members from the 2022 and 2023 USFL seasons. In addition, General Manager Zach Potter made some big name acquisitions the typical NFL fan will be familiar with as well.

Quarterbacks

The Stallions were no stranger to the free agency market this season, signing Adrian Martinez and Matt Corral in a complete QB room overhaul. USFL veteran J’Mar Smith has the most experience of the three, having brought the Stallions to the inaugural Championship in 2022 after an Alex McGough injury thrust him into the starting position. During the Stallions championship run, Smith totaled 1,573 passing yards with 10 touchdowns to 6 interceptions, adding 191 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.

J’mar was named the Stallions starting QB in 2023 as well in a close camp battle, but suffered a brutal hand injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Now as we head into our first UFL season, J’mar is again battling for the starting position in a three headed monster of a QB room.

Matt Corral

In undoubtedly one of the biggest spring football signings ever, the Birmingham Stallions signed former Carolina Panthers QB Matt Corral ahead of the 2024 season.

Matt started his collegiate career with Ole Miss backing up current D.C Defenders QB Jordan Ta’amu, where he saw limited action in four games.

Matt won the starting position in 2019, with a rather lackluster first season as a starter, he threw for 1,362 yards, with 6 touchdowns to 3 interceptions.

Matt shined in 2020 under new HC Lane Kiffin, where his dual threat abilities were used, throwing for 3,337 yards with 29 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, adding 506 yards on the ground and 4 touchdowns, Matt led the team to the Outback Bowl, and won game MVP.

Another stellar season from Matt ended in heartbreak, as he led the Rebels to a 10-2 record, they reached the Sugar Bowl, he declared for the NFL draft and made the decision to not opt out of the game, where he unfortunately suffered a grade 1 high ankle sprain and was carted off the field.

Matt was highly regarded coming into the 2022 NFL draft out of Ole Miss, where many analysts had him projected as a first round pick. Matt was drafted with the 94th pick after he fell to the third round by the Carolina Panthers, where he was poised to serve as the backup, until a Lisfranc injury in the preseason landed him on season ending IR.

Going into the 2023 season, Matt originally made the 53 man roster, but was waived the next day, where he was promptly picked up by the New England Patriots, shortly after, Matt stopped reporting to the Patriots camp, and was then waived, signed to the practice squad, to which the Patriots announced he would no longer be signing with the squad.

On February 13th, the Birmingham Stallions announced they had signed Matt Corral, which created quite the stir on social media, many people thankful for him to be getting the second chance at football after such a rough start to his NFL career. With each UFL team required to carry 3 Quarterbacks, Matt is guaranteed a spot on the roster, and won’t be considered for cuts. He will battle J’mar Smith and Adrian Martinez for the starting position, as the Stallions sit in good position heading into the season.

Adrian Martinez

The Birmingham Stallions signed Adrian ahead of the USFL – XFL merger, Adrian was originally drafted into the USFL by the now defunct New Jersey Generals.

Adrian was the starter at Nebraska from 2018 until 2021, where he transferred to Kansas State, which was running a dual quarterback system during his year there.

Adrian went undrafted in the 2023 NFL draft, signing with the Detroit Lions, but was released during roster cutdowns.

With the signing of Corral, and Smith’s knowledge of the offense along with his longtime relationship with HC Skip Holtz, Adrian could be the odd man out in this offense, potentially being the teams inactive QB3.

Running Backs

The Birmingham Stallions had stellar offensive play last year, what often went unnoticed was how well running back CJ Marable played game after game, rushing for 524 yards and 3 touchdowns in the regular season, and was crucial in the playoffs as well, adding 120 yards on the ground and a touchdown over two games. CJ was also utilized in the receiving game as well, bringing in 235 yards on 28 receptions over the regular season. Look for CJ to head this backfield again heading into the opener.

Ricky Person Jr. is a Stallion you may be unfamiliar with, as he was signed late in the season last year from the IFL’s Massachusetts Pirates, his tough run style and quick feet makes him quite the interesting playing, landing as my RB2 on the team ahead of newly signed RB Larry Rountree, an NFL vet with NFL regular season experience on the Los Angeles Chargers, staying with the team between active roster and practice squad from 2021 to 2023, and the Houston Texans PS for a few weeks in 2023.

The Birmingham Stallions quietly have one of the best backfields in the UFL, and whatever direction they choose to go will surely be an entertaining and fun experience for all fans of the team.

Wide Receivers

The Birmingham Stallions completely rehauled their WR room this offseason, bringing in NFL veteran Amari Rodgers, a third round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers, along with 2023 Championship MVP Deon Cain returning after a stint with the Eagles. Returning receivers for the Birmingham Stallions include Marlon Williams, an integral part of the 2022 Championship run.

Other new additions to the Stallions WR room include Binjimen Victor, Gary Jennings, Isaiah Zuber and Kevin Austin.

This new Stallions WR room has so much new talent and returning pieces it becomes hard to accurately judge who will start the season without any version of depth charts, but do not fret Stallions fans, with a WR having an championship MVP (Deon Cain 23) Marlon Williams returning from an Achilles injury (third in the USFL for reception yards 2022) and multi season NFL experience in that room (Amari Rodgers) it’s hard to envision any problems with this group, besides too much talent to go around.

Tight Ends

The Birmingham Stallions caught a huge break when the arguably best tight end in spring football, Jace Sternberger, came back to the team. Jace led the USFL in receiving touchdowns with seven during the 2023 season. A familiar face with USFL fans will be Marcus Baugh, former Michigan Panthers TE, who started for the Panthers throughout the entire 2023 season.

The Stallions also brought in more NFL talent at the position, with Jordan Thomas, a sixth round pick by the Houston Texans in 2018, where he then started 10 games for the team, bringing in 215 yards and 4 touchdowns over that period. Thomas was with the XFL’s Guardians last year, and made some outstanding catches that year.

It seems almost certain that Jace will be the starter for this group going into the season, and yet again, another position group that seems solid on all ends for the Stallions.

Offensive Line

The Birmingham Stallions currently roster the following offensive linemen.

Christian DiLauro
Darius Harper
Alex Taylor
Derwin Gray
Deonte Brown
Zack Johnson
Matt Kaskey
Cole Schneider

The Stallions had one of the best offensive lines in the USFL last year, and look to build on that, keeping some key starters and upgrading at the position overall. With the release of Cohl Cabral, it appears that Schneider will retain a starting role at Center.

Defensive Line

If any area of improvement was needed for the Stallions last year, it was getting pressure on the Quarterback. Outside of Khalil Davis, they never had “That guy” who would consistently show up, game in and out, thus resulting in a complete overhaul of the position, the most notable of these being DT Carlos Davis, and newly acquired DE Taco Charlton.

Other various transactions at the position (I.E trade, dispersal draft, or signing) include DT Marvin Wilson, Jaylen Twyman, Jonathan Garvin and DaMarcus Mitchell.

The only returning Stallions from the 2023 season are Deondrea Tillman and Jordan Thompson on the defensive line. With a lot of NFL and USFL starting talent, expect this new look UFL defensive line to create much more pressure up front for the team in 2024.

Linebackers

Similar to their defensive line, the Stallions had issues at this position all season long, leading to them upgrading at the position, acquiring All-USFL LB Kyahva Tezino, along with 2022 All-USFL linebacker DeMarquis Gates, who spent the last two seasons on the Chicago Bears.

The Stallions retained the face of their defense in Scooby Wright, a spring football icon, while also keeping Elijah Sullivan. Former Chargers LB Damon Lloyd also made the 50 man roster, which was a late season acquisition by the Stallions after former LB Quinten Poling was placed on the suspended list, Damon remained on the inactive roster throughout the playoffs.

Secondary

The Birmingham Stallions search for All-USFL talent didn’t stop at linebackers, as they brought in 2023 All-USFL CB Mark Gilbert, the entire Stallions secondary, with many returning pieces, is as follows.

Mark Gilbert / CB
Chris Jackson / CB
Nevelle Clarke / CB
Lorenzo Burns / CB
Madre Harper / CB
Ike Brown / CB
Kenny Robinson / S
Daniel Isom / S
JoJo Tillery / S
A.J. Thomas / S

The only returning Stallion in the cornerbacks group is Lorenzo Burns, who was with the Stallions in 22 and 23, he recorded 2 interceptions in the 2022 season, and appeared in 9 games, starting 4 in 2023. To USFL fans, Nevelle Clarke should be an easily recognizable name, as he was the New Orleans Breakers starting CB in 2022 and 23, racking up 3 interceptions and 41 tackles during his time there. The Stallions signed Madre Harper in October of last year, and selected him during the dispersal draft.

Ike Brown returns to this scene, after spending time with the Las Vegas Raiders. USFL fans will remember his stellar 2022 campaign with the New Orleans Breakers. Chris Jackson brings plenty of NFL experience to the table, and should be someone who sees quality minutes this year.

Safeties

Kenny Robinson is such a cool spring football story that you look for within every team. After unfortunate circumstances at college, Kenny made the decision to jump ship to professional football to provide for his family, joining the 2020 STL Battlehawks. Even though COVID-19 canceled the rest of the season, Kenny was drafted into the NFL by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round, and remained on the team for three years.

Back with the team for season three is JoJo Tillery, the Stallions starting safety in 22, and missed a lot of time in 23 due to injury. Tillery had an outstanding game in the 2023 Championship. Daniel Isom is a Stallions dispersal draft addition, having been signed to the Philadelphia Stars before the merger. A.J. Thomas is also a solid addition, who joined Birmingham this offseason.

This safety group has plenty of NFL talent and experience around to take them to the next level, and yet again, the Stallions improve with more NFL talent at every position possible.

Special Teams

The loss of Brandon Aubrey to the Dallas Cowboys is the most notable, and only change to the Stallions specialist trio, with the Stallions retaining All-USFL P Colby Wadman and All-USFL LS Ryan Langan. In replacement of Aubrey, the Stallions signed K Chris Blewitt, former Pittsburgh Mauler. Funny enough, Chris is the only one to score points against the Stallions in the Championship game, going 4/4 on field goals.

Chris was 21/25 on field goals and 10/13 on XPs in 2023. While he’s not exactly Brandon Aubrey, expect consistency from Chris, and the ability to perform in big and clutch moments.

Final Thoughts

I have truly never seen a Championship team shuffle their entire roster like this before, and somehow look even better than the previous iterations. The Birmingham Stallions brought in so much recognizable talent that even a casual NFL only fan could get into it. On the back of HC Skip Holtz, the Stallions again remain the team to beat in the USFL conference, their recruiting and talent is almost unmatched. To all Stallions fans, this team is and will be special, but only time can tell if they will three-peat.

Making these decisions were certainly not easy. The Stallions made cuts on March 10th, and March 22nd, to finalize these 50 athletes for the season.

For a full breakdown of the 2024 coaching staff, click here.

What are your thoughts on the Birmingham Stallions roster for the 2024 UFL season? Which players will stand out this year? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

Fubo