Another week into the USFL off-season and the Tampa Bay Bandits continue to add to their team. After a rather stagnant beginning the Bandits have added seven more players this week. So far, the Bandits have signed 12 players total throughout the offseason in 2022.
The Bandits first round of signings were officially released on October 13th, bringing in Jeff Ejekam, David Hamm, Kyree Woods, and Lamont McPhatter. Ejekam could be viewed as the most intriguing of this group as the Wide Receiver comes from West Point and after completing his service commitment will be transitioning from the Las Vegas Knight Hawks to the traditional outdoor game with the Bandits. Ejekam was apart of the Army team that beat Navy, during Navy’s 14 game winning streak in 2016. Running back David Hamm projects to replace BJ Emmons who was recently with the Texans and CFL’s Rough Riders, while safeties Kyree Woods and Lamont McPhatter add addition insurance for defensive backfield that saw Quinton Meeks go to the Saints NFL camp.
On October 17th, the Bandits solidified the Tight End position, by bringing in Darrell Adams out of the Division II school Azusa Pacific. The Bandits who have De’Quan Hampton and Cheyenne O’Grady now present a three headed monster at the position by bringing in Adams to round out the group. Adams who was used a bit as a rushing option in 2015 (freshman season 28 carries) transitioned nicely to a pass catching role later in his career totaling 92 receptions for 1350 yards in his career. Adams spent the last parts of his career in Austria playing with the Graz Giants of the Austrian Football League.
The two most recent signings by the Bandits took place on Oct 22nd. as John Mitchell from FAU, and Austin Watkins Jr. from UAB were both added to the squad. Watkins was an all-conference receiver at UAB who spent time with the 49ers in 2021, the Bucs in 2022, and was most recently released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL on Aug 18th as a member of their practice squad. Mitchell, a former teammate of BJ Emmons, was working with the Seattle Seahawks as a Tight End/Wide Receiver for their rookie mini-camps and ultimately did not end up staying with the team. Mitchell ended his career at FAU with 69 receptions for 874 yards, 10 receiving touchdowns before going undrafted in 2022.
The Bandits continue to build their offense and ultimately have set themselves up to have another dynamic passing attack for Jordan Ta’amu. Despite losing Derrick Dillon and Rashard Davis to NFL camps, the Bandits have brought in a plethora of talent to begin mitigating the “holes” left by year one USFL players. With 59 players currently on the pre-draft roster it seems that the Bandits are not done building a team that was so close to making the playoffs in 2022 for hopefully a much more successful 2023.
Stay with USFL News Hub all off season.