Breaking Down The Memphis Showboats 2024 UFL Roster | Case Cookus

Breaking Down The Memphis Showboats 2024 UFL Roster

While the Memphis Showboats fell short of expectations in the USFL back in 2023, fans are getting their hopes up for what lies ahead in the UFL this year – and rightfully so. Across the board, this organization has hit the refresh button, in a positive way.

First and foremost, the coaching staff is nearly entirely different. John DeFilippo came over from the New Orleans Breakers, and brought most of his personnel in the process. In fact, the only returning member is Defensive Coordinator Carnell Lake, who could make a case for being the best coach on Todd Haley’s staff last year.

Additionally, the roster will look quite a bit different. For fans in Memphis, there will be several big names that you probably won’t recognize. Let’s take a look at who’s rostered right now, breaking it all down group by group.

Quarterbacks

Case Cookus
Troy Williams
Josh Love

The Memphis Showboats will feature a brand new quarterback room in 2024. Before fans start to panic – don’t worry – this is a good thing. There have been upgrades made across the board by this organization, starting with Case Cookus.

Cookus was selected by the team early on in the USFL Dispersal Draft, and for good reason. Case has consistently been one of the top quarterbacks in the spring football scene. After taking over for Bryan Scott in the 2022 season, Cookus led this team to the Championship – and had them in a position to top Birmingham before breaking his leg.

While Cookus hasn’t been named the official starter yet, it seems pretty clear that he will be QB1 on gameday. Through two seasons, he’s thrown for over 3,600 yards and 27 touchdowns. Additionally, Case is more mobile than people give him credit for. He’s rushed for 494 yards in his USFL career.

Williams & Love

Troy Williams is no slouch, either. John DeFilippo has said that he’s gotten “better and better” every day in camp. Williams was with the Pittsburgh Maulers in 2023, and led the team in both passing and rushing yards.

It would not be surprising to see Troy utilized in this offense at times, especially considering his mobility. He showed signs of growth throughout last season, and one can only imagine how potent he could be in a better offensive system, like DeFilippo’s.

Josh Love replaced Cole Kelley, which came as a surprise to some. However, Love is more mobile than Kelley, and is honestly the better choice at QB3. Cole came into camp out of shape, and his lack of mobility simply did not mesh well with the offense Memphis is trying to run this year.

Running Backs

Darius Victor
Trey Williams
Titus Swen

The running backs look entirely different this year as well, highlighted by Darius Victor. Victor has been one of the USFL’s top playmakers through two seasons, and won 2022 Offensive Player of the Year honors with the New Jersey Generals.

For those of us who have watched him play the last two years, we know what he brings to the table. Darius is a stocky runner whose low center of gravity allows him to truck defenders every play. Victor also has sneaky speed, which was on full display last year on a couple of breakaway touchdown scampers.

Trey Williams also joins the fold as one of the underrated RB’s in spring football as a whole. Trey is a veteran who played in the AAF, XFL, and USFL. He was actually the USFL’s second leading rusher in 2022. While the Generals did not utilize him as often in 2023, he still averaged 5.8YPC and has a lot left in the tank. Titus Swen was an offseason addition out of Wyoming, and is the type of prospect who could develop quite nicely in the spring football scene.

Wide Receivers

Daewood Davis
Dee Anderson
Diondre Overton
Jonathan Adams
Lee Morris
Vinny Papale

Only one wide receiver returns to the roster this year for Memphis. Vinny Papale is back, after – funny enough – having signed with DeFilippo’s Breakers in the offseason. Papale is the exact type of player you want on a team. He’s a hustler who will do a bit of everything, including special teams.

Highlighting the new arrivals is Jonathan Adams and Daewood Davis. Adams has been stellar with the Breakers the last two years, but could be primed for an even better season in 2024. Memphis personnel has spoken on how he looks “faster than ever” in Training Camp.

Daewood Davis is an under-the-radar name in the UFL, one who could easily break out as a top prospect in the league. He’s fresh off an NFL training camp opportunity with the Dolphins, and is another player who multiple coaches in Memphis have spoken highly of.

Diondre Overton has always been underrated in this scene, and made some big-time plays for the Philadelphia Stars through two seasons there. If he’s consistently targeted from week to week, don’t be surprised if his numbers skyrocket for Memphis. He already has chemistry with Cookus.

Lee Morris and Dee Anderson both saw larger roles with the Breakers in 2023, and that trend is expected to continue this season.

Tight Ends

Sage Surratt
Jay Jay Wilson
Wes Saxton Jr.

Sage Surratt is a new face that Memphis fans might recognize. He played with the Breakers in 2023, and was extremely productive, especially early in the season. Surratt finished the year with 552 receiving yards and a touchdown. Expect him to be TE1 in DeFilippo’s offense once again.

Jay Jay Wilson did some excellent work with Memphis last year (170 yards, 1 TD), and has re-earned a roster spot with this team. When it comes to the skill positions, Wilson and Papale are the only returning members. Wes Saxton Jr. is also a new addition, who spent the 2023 USFL season in New Jersey.

Offensive Line

Alec Lindstrom
Darrin Paulo
James Tunstall
Jared Thomas
Jarron Jones
Jordan McCray
Leka Uhatafe
Terrone Prescod
Terry Poole

The two-time All-USFL OG Jarron Jones is back in business, to no one’s surprise. He’s been one of the top lineman in the spring scene, and will no doubt lead this group in 2024. Jordan McCray and Terrone Prescod are also returning pieces for Memphis.

