The UFL dropped a plethora of signings last night, and the Houston Roughnecks were a big part of those. GM Lionel Vital has made an effort to bring in quite a bit of new talent throughout the offseason, and continues that trend with several more signings:
QB Nolan Henderson
WR Steven Dunbar
OL Braylon Jones
OL Brandon Haskin OT Norman Price LB Ayinde Eley LB Marvin Moody DB Shahman Moore
Let’s take a look at each addition, and what they can bring to the team through training camp and into the season.
QB Nolan Henderson
The Roughnecks are finalizing their QB room, filling it out with Nolan Henderson out of Delaware. As it stands right now, Houston features their starting QB from 2023 – Kenji Bahar – alongside newly acquired Jarrett Guarantano.
Now, Henderson comes in as the third signal caller on the roster, bringing quite a bit of talent to the organization. Nolan threw for 6,429 yards and 56 touchdowns during his career at Delaware – finishing in second place in school history for touchdowns thrown.
His senior season was phenomenal, as he threw for 3,216 yards and 32 touchdowns – adding 149 rushing yards and 4 TD’s to his tally. Henderson earned some NFL interest, signing with the Baltimore Ravens for a time – and also having workouts with the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers.
WR Steven Dunbar
Steven Dunbar is a tremendous pickup for the wide receiver room in Houston. The city will be familiar with his talents, as Dunbar played at Houston from 2014-2017. Across that span, Steven racked up 2,439 receiving yards, alongside 11 touchdowns.
He then went and played in the NFL for a couple of years, with Denver and San Francisco. Since then, Dunbar has been in the CFL. He played with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a couple of seasons, posting 1,630 receiving yards and 10 scores with the team.
Most recently, Steven was with the Edmonton Elks, starting in 13 games during the 2023 season. Dunbar finished the year with 536 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 13.7 YPR. Now, he’ll look to continue his professional career in the UFL with the Houston Roughnecks.
OL Braylon Jones
Braylon Jones returning to the offensive line unit is great news for Houston. Jones proved himself to be a key piece in 2023, contributing to the success of OPOY Mark Thompson, starting in six of nine games played. Following his USFL season, Jones spent time with the Arizona Cardinals. After being a free agent for a few months, Braylon now returns to spring football for 2024.
OL Brandon Haskin
Brandon Haskin is another fantastic signing for the Roughnecks offensive line. Haskin has spent the last two USFL seasons with the New Jersey Generals, and started in 6 of 10 games in 2023 with the team. Brandon is an extremely versatile lineman, having played at all five positions with New Jersey. The Generals had the top rushing offense in 2023, averaging 134.6 YPG, largely due to the efforts of quality pieces like Haskin.
From 2021-2022 at Georgia Tech, Eley posted 209 tackles and four sacks, and started in all 23 games he played in. He also earned 2022 Second-Team All-AC honors. This led to a preseason stint with the Carolina Panthers, where he surprisingly got released despite solid performances.
Now, Eley joins a loaded linebacker room in Houston, one that already features the likes of Reuben Foster, Khalan Tolson, Isaiah Chambers, and others.
LB Marvin Moody
Marvin Moody is an intriguing signing. Moody played his college football at Tulane, and had an excellent career there racking up 234 tackles and 4.5 sacks. His best season was in 2020, where he finished with the third most tackles on the team (68), while totaling 6.5 TFL in 10 starts.
Moody went undrafted, and has since seen some interest from alt-football teams. Moody was part of the XFL draft for the 2023 season, picked up by the St. Louis Battlehawks – but did not end up playing with the franchise. It’s all come full circle for Moody, though, as he’s set to compete with the Houston Roughnecks for the 2024 UFL season.
DB Shahman Moore
Moore is another under-the-radar pickup in the secondary. Lionel Vital loves finding diamonds in the rough, and that’s what the Roughnecks have in Shahman Moore.
Shahman began his college career at El Camino CC, where he posted 49 tackles and six interceptions during two seasons. He spent one year with Washington State, but hardly saw any playing time. This led to a transfer to West Florida for his final season, totaling 15 tackles in 2021.
Moore spent a bit of time with the San Francisco 49ers coming out of West Florida, signing as an UDFA. Most recently, Moore played in the Indoor Football League with the Arizona Wranglers – and was also claimed by the Orlando Guardians prior to the merger.
With this latest batch of signings, the Houston Roughnecks currently roster 78 players. With the limit of 75 slated for training camp, the team will need to cut down by February 14th.
GM Lionel Vital and HC Curtis Johnson have made some unique moves in Houston. The team gutted a lot of their secondary, bringing in plenty of new talent – most of which have not proved themselves yet in the spring football scene.
In addition, the quarterback room now only features one familiar face in Bahar. Montell Cozart and Terry Wilson are gone, with Henderson and Guarantano taking those spots. Considering regular season rosters will only hold 50 players, training camp will be even more intense than years prior.
What are your thoughts on these additions to the Houston Roughnecks roster? Will Nolan Henderson be the starting QB in 2024? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!