One of the Stallions’ biggest needs this USFL offseason was replenishing their secondary. Zach Potter and company took a step in that direction this week—and weakened their rival in the process. The Birmingham Stallions signed former New Orleans Breakers starting cornerback Nevelle Clarke.
Clarke played college football at the University of Central Florida. He played with two other current Stallions there: wide receiver Marlon Williams and center Cole Schneider. Now they will reunite in Birmingham.
At UCF, Clarke was an All-AAC First Team defensive back. He finished his college career with 107 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one sack, five interceptions, 29 pass deflections, one fumble recovery, and one touchdown in four seasons. After his senior season, he was selected to play in the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl.
After college, Nevelle Clarke went undrafted. He signed with the Minnesota Vikings after the draft. Unfortunately, Clarke did not make it through the final roster cuts and was let go after preseason ended.
New Orleans Breakers
If Clarke had been born a few years earlier, that could have been the end of his football career. However, Clarke lucked out. He became a free agent shortly before it was announced the USFL was coming back. Clarke signed with the New Orleans Breakers just before the 2022 season and made the most of his time in the USFL.
In two seasons as a cornerback for New Orleans, Clarke registered 49 tackles, three tackles for loss, three interceptions, 16 passes deflected, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Clarke was one of the best cornerbacks in the league last season. According to PFF, Clarke was top five in the league in completion rate allowed (51%), passer rating allowed (60.7), and open-target rate (24.5%).
The Breakers had one of the best secondaries in the USFL last season, only allowing 181 passing yards per game and accounting for 12 interceptions and 47 pass deflections (all top three figures in the league). Clarke was a big part of that success. He did so well, in fact, that he earned another NFL opportunity.
Clarke’s play caught the eye of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who offered him a contract in August. Unfortunately, he was not with the team long before being cut. However, his NFL opportunity allowed him to reevaluate his time in the USFL before the 2024 season.
Rather than re-sign with the Breakers, Clarke opted to join the two-time defending champion Birmingham Stallions. The Stallions were tied for giving up the second-most pass yards last season and accounted for the second-fewest interceptions, so Clarke will be a welcome addition to the Stallions secondary. Signing Clarke was a major coup for the Stallions: in securing him, they signed the only player from their rival to sign with an NFL team in 2023.
The Birmingham Stallions have signed CB Nevelle Clarke, per the team.
The Stallions still have a half dozen open spots on their roster. It will be interesting to see who they sign next. Do they try to re-sign former players? Do they sign more players like Clarke from other USFL teams? Or do they wait to see if NFL players get cut and become available for them to sign?
Only time will tell, but we do know Zach Potter always has tricks up his sleeve. Landing Clarke was a huge steal for the Stallions. We should expect more big moves to come before long.
What are your thoughts on Nevelle Clarke joining the Birmingham Stallions? Which prospect should the team pursue next? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!