Breaking Down The St. Louis Battlehawks 2024 UFL Roster | Brandon Sebastian

Breaking Down The St. Louis Battlehawks 2024 UFL Roster

The St. Louis Battlehawks are back in business, poised to take the city by storm during the upcoming UFL season. This team fell just short of their postseason aspirations last year, but will feature a different look in 2024.

Under the leadership of Anthony Becht & Co., St. Louis has revamped multiple position groups through the dispersal drafts. Additionally, the team has brought in quite a few free agents who will elevate this roster to a new level – especially with the increased competition created by the USFL-XFL merger.

While the XFL conference in particular is stacked, St. Louis might just be the favorite to come out on top. This team is loaded across the board. Let’s get into it.

Quarterbacks

A.J. McCarron
Brandon Silvers
Manny Wilkins

It took nearly the entire offseason, but A.J. McCarron is returning to St. Louis. Obviously, this is massive for the city, as their QB1 comes back with “unfinished business” on his mind.

McCarron was arguably the top quarterback in all of spring football last year, with it being a tossup between him and USFL MVP Alex McGough. A.J. fit perfectly into Becht’s system, helping lead this team to a 7-3 record in 2023.

What makes A.J. so important in this offense is his veteran experience. McCarron played in the NFL for years, and even made a start in a playoff game with the Cincinnati Bengals. With the Battlehawks, McCarron threw for over 2,100 yards and 24 touchdowns, tossing only six interceptions. With an improved group around him this year, those statistics could look even better in 2024.

Brandon Silvers comes into St. Louis as the likely QB2 behind McCarron. Brandon was a starter for the Houston Roughnecks last year, and was a key piece to the team’s success with seven wins. Silvers is a spring football veteran, and is someone Becht can count on if A.J. goes down.

Manny Wilkins spent the 2023 XFL season as the third string quarterback, and one would expect that to remain the same this year. Wilkins is talented in his own regard, though, and could certainly be utilized in specific packages if activated.

Running Backs

Jacob Saylors
Mataeo Durant
Wayne Gallman

The only returning piece to this backfield is Mataeo Durant, who was a depth piece for St. Louis last year. He totaled 117 rushing yards, and caught 11 passes for 78 yards coming out of the backfield.

Highlighting this unit is Wayne Gallman, who was acquired this offseason. Gallman was an NFL draft pick for the New York Giants in 2017. He saw some productive minutes in New York, and has been on and off NFL teams the past few seasons.

Gallman is primed to have a breakout campaign, especially with the amount of firepower this team has. The offensive line has been upgraded, and Wayne’s NFL experience automatically makes him one of the top names in the entire UFL. He should carry a large load in 2024, taking the brunt of carries we saw Brian Hill have a year ago.

Jacob Saylors is also a great pickup for this group. Saylors rushed for over 3,800 yards and 33 touchdowns at East Tennessee State. He’s a legitimate playmaker who will fit right into Bruce Gradkowski’s offense.

Wide Receivers

Blake Jackson
Darrius Shepherd
Hakeem Butler
Jamarcus Bradley
Jeff Thomas
Jerome Kapp
Marcell Ateman
Jahcour Pearson*

The Battlehawks were able to retain their top targets from a season ago. Hakeem Butler, Darrius Shepherd, and Marcell Ateman are all back, which is excellent news for this unit. Butler was an unstoppable force last year, dominating defenses week in and week out with his size, strength, and speed.

Darrius Shepherd is bound to have another breakout year, after his excellent production in 2023 as a WR and a returner. With Blake Jackson added to the roster as well from Seattle, St. Louis will have one of the most dynamic offenses in the league.

This doesn’t even include some of the new faces: Jeff Thomas, Jerome Kapp, and Jamarcus Bradley. Anthony Becht has spoken highly of all three. Thomas is a cool story, having originally been from East St. Louis. He also played with the Pittsburgh Maulers in 2022.

Jahcour Pearson has an asterisk as he is currently on the injured reserve list and will not be available to start the season. Pearson needs no introduction, leading the XFL in receiving yards last year. He should be back in the lineup sooner than later, but until then, this current group will hold down the fort.

Tight Ends

Jake Sutherland
Kemari Averett

As a tight ends coach himself, Coach Becht has certainly put an emphasis on playing TE’s who can block – and catch – at a high level. Jake Sutherland embodies the type of player that St. Louis wants to roster. He’s gritty, doesn’t complain, and will do whatever coaches ask him to do.

Kemari Averett has proven to be an outstanding addition to this team. Becht has spoken very highly of his work ethic in Training Camp, and praised his abilities to come down with the football in traffic. Keep an eye on Kemari to make some big plays this season.

Offensive Line

Abdul Beecham
Dohnovan West
Eric Magwood
Jaryd Jones-Smith
Juwann Bushell-Beatty
Mike Panasuik
Teton Saltes
Vadal Alexander

Leading this group again this year is Center Mike Panasuik, who is coming off an All-XFL season. Anthony Becht has repeatedly touched on his leadership throughout Training Camp, resembling the likes of Jason Kelce.

All-XFL OT Jaryd Jones-Smith returns to the lineup, who had a stint with the Washington Commanders after his XFL campaign. Vadal Alexander, Eric Magwood, and Juwann Bushell-Beatty are all back in action for another season as well.

