The Stallions continue to bring in NFL caliber talent specifically focusing on their defensive line. Over the past few days they have added Edge Rusher Carlo Kemp, Defensive End DaMarcus Mitchell, and Defensive End Jaylen Twyman. All three of these men spent time on an NFL roster in 2023.
Defensive Line Depth Proving Important
Carlo Kemp returns to the USFL after signing with the Los Angeles Chargers after the 2022 USFL season. During the 2022 season Kemp led the Pittsburgh Maulers in sacks with 5. A unique player given his ability to play outside linebacker, or defensive end in a 4-3, or a 3-4, as well as potentially even rushing from the interior in certain situations makes him incredibly valuable. A very similar build to Breeland Speaks, Kemp spent the 2022 season learning behind Khalil Mack, Kyle Van Noy, and Joey Bosa until he was released in final cuts late in August of 2023.
Kemp during his time in the NFL appeared in all three 2022 preseason games and played well. He collected 11 tackles, and 1 pass break up. Kemp has never spent long out of the NFL, in fact in 2022 when he was selected by the Maulers in the draft he had been released by the Broncos just over a month before. He was signed by the Chargers immediately after the 2022 USFL season concluded, and stuck until final cuts in August. At this rate it wouldn’t shock me at all to see him back in the NFL for their 2024 season after a strong year with Birmingham where they’ve found a formula of bringing in revolving recent NFL cuts as Stallions players are called back up by the NFL.
Mitchell has not yet played in the USFL or XFL because he was on NFL rosters in 2022 and early in 2023. Mitchell actually entered college as a running back a position he played during his freshman season. He moved to linebacker as a sophomore and immediately turned heads as he went on to have a great year before transferring to Purdue.
At Purdue, now 6’3 265 lbs he transitioned more into playing defensive end, and found success. Playing in 18 games he had 13 tackles for a loss, and 5.5 sacks before declaring for the 2022 NFL draft after playing defense for just three seasons.
Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Patriots after the 2022 NFL draft, Mitchell showed out in camp and played well in the preseason appearing in two games, collecting 4 tackles, and 1 sack. Mitchell went on to make the Patriots 53 man roster out of training camp.
During the season he managed to collect 8 tackles. He stuck with the Patriots until August 15th of 2023 when he was waived by New England. Five days later Seattle signed him, but he lasted just two days before being let go. He would officially sign with Birmingham on December 22nd.
This one hasn’t been announced by the team as of yet, but it was posted by XFL Analyst on Instagram, and is reflected on the website. Twyman is a force to be reckoned with as a pass rusher on the interior. Once compared to fellow Pitt alum, Aaron Donald in terms of size, and role, Twyman was a productive player for Pitt.
Twyman was hurt somewhat by Covid at the time. He had already decided to return for the 2020 season when he found out it would be cancelled. Having been able to declare immediately following that 10.5 sack season in 2019 may have helped his draft stock. As it stood after a season away from the game due to the pandemic, Twyman was selected by Minnesota in round 6 after weighing in at 6’1 3/4 301 lbs, up nearly 20 pounds since his time in college to withstand the rigors of playing in the NFL.
Ultimately as a rookie Twyman essentially medically redshirted spending the season on injured reserve after being shot four times before being given another shot in 2022 having recovered. He didn’t make the active roster, but he did wind up on the practice squad where he lasted until early October. Less than a week after being released he signed with the Miami Dolphins practice squad where he finished out the 2022 season.
Heading into 2023, Twyman was signed to a futures deal so he didn’t pursue alternative football leagues and focused on playing with the Dolphins. This opportunity unfortunately didn’t pan out into a spot on the roster or practice squad in 2023. As he was let go by Miami in late August. He had not appeared in the preseason games which didn’t help his case. Now he will get ten opportunities or more to put himself in a better position going forward. Twyman was once featured on the popular “Take a Chance on Me Team” segment by Peter Schrager. The Stallions intend to take a chance on Twyman in 2024, and hope it pays off with a third championship in three seasons.
The Stallions’ defense was solid the last two seasons but there is always room for improvement and I applaud the front office for finding recent NFL players to solidify this defensive line and bring in more pass rush going forward. I expect we will see much more than 19 sacks in 2024 for the Stallions.
The Stallions so far are an astounding 21-3 in two seasons, but in 2024, they have four new teams to contend with a potentially even some new rules to adapt to. The UFL is coming, and standings are sure to be shaken up.
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