Memphis Showboats Cut Roster, Add Antoine Smith As D-Line Coach | Derrick Dillon

Memphis Showboats Cut Roster, Add Defensive Line Coach

It’s been a busy week for the Memphis Showboats. Following their scrimmage with the Arlington Renegades on Saturday, the team had to cut down to 58 players by Sunday. With the high level of talent Memphis boasted coming into training camp, Head Coach John DeFilippo made some difficult decisions regarding the future of this football team.

RB Kerrith Whyte

Despite Kerrith Whyte being a key piece to the Showboats offense last year, with an entirely different coaching staff, it’s not shocking to see Whyte get released. New GM Dennis Polian brought in quite a bit of fresh faces at the position: including Darius Victor, Trey Williams, and Titus Swen. Kerrith is a talented back, though, and could easily fill a need on another team.

WR Derrick Dillon

This one is hard to believe. Mr. 109 himself, the Special Teams Player of the Year in the USFL, is no longer with the Memphis Showboats. Derrick Dillon has been an extremely valuable asset to Tampa Bay and Memphis the past two seasons, making a difference not just as a wide receiver, but also in the special teams game. He’s also had a major impact on the community in Memphis since the teams’ return, so it’s unfortunate to see Dillon walk during these cuts.

WR Josh Vann

Josh Vann was an offseason addition for the Showboats, fresh off an NFL stint with the Carolina Panthers. While he’s got undeniable talent, with the tight competition in training camp, Josh fell just short of making this roster.

OT Clayton Bradley

Bradley was with Memphis in 2023, starting in two of four games played. He was protected throughout the merger process, but now becomes a free agent due to some of the additions the team made to their offensive line.

OT Darta Lee

Darta Lee joined the Showboats midway through the USFL season, and was almost immediately placed on the injured reserve list. Because of this, he appeared in only one game last year.

OT Sidney Wells

Sidney Wells was an offseason signing, originally for DeFilippo in New Orleans. After being picked up in the dispersal draft by Memphis, Wells was brought to Training Camp, but now has ultimately been released. Wells started in all 13 games at UAB during his senior season.

OG Kirk Kelley

Kirk Kelley came over to the Memphis Showboats in the dispersal draft, from New Orleans. He was a starter with the Breakers last year, and according to PFF, had the highest run-blocking rate of any lineman. For Kirk to get cut goes to show the amount of talent that this O-Line group currently rosters.

OG Tyran Hunt

Tyran Hunt was signed by the Showboats halfway through the 2023 season, and immediately made an impact, starting in three games. Hunt is a talented lineman who should get an opportunity elsewhere, if the Showboats don’t bring him back.

DE Jeremiah Valoaga

Valoaga was with Memphis in 2023, and also played for the Bandits in 2022 in the USFL. During his 2023 campaign, Jeremiah posted 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks in six games, before an injury cut his season short.

DE Jordan Brailford

Jordan Brailford was an offseason addition to Memphis, coming over with Coach Flip from New Orleans. Jordan racked up 20 tackles and two sacks in eight games with the Breakers last year. Truthfully, their defensive front seven is stacked, and there simply was not enough room for Brailford to stick.

LB Dylan Moses

Another surprise is the release of Dylan Moses, who was one of the top prospects who joined the team this offseason. For what it’s worth, he had been added by former GM Dave Razzano. Moses had an outstanding career at Alabama, but hasn’t quite found his footing yet in the professional scene.

LB Kahzin Daniels

Kahzin Daniels didn’t really see the field for Memphis last year due to an injury, which could have played a part in his release. Daniels is, believe it or not, blind in one eye. He’s defied odds throughout his career, so do not be surprised if he lands on another roster at some point.

LB Kolin Hill

It’s a shame to see Kolin Hill go, as he’s one of spring football’s most underrated linebackers. Kolin played with the New Jersey Generals the last two seasons, and put up fantastic numbers as a starter. Hill could be a tremendous depth piece for any UFL team, and one would expect him to garner some interest soon.

DB Antoine Brooks

Antoine Brooks was a selection during the dispersal draft, coming over from the XFL’s Seattle Sea Dragons. Brooks had a great year in Seattle, starting all ten games. He finished with 44 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

DB Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens is a spring football veteran, who made a name for himself in the XFL with the Los Angeles Wildcats back in 2020. Stevens spent the last two years with the New Orleans Breakers, and started in six of 10 games under John DeFilippo’s leadership.

DB Will Likely

Speaking of spring vets, Will Likely being a part of these cuts is a bit of a shock. Likely was phenomenal with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers in 2022, totaling 63 tackles and four interceptions. He went to the XFL last year, posting 30 tackles and an interception with the Houston Roughnecks. I’d say that it’s *likely* that Will sees another opportunity sooner than later.

S Antonio Reed

Antonio Reed has had a whirlwind of an offseason. He was a starting safety for the Showboats last year, and had a very productive season when healthy. In USFL free agency, he had originally been picked up by the New Jersey Generals, but eventually returned to Memphis once the merger was complete.

Antoine Smith Named D-Line Coach

The Memphis Showboats finalized their coaching staff, adding Antoine Smith to the ranks as the Defensive Line Coach.

Cornell Brown, who was with the New Orleans Breakers last year on John DeFilippo’s staff, ended up deciding not to join the UFL with Memphis. This leads to Smith taking over, as someone who brings plenty of professional experience to the table:

  • 21 years of collegiate coaching experience
  • Most recently, served as assistant head coach and defensive line coach at Temple University
  • Also served as assistant head coach at Colorado State in 2021
  • Has produced double-digit all-conference players throughout his collegiate coaching career

For a full breakdown of the Showboats Coaching Staff, check out our article from earlier this year.

Final Thoughts

It’s going to be an exciting season for the Memphis Showboats, who kick off their season in Houston against the Roughnecks on March 31st.

Before then, though, GM Dennis Polian and the rest of the staff will have to finalize their 50 man roster on March 23rd.

What are your thoughts on these cuts for the Memphis Showboats? Are there any players you believe should return to the roster? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!