The Birmingham Stallions re-signed four more USFL players this week in their quest to retool their roster for a three-peat. All four were significant pickups. Two players were key contributors in 2022 who suffered season-ending injuries in week one of 2023: wide receiver Marlon Williams and fullback Bobby Holly. The other signees were 2023 All-USFL punter Colby Wadman and starting left guard O’Shea Dugas.
WR Marlon Williams
Marlon Williams entered 2023 as the Stallions’ top receiving target. He was coming off a fantastic 2022 season where he was the Stallions’ leading receiver with 603 yards and 5 touchdowns.
STALLIONS TOP 10 PLAYS OF 2022
In maybe the most impressive play of BHAM's 2022 season, @TheReall__6 takes a tunnel screen 47 yds for a TD, breaking 5 tackles & outrunning the entire Breakers D in the process. Williams, the Stallions' leading WR in 2022, is back for 2023. pic.twitter.com/10wCN8AXA1
In that game, it was clear the Stallions wanted to get the ball into his hands early and often. He was the only offensive skill position player to not come off the field before he was injured. He was targeted or touched the ball on close to one out of every four snaps, including lining up in the backfield and getting two of the first three rushing attempts of the season.
Clearly, Williams was meant to be the Stallions’ marquee player in 2023. While an injury prevented that from coming to fruition, expect a breakout comeback year from Williams in 2024.
Another brutal week one loss to injury for the Stallions was fullback Bobby Holly. Holly was the only fullback on the roster in 2022 or 2023. After his injury, the Stallions decided to forgo using a fullback for the remainder of the 2023 season.
In 2022, Holly was primarily a blocking back, but he had some massive plays when the Stallions needed him. Those included a 52-yard touchdown run on a fake punt and a clutch, remarkably athletic 25-yard reception in the USFL Championship.
Expect the Stallions to utilize Holly in multiple ways again in 2024. His presence will go a long way toward opening up the playbook even further, especially in the run game. For example, the Stallions rarely lined up in their famous T formation in 2023. With Holly back, expect to see more of it in 2024.
One thing I am interested to see in '23: how do the Stallions utilize their signature T formation? With the addition of @Iam_ZWhite, the Stallions' downhill rushing attack could have almost 700 pounds coming out of the backfield. That will be hard to stop. pic.twitter.com/LDwQIyArf3
The first Stallion who was confirmed to not be returning in 2024 was kicker Brandon Aubrey. Aubrey leaves huge shoes to fill, but the good news is the Stallions could be bringing back their other two All-USFL special teamers. Long snapper Ryan Langan has already re-signed, and punter Colby Wadman has now done the same.
Wadman had a punt average of 48.7 yards and a net punt average of 41.0 yards last season. Both marks led the USFL. His punt average was also a modern USFL record.
The unsung heroes of the back-to-back champion Stallions are the offensive linemen. Only two linemen were with the team both seasons: O’Shea Dugas and Darius Harper. The Stallions were fortunate to have Dugas re-sign Thursday.
Dugas played for Holtz at Louisiana Tech and has been a solid starter for the Birmingham Stallions for two seasons at left guard. The Stallions offensive line got better as last season went on, quietly becoming what was likely the strongest unit in the league. Over a four-game stretch toward the end of last year, they only allowed two sacks and helped produce 555 rush yards. Dugas was a huge part of their success, and the Stallions are lucky to have him back for another year.
🐎 HORSEPOWER 🐎
This OL has quietly become one of—if not the best—OL in the league. They’re a huge part of why the Stallions offense is the #1 offense in the USFL.
The Birmingham Stallions have re-signed six players so far (running back C. J. Marable and long snapper Ryan Langan in addition to these four). They will look to continue signing more in the weeks to come. Other players whose contracts are set to expire include quarterback J’Mar Smith, running back Bo Scarbrough, defensive end Dondrea Tillman, and safety JoJo Tillery among others.
QB J’Mar Smith RB Bo Scarbrough WR Adrian Hardy WR Michael Dereus G O’Shea Dugas T Darius Harper DL Willie Yarbary DE Dondrea Tillman DE Jonathan Newsome LB Scooby Wright LB Quentin Poling CB Lorenzo Burns S Christian McFarland S Tyree Robinson S JoJo Tillery https://t.co/vw1mwll6J8