With the USFL is in a bit of a Quarterback pickle going into 2023. Most recently the league saw Luis Perez and Kyle Sloter get drafted by the XFL, KJ Costello remains unsigned, while Case Cookus remains tucked away on the Rams practice squad. With the XFL supplemental draft scheduled to take in early January the Quarterbacks Jordan Ta’amu, Bryant Scott, and Paxton Lynch are all rumored to be attempting a jump from the league upon being released from their contracts come 12/31.
Most recently the league did add two quarterbacks during the past week. Jalen Morton was signed by the Stallions, who was recently cut by the CFL’s Ti-Cats, and also saw Aqeel Glass get signed by the Breakers who was thought to be an XFL prospect. Despite these two signings it appears that the USFL is looking to be down Five Quarterbacks.
Below are Five Quarterbacks the USFL should target to in an effort to combat their recent loses to the XFL.
John Wolford Wake Forest
Wolford may be a shocker to some, but a recent addition of Baker Mayfield did not make his NFL future so clearly. Wolford had an opportunity to really solidify his position as the Rams back up for the next several years. Wolford whose been with the team since departing the AAF with the Arizona Hotshots, had a cameo appearance in 2020 playing extremely well before getting hurt in the Rams playoff game in 2020 vs the Seahawks. In 2022, Wolford’s play has not been great, and has probably allowed the Rams to think they can move on from him. Wolford’s experience and spring league pedigree may allow him the confidence to bet on himself put together a solid sample of game play in the USFL for him have another NFL team allow him to join their QB room as a QB2 or a guaranteed roster spot as a QB3. Wolford’s contract with the Rams is set to expire after this season.
David Pindell UConn
Pindell was a JuCo prospect who started 16 games at UConn before going undrafted in 2019. He’d have some tryouts with the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who wanted him to play other positions like running back, wide receiver and punt returner, but having never played those positions before, he ended up getting cut. Pindell also had a stint in the CFL with the Alouettes, but in 2021 he would begin making his story known in the FCF. Pindell’s 2021 saw him play in two arena leagues, losing in the FCF championship with the Glacier Boyz, and winning an NAL championship with the Albany Firebirds. Most recently Pindell has been in Japan’s X League where he awaits an opportunity to prove he can compete in the traditional outdoor game.
Stetson Bennett Georgia
A wildcard, but ultimately Stetson Bennett isn’t really expected to wow anyone in the upcoming 2023 draft. Easily one of the more accomplished QB’s in SEC history Bennett’s story may not have the happiest ending despite being favored to win the National Championship. Bennett’s limited skillset and size leave much to be desired for however, Bennett has competed and won at every opportunity he’s had. For Bennett the question for him is this: Is it better for him to go back and forth on NFL practice squads and waiver wires? Or could he put together a great string of games in the USFL to show he can compete at a professional level. If Bennett were to sign with the USFL it would not surprise me to see him jump to the XFL if given an opportunity due to the more favorable schedule in regards of signing with an NFL team. Regardless having Stetson Bennett in the USFL or XFL is a major win for Spring Football fans in a PR sense.
Anthony Gordon Washington State
Anthony Gordon is QB who seems to be primed for Alt-Leagues. After a record setting 2019 season Gordon left Washington State leading the nation in passing. Since then, he’s bounced around four NFL teams, and has had some workouts in the past couple months, but unfortunately nothing has stuck. With Gordon still wanting to play and needing an opportunity the USFL would be the prime position for him to extend his career.
Austin Aune North Texas
Aune is not getting any younger and will be 30 if he comes back for his Redshirt Senior Season. Originally a Minor League Baseball Prospect with the Yankees, Aune was released in 2018 before joining the Arkansas Razorbacks for the spring semester. Upon realizing a crowded QB room, Aune transferred to North Texas where he became the full-time starter in 2021. Aune put together record-breaking season for North Texas breaking Mason Fine’s passing record leading the Mean Green to a Conference Championship game. Though obviously talented, Aune’s age brings the question of who wants a 30-year rookie into their quarterback room. For Aune the question may come down to what he sees as a long team option in pro-football. On December 7th it’s rumored he would declare for the NFL draft after the Frisco Bowl this Saturday. Aune may be able to make an NFL roster but could be looked unfavorably due to his age. If Aune chooses to join the USFL he’ll have opportunity to show case his skill set in an effort to solidify himself as a long term QB2 option for NFL teams.
As the season gets closer, time will tell which future USFL QBs come to join the league’s second year. Moving forward if the USFL is to survive and be an entertaining product, strong QB play is needed for the future of the league.