USFL's Brandon Aubrey & LaBryan Ray Make Official NFL Rosters

USFL’s Brandon Aubrey & LaBryan Ray Make Official NFL Rosters

The NFL officially cut down to their 53 man rosters yesterday. Of the 39 USFL to NFL signings from the 2023 season, two players made it through the final cuts: DT LaBryan Ray, and K Brandon Aubrey.

While the remaining 37 players were released and/or waived, one would expect to see at least several of them end up on practice squads, or potentially claimed off of waivers. There were plenty of athletes (i.e. Austin Watkins, Frank Ginda, Josh Butler) who proved their worth during the preseason.

K Brandon Aubrey

First up, Brandon Aubrey has officially made the Dallas Cowboys 53 man roster, which isn’t too much of a surprise. He won the kicking battle in training camp against Tristan Vizcaino, and performed quite well during preseason.

Aubrey has a unique and amazing story, which begins before the USFL. He was a standout soccer player at Notre Dame, and played for a couple of professional teams before deciding to give football a try.

Brandon landed with the Birmingham Stallions in 2022, taking advantage of the opportunity to play professional football in the USFL. He was sensational, winning two Championships with the team. In 2022, he earned All-USFL honors. 2023 was no different, as Aubrey was one of the top kickers in the league.

After being signed to the Dallas Cowboys, Brandon continued to make improvements throughout training camp. Once he won the gig against Vizcaino, he began to perform at an even higher level.

During week three of the preseason, Aubrey showcased his strong leg. After missing from 59 yards out, he was given another opportunity from the same distance, and crushed it. He also went 4/4 on XP’s during the outing.

Now, Aubrey will have the privilege of playing in the NFL – even though he never saw a snap in high school or college. Had it not been for the platform the USFL provided him with, this achievement likely would have never been possible.

DT LaBryan Ray

LaBryan Ray is a USFL name that many may not be familiar with. He joined the Philadelphia Stars during the season, in an effort to bolster the defensive line.

Ray made a quick impact, starting in five of the seven games he played in. His NFL experience showed in the USFL, finishing the season with 10 tackles and three sacks.

Once the season was over, Ray garnered interest from multiple NFL organizations. He ended up signing with the Carolina Panthers, and the rest is history. He impressed in the preseason, making multiple plays early on that caught the attention of fans across the country. LaBryan posted four tackles, two TFL, and a sack in three games.

Now, he’ll look to continue his professional career with the Carolina Panthers, having officially made the 53 man roster ahead of the 23-24 season.

Final Thoughts

It’s encouraging to see the USFL continue to prove that it is a legitimate platform – and pathway – back to the NFL.

Whether it’s a player like Ray who had prior NFL experience – or, an athlete like Aubrey who just needed a chance to play football – the USFL provided hundreds of players with the opportunity to showcase their talents to the entire nation.

Spring football is extremely valuable, and it’s here to stay with the USFL approaching season three.

What are your thoughts on Brandon Aubrey and LaBryan Ray making their respective 53 man rosters? Which USFL players deserve a shot in the NFL? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

  1. Hi James, Nice article highlighting Brandon Aubrey and Labryan Ray. I am surprised more USFL players did not make the NFL’s 53, but not overly. In addition, to Aubrey and Ray remember that KaVonte Turpin and Mitch Fraboni continue on in the league after serving in the USFL. Additionally, Isaiah Zuber is on injured reserve with the Raiders. Interestingly, I always felt when I watch Isaiah Zuber with the Gamblers that he is an NFL talent. I can’t explain why I know that. Just that he has whatever “IT” is, but there are more NFL caliber or potential players than there are spots in the league. That is why the XFL and USFL make sense. When I was a kid I used to love getting the Toys R Us catalog in the mail where I would add checks mark to the toys that I hoped Santa would bring. I have seen players in the NFL that play like Frank Ginda. The way he played this year after shedding weight makes it so clear to me that he can play in the NFL. I think he realizes, he can play, but even with 32 teams there is still not enough spots for him, especially when you take into account how many teams use two linebackers during many of their schemes. The truth is that both USFL and XFL will have their pick of over 600 players that were on an NFL team last week, but that will be looking for a team even after practice squads are formed. This day the Toys R Us catalog comes for both the USFL and NFL. There were quite a few experienced players released this week that made enough money to retire or at least get into a new line of work, but I still think a handful of those might find wanting to play in a US alt league over retiring. I really think Alex McGough will be re-signed by the Packers, but if not I am sure he will be on the shortlist. How many teams will want a Chris Streveler, Benny Snell Jr, Jeff Driskel or Denzel Mims action figure. I know there are more players out there than spots, but I wish the best outcome for all.

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