Abdul Beecham and Teton Saltes are two new names to watch. Beecham spent time with the XFL’s Orlando Guardians last year, while Teton won an XFL Championship with the Renegades.

Defensive Line

Antwuan Jackson
Austin Faoliu
Carson Wells
Elorm Lumor
Freedom Akinmoladun
Kobe Smith
Pita Taumoepenu
T.J. Pesefea
Travis Feeney

There is no doubt about it: St. Louis knew that their defense needed to be retooled this offseason. The Battlehawks didn’t have a poor group last year by any means, but struggled to stop high powered offenses (i.e. DC, Seattle).

The addition of XFL DPOY Pita Taumoepenu is massive. He was sensational with the Vipers last year, posting 26 tackles, 7.5 sacks, eight TFL, and a league-leading four forced fumbles. Pita brings an attitude to this group that simply wasn’t present last year.

Speaking of major pickups, All-XFL DT Austin Faoliu is now on this roster. Austin was a force with the Sea Dragons last year, which led to a stint with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. Antwuan Jackson is another Sea Dragon who is on this roster now.

Travis Feeney, Carson Wells, Elorm Lumor and Freedom Akinmoladun are all returnees who are bound to make an impact. Feeney and Lumor will likely drop back in coverage as well, but expect the two of them to dominate coming off the edge as they did a year ago.

Kobe Smith spent time with the San Antonio Brahmas in 2023, totaling seven tackles and two sacks. T.J. Pesefea is a rookie with a ton of promise out of Arizona State. He most recently was with the Bengals during the NFL preseason.

Linebackers

Callahan O’Reilly
Lakiem Williams
Mike Rose
Willie Harvey Jr.

Lakiem Williams is a returning face who should see a larger role in 2024. Becht highlighted him in a media call the other day, speaking on his leadership and high IQ on the defensive side of the football. Williams posted 32 tackles in 2023.

Mike Rose is also a key piece who comes back, after spending some time with the Miami Dolphins. Rose totaled 35 tackles in six starts for St. Louis last year. Harvey Jr. started in all ten games for the Battlehawks in 2023, compiling 59 tackles.

The new addition to this room is Callahan O’Reilly. He’s an exciting prospect out of Montana State, who is fresh off some time with the Chicago Bears. O’Reilly totaled 105 tackles and two interceptions during his senior season.

Secondary

Brandon Sebastian
Channing Stribling
Chris Payton-Jones
Keylon Kennedy
Lavert Hill
Tim Harris

Brandon Sebastian returns alongside Lavert Hill who are two of the staples in this secondary. Hill ended up getting signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but now comes back for the 2024 season. Tim Harris is also back in action after playing in two games last year.

The new corners in the room are some of the best in the business. Keylon Kennedy was outstanding with the Vegas Vipers a year ago, with 40 tackles, three TFL, and two interceptions to his name. Chris Payton-Jones was a lockdown defender for the Sea Dragons in 2023, and now switches to the blue and silver for 2024.

Channing Stribling took a unique journey to St. Louis. The All-USFL DB was drafted by the Battlehawks prior to the 2023 season, but opted to return to the USFL. The Battlehawks weren’t able to select him in the dispersal process, as Birmingham took him first. Now, he lands in St. Louis to bolster this defensive unit.

Safeties

Ben Deluca
Dravon Askew-Henry
Kameron Kelly
Qwynnterio Cole

Ben Deluca is the only familiar face in the safeties room for St. Louis this year. Dravon Askew-Henry has been acquired, formerly of the New Jersey Generals. Askew-Henry is a spring veteran who never gets enough credit for what he’s brought to each organization he’s played for. He’s been excellent the past few years.

Kameron Kelly totaled 17 tackles and two interceptions with the Brahmas last year. He’s a LB/Safety hybrid, and should make an impact in Donnie Abraham’s defense, no doubt. Qwynnterio Cole is also a tremendous signing, who racked up 48 tackles and three interceptions last year with Seattle.

Special Teams

K Andre Szmyt
P Sterling Hofrichter
LS Alexander Matheson

The addition of Szmyt makes perfect sense given the Syracuse connections with GM Dave Boller. Szmyt struggled from long range in college, but has quite a bit of talent and most recently spent time with the Chicago Bears. He just barely edged out Andrew Mevis in Training Camp, and now has to prove himself heading into the season.

St. Louis retains their punter and long snapper, which isn’t a surprise. Sterling Hofrichter wasn’t the best punter in the XFL last year, but he got the job done and also flashed his abilities to turn some trickery into magic. Alexander Matheson was impressive all year long, and spent some time with the Baltimore Ravens in the fall.

Final Thoughts

We know one thing is for certain: The St. Louis Battlehawks will have the best fans in the league. The Dome averaged over 35,000 fans per game last year, and that number might grow even higher in 2024 if this team performs well.

It was no easy task for St. Louis to trim this roster down. Anthony Becht and Dave Boller had their work cut out for them, making two sets of cuts on March 10th and March 22nd. With all of that in the rearview mirror, though, the focus now shifts to week one as they travel to Michigan.

For a full breakdown of the coaching staff, click here.

What are your thoughts on the St. Louis Battlehawks 2024 UFL roster? Will this team make the playoffs this year? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!