The Generals certainly know that there isn’t anything in this world (USFL) that comes for free. They can’t slow down and they haven’t held back. This has resulted in 14 players re-signing or joining the team.
Mike Riley and company are on the war path in 2024 with one goal in mind, winning the USFL Championship in 2024. This time rather than re-signing veteran players they have signed not one but two 2023 draft picks. Making it four total. For those that thought the USFL draft wouldn’t have a near immediate impact on teams are quickly being proven wrong. Much like the CFL Draft sometimes it just takes a little patience.
Jalen Holston, Running Back, Virginia Tech
Adding a player on each side of the ball one of these moves has some undertones to it. The move to bring in Jalen Holston a running back from Virginia Tech. Holston was selected 69th overall by the Generals after six seasons with the Hokies. Once rated as the 633rd overall prospect coming out of high school Holston is no stranger to defying odds, or splitting snaps.
This move might ultimately spell the end of Trey Williams’s time with the Generals. He had made it quite clear on Twitter he wasn’t happy with taking a backseat to Kingston Davis, I assume adding more depth to an already crowded room won’t help that situation. However it’s highly likely the Generals have no intentions of helping that situation and may be looking to move on.
Bringing in Holston can help that cause. Holston was a career RBC guy in college, always splitting snaps, it wasn’t until his senior season but he finally got an opportunity to touch the ball 100 times. He would put up 387 yards and 5 touchdowns all career highs. He wasn’t used as a receiver often putting up just 22 career receptions.
He has played special teams on kick return units as the up man. Holston has the size and strength required to be relied on as a pass blocker at 5’10 218 pounds he put up 17 reps in the bench. He managed a 34 inch vertical jump, and 1.59 10-yard split showing he can be explosive but finished with a 4.72 overall 40. This speaks to a lack of top end speed but that isn’t really Houston’s game.
He is a short yardage back, a between the tackles banger. In fact during college he averaged under 4 yards per carry more often than not. However he did manage to produce many first downs for the school when called upon in short yardage situations. While I couldn’t find his full numbers, he produced 14 first downs and 3 touchdowns in 46 carries between 2019 and 2020. That’s just under 37% of his carries. I’m interested to see his role, and where Trey Williams lands. He has the feel of a Pittsburgh Mauler to me.
Victor Jones, Defensive Line, Wyoming/Akron
Victor Jones is a defensive end who spent his collegiate career at primarily at Wyoming, before transferring to Akron for his final season. Jones managed a solid career in college but flew under the radar primarily because of the schools he attended.
Wyoming 18-21: 72 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 1 interception, 4 Pass Break Ups, and 1 forced fumble.
Akron 2022: 53 tackles, 11.5 for a loss, 5.5 sacks, 3 QB hits, and 3 Pass Break Ups.
While he didn’t start full-time at Wyoming he still made an impact, then went on to show at Akron what he