Spring football veteran, running back Trey Williams, is likely in need of a new home. Williams has played for the New Jersey Generals for the past two USFL seasons, but it appears that the plan is to move onto another organization in 2024, wherever that may be.
There is a potential suitor, who just so happened to play in the same hub this year: the Pittsburgh Maulers.
Trey Williams could be an excellent fit for the Pittsburgh Maulers, for a plethora of reasons. Their scheme desperately needs the addition of an explosive threat in the backfield, such as Trey.
Let’s take a look at where Pittsburgh is currently positioned in this area, and what Williams can bring to the team if signed.
Pittsburgh’s Rushing Struggles
Currently, the Pittsburgh Maulers have three running backs on their roster:
Duane Gary Garrett Groshek Madre London
The two featured backs are London and Groshek, who took the majority of snaps for the Maulers in 2023. Gary was inactive for part of the season, only playing in four games. In his limited action, Gary performed well – rushing for 67 yards and averaging 5.1 YPC.
The 2022 USFL season as a whole was quite trying for Pittsburgh. They finished with a 1-9 record, dead last in the North Division.
In 2023, Pittsburgh shocked mostly everyone with a Championship run. Despite a 4-6 record, they won the North Division, ultimately appearing in the USFL Championship against Birmingham.
While the Maulers took major strides forward in multiple areas, one factor was far from ideal: their backfield.
Both Groshek and London saw a dip in production, beginning with total carries. Groshek only had 77 rushing attempts in the 2023 season, while London had 66.
Of course, their numbers were down due to less attention. However, their rushing averages were lower across the board. Groshek posted only 209 rushing yards, averaging 2.7 YPC. Meanwhile, London wasn’t much better, with 254 yards, averaging 3.8 YPC. The duo combined for just two touchdowns in 2023.
Interestingly enough, Pittsburgh was 4th in the USFL this year averaging 98.9 rushing yards per game. Most of this production came from QB Troy Williams, who led the Maulers with 341 yards on the ground, averaging 5.7 YPC. In addition, he scored three rushing touchdowns.
Take away Troy’s numbers, and the Pittsburgh Maulers ground game was quite weak. There are a couple of factors that played into this:
1) Pittsburgh’s Offensive Line – Throughout the year, Pittsburgh dealt with inconsistent play from their line. This was partially due to injuries. A couple of late additions in Terry Poole and Leon Johnson helped down the stretch.
2) Similar Styles – Both London and Groshek are downhill backs. They have nearly identical games, with neither featuring much shiftiness or explosiveness. Their job is to wear down defenses, which is something they both do efficiently.
Trey Williams: The Missing Piece?
This is exactly where Trey Williams fits in. Williams is one of spring football’s most underrated running backs. Despite being with three different organizations in three leagues, he’s consistently put up outstanding numbers.
His spring career began in the Alliance Of American Football, playing for Mike Riley’s San Antonio Commanders. There, he ran for 205 yards and a touchdown in eight games, averaging 5.1 YPC.
— Torcedor do San Antonio Commanders (5-2) (@SACommandersBr) March 25, 2019
Williams then moved onto the XFL in 2020, with the Seattle Dragons. This was arguably his worst year in spring football, where he still rushed for a respectable 122 yards and a touchdown in five games, averaging 3.6 YPC.
Trey Williams then reunited with Head Coach Mike Riley in the USFL, with the New Jersey Generals. During the 2022 season, Williams was electrifying, rushing for 579 yards (2nd in the league) on 118 carries. He averaged 4.9 YPC, and scored two touchdowns.
One of his major highlights came in week ten against the Philadelphia Stars, where Williams ripped off a 61 yard touchdown run in the win.
Something that isn't being talked about enough: @twll3 finished the @USFL's season second in rushing yards. Dude has been crushing it week in and week out. Averaging 4.9YPC on 12 carries per game.
However, the 2023 season didn’t go entirely as planned for Trey. For whatever reason, New Jersey stifled his production, only allowing for 35 carries. Additionally, Williams was a healthy scratch in three games – including a win or go home outing in week ten.
On the surface level, this makes zero sense. Williams was a top three RB in the USFL’s inaugural season. When he was given the ball this year, he excelled. Trey rushed for 205 yards on just 35 carries – averaging 5.8 YPC. He also played a key role in a week nine win against Philadelphia.
Despite this, New Jersey underutilized one of the USFL’s top running backs, which certainly played a part in their 3-7 record. Instability on offense hampered the 2023 season, and one has to wonder why certain questionable decisions were made by the Generals coaching staff throughout the year from an offensive perspective.
Clearly, it seems like Williams is ready to move onto new ventures. He was upset – and rightfully so – about being inactive during the final game of the year.
steve smith Is the reason I didn’t play today, he reminds me of kevin sumlin and clarence mc kinney. Good job coach you suck.
At the same time, the New Jersey Generals have made it evident that they’re planning to move on from Williams. As of right now, they have re-signed running backs Darius Victor and Kingston Davis, while also acquiring rookie RB Jalen Holston.
Davis could be seen as Williams’ replacement, as he took some of Trey’s minutes down the stretch of the 2022 season.
Now, Trey Williams is at a crossroads. If the New Jersey Generals do come calling, it likely isn’t worth re-signing with a team that gave him the short end of the stick despite his talents.
Williams also expressed his desire to play for another squad in future seasons, having made a couple of posts on social media platforms recently regarding the topic. Hypothetically, if he were to join Pittsburgh, he’d be able to play New Jersey twice a year.
At the end of the day, the Pittsburgh Maulers seem like a logical fit for Trey Williams to go. Whether or not Pittsburgh’s front office wants to sign a fourth running back is another story. However, given Williams’ prior success in the USFL, it would make sense to at least give Trey some consideration.
To be blatantly honest, Pittsburgh can’t head into 2024 with the same backfield. In 2023, it was simply too stagnant. Pittsburgh needs another playmaker to take some of the pressure off of Troy Williams – and Trey could provide the organization with exactly that.
Allowing Trey to take carries on first and second down would open up a lot of options for their offense. London and/or Groshek could remain for third down situations, alongside red-zone opportunities.
Players on two year deals – such as Trey – will become available to other teams on October 1st, as their contracts expire on September 30th.
What are your thoughts on Trey Williams in Pittsburgh? Are there other USFL teams who should pursue the team when he becomes available? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!