The Birmingham Stallions finalized their roster just a few days before the 2023 season gets underway as they prepare to take on the New Jersey Generals in the season-opener this Saturday.
Among the players among the final roster cuts were Rico Gafford, Bryan Mills, Keyshon Camp and Cary Angeline. While the team currently has 52 players on the roster, Mark Fields and Malik Grant are on the inactive list.
This leaves the team with a required 50-man roster but only 40 will be able to dress on game days. Here is a breakdown of the roster heading into the 2023 season.
J’Mar Smith, Alex McGough, Jalen Morton
The Stallions return both of its starting quarterbacks from last season in J’Mar Smith and Alex McGough. Both players shined at different points throughout the season, and head coach Skip Holtz said he expects to play each quarterback again this season.
Smith finished with 1,573 passing yards and 10 touchdowns last season while McGough totaled 460 yards and three touchdowns in seven games. Smith is likely to get the starting nod to open the season but don’t be surprised if Holtz inserts McGough in specific game situations.
Running Back (4)
Bo Scarbrough, CJ Marable, Zaquandre White, Bobby Holly (FB)
Bo Scarbrough was a mid-season addition in 2022 but played a massive role in the run game and will be returning to the team alongside CJ Marable. The former Alabama running back finished with 352 rushing yards, including a dominant performance in the championship with 135 yards and one touchdown. Scarbrough is going to be the lead back in Birmingham with Marable spelling him.
Zaquandre White out of South Carolina rounds out the running back room while Bobby Holly returning to be team’s fullback for blocking downs or for an infrequent carry.
Wide Receiver (7)
Adrian Hardy, Austin Watkins, Davion Davis, Deon Cain, Marlon Williams, Michael Dereus, Myron Mitchell
There is going to be some shoes to fill at wide receiver this season, as the Stallions will be without Victor Bolden and Osirus Mitchel, two of the top three options from a year ago.
Marlon Williams is poised to have a big year. After leading the Stallions in receiving yards and touchdowns last season, he’s the No. 1 option at receiver and will get plenty of touches in the passing game. Adrian Hardy and Michael Dereus return from last season but don’t nearly have as much experience. Deon Cain is a name to watch out for, as he is a speed receiver and one of four new wideouts in the group.
Tight End (2)
Jace Sternberger, Thaddeus Moss
This position group may be the most exciting unit to watch out for on Birmingham’s roster. Jace Sternberger joins the team after stints in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Moss, meanwhile, is the son of NFL legend Randy Moss and is freaky athletic with outstanding hands in the passing game.
Both players starred in college with Sternberger being a consensus All-American and Moss winning a national championship in 2019 at LSU. Both are superb athletes that complement each other’s games and will have plenty of opportunities to shine with the Stallions.
Offensive Line (8)
Cohl Cabral (C), Cole Schneider (G), Darius Harper (T), Derwin Gray (T), Jahmir Johnson (T), Lukayus McNeil (T), Matt Kaskey (G), O’Shea Dugas (OL)
The offensive line will look slightly different in 2023 compared to last season but will be returning with some familiar faces. The Stallions lost All-USFL guard Cameron Hunt to the XFL but two starting linemen, O’Shea Dugas and Darius Harper, will be returning from last season.
It will be interesting to see how the unit meshes together once the season starts. The offensive line last year served its purpose but allowed the second-most sacks in the USFL at 25. If they can limit the pressure, the Stallions offense will be even more dangerous.
Defensive Line (9)
Darrion Daniels (DE), Dondrea Tillman (DE), Joe Jackson (DE), Joe Ozougwu (DE), Jonathan Newsome (DE), Jordan Thompson (DE), Khalil Davis (DT), Willie Henry (DT), Willie Yarbary (DL)
DeMarquis Gates won’t be returning to the Stallions’ defensive line but the group is still vastly talented behind a handful of returning players in Dondrea Tillman, Willie Yarbary, Jonathan Newsome and much more. All three players recorded multiple sacks last year while the unit added key rotational pieces in Joe Jackson, Khalil Davis and Darrion Daniels.
Davis headlines as an important defensive line addition after spending time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 and the Los Angeles Rams last season. Joe Ozougwu is also coming off a standout year at Arkansas State where he achieved 57 tackles and 7.5 sacks.
The defensive line is open for anyone wanting to make a name for themselves.
Elijah Sullivan, Quentin Poling, Rashad Smith, Scooby Wright III
Scooby Wright is the name to keep an eye on in this group. The star linebacker made the game-sealing pick-six in the USFL Championship Game last season and is expected to have a big year. Quentin Poling signed midseason but played sparingly before being moved to the inactive roster. With only four linebackers on the roster, he has a chance to receive an uptick in playing time.
Rashad Smith and Elijah Sullivan both signed with Birmingham this offseason after journeying around the NFL. Most recently, Smith and Sullivan spent time on the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squads, respectively.
Brian Allen (CB), Christian McFarland (S), Donnie Lewis II (CB), JoJo Tillery (S), Lorenzo Burns (CB), Nate Brooks (CB), Nate Holley (S), T.J. Carter (S), T.J. Green (S), Tyree Robinson (S)
The most experience on the roster problem stems from the secondary where three starters will be returning. JoJo Tillery finished with the second-most tackles on the team last year and can play multiple positions on defense. Christian McFarland will play safety alongside Tillery while Brian Allen will align at cornerback again after totaling 40 tackles, three tackles for loss and one interception in 2022. Tyree Robinson also returns after 41 tackles and one interceptions last season.
The Stallions secondary is a nice blend of familiar and fresh faces with plenty of experience across the board. T.J. Carter played for the Rams last season while Lorenzo Burns was former standout at Arizona and was a two-time Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Brandon Aubrey (K), Colby Wadman (P), Ryan Langan (LS)
The Stallions will be brining back all three key members of the special teams unit from last season. All-USFL kicker Brandon Aubrey led the league in points (76), field goals made (18) and extra points made (22) in 2022. Colby Wadman averaged just 45.1 yards per punt while landing the second most punts inside the 20-yard line with 17 last season. With Ryan Langan returning to snap, the chemistry between the three could prove to be crucial in big moments.