Alec Lindstrom and James Tunstall are a couple of guys who have yet to play in a spring football league, but are bound to make an impact this year. Darrin Paulo, Leka Uhatafe, Terry Poole, and Jared Thomas all have USFL experience, and Poole was All-USFL in 2022 with the New Jersey Generals.

Overall, this unit has been strengthened through the Dispersal Draft process, and should provide Cookus with proper protection.

Defensive Line

Connor Christian
Dillon Faamatau
Daylon Mack
Greg Reaves
Jeff McCulloch
John Atkins Sr.
Josiah Bronson
Max Roberts
P.J. Hall
Tyshun Render

In the trenches, the Memphis Showboats will be led by DT John Atkins Sr., who was All-USFL a year ago. Atkins has been tremendous in the USFL, with 55 tackles and 3.5 sacks through two seasons. DC Carnell Lake has also praised Daylon Mack – who is returning from an injury – as someone to watch this year.

Connor Christian comes over from New Orleans after totaling 15 tackles and 1.5 sacks last year. P.J. Hall, Max Roberts, and Josiah Bronson are all new additions who bring depth to this line. Safety Jarey Elder said in an interview this week that they believe they have the best line in the UFL.

Jeff McCulloch and Greg Reaves are back, which is excellent news. The two were phenomenal stopping the run and coming off the edge over the past couple of years in Tampa Bay and Memphis.

A newcomer who hasn’t gotten enough attention is Tyshun Render. Render was having a stellar campaign with the New Jersey Generals last year, prior to suffering a season ending injury. Expect Render to make some big plays with the amount of talent surrounding him in Memphis.

Linebackers

Anthony Butler
Jordan Ferguson
Malik Lewal
T.J. Neal
Vontae Diggs

Anthony Butler, Malik Lewal, and T.J. Neal are all back in action with the Showboats. The team retained four of their key linebackers from a year ago, with Butler leading the way posting 47 tackles and an interception. Jordan Ferguson also returns, after spending some time with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL preseason. Ferguson is a DE/LB hybrid, similar to McCulloch and Reaves.

Vontae Diggs is such an important addition to this defense. He has been nothing but a vocal leader on and off the field for the Breakers the past two seasons, and now brings his talents to Memphis. The former All-USFL LB could easily have another all-star caliber year, especially considering how stacked this group is across the board.

Secondary

Delrick Abrams Jr.
Nehemiah Shelton
Quenton Meeks
T.J. Green

The secondary room for Memphis surprisingly stays the same for the most part, at least for the defensive backs. Starting with Delrick Abrams, he started in all ten games for Memphis a year ago, totaling 34 tackles.

Quenton Meeks and T.J. Green were both playmakers as well, with Green turning up the intensity down the stretch of the season as someone who stood out to Todd Haley, who was the head coach at the time. Green had started the year in Birmingham, but moved to Memphis and ended up starting in two games.

Nehemiah Shelton was a USFL College Draft Pick, who signed with the Showboats midway through the year. After spending some time with the New York Jets, he’s back in Memphis for the UFL season.

Safeties

Christian McFarland
Jarey Elder
Kyree Woods
Lamont McPhatter II

This safety group is bound for great things this year. Kyree Woods is back, and is fully healthy. Woods was the top graded PFF player in the entire USFL last year through six weeks, but an injury cut his campaign short. Lamont McPhatter was also with the Showboats in 2023, and is a young prospect that Lake wants to see step up this year.

Jarey Elder is not a surprising name to see on this roster in Memphis. He was such a key piece to John DeFilippo’s defense in New Orleans a year ago, and is versatile as a punt returner as well. Elder has recorded 94 tackles, a sack, and two interceptions in his USFL career so far.

Christian McFarland brings a Championship-caliber resume to this team. He’s won back-to-back Championships with the Birmingham Stallions, and now will join a stout room in Memphis after going unprotected by Birmingham. I’m sure McFarland is eyeing that first matchup against the Stallions on his schedule.

Special Teams

K Matt Coghlin
P Matt White
LS Turner Bernard

With John DeFilippo coming to Memphis, he brought his entire special teams unit over to the team for the 2024 UFL season. Alex Kessman, Brandon Wright, and Ryan DiSalvo were all released.

At kicker, Matt Coghlin was sensational in the USFL last year. He was 18-19 on field goal attempts, with a long of 55 yards. His consistency wasn’t talked about enough, and it’s surprising he didn’t get a legitimate NFL look.

Matt White has a big leg, and that was on full display in the USFL. In 2023, he averaged 45.1 yards per punt, with 10 of those attempts traveling 50 or more yards.

The New Orleans Breakers had one of the top special teams units in the USFL, which wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of Turner Bernard (90% strike rate), who joins his former teammates in Memphis. While the Showboats had a good group last year, moving to the Breakers specialists is by no means a bad thing.

Final Thoughts

The USFL Conference will be an intriguing battle to watch unfold. Many would expect Birmingham to retain their top spot given the success – and chemistry – they already have.

That said, if any team has a chance to dethrone them this year, Memphis is at the top of the list on the USFL side. This roster has been constructed piece by piece with new management, and it’s a much better team than a season ago.

It was by no means easy to get to this point. Memphis made cuts on March 10th and March 23rd to finalize their 50 man group. They will kick off their season on the road in Houston, Sunday March 31st.

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

What are your thoughts on this Memphis Showboats UFL roster heading towards the season? Will they make a Championship run? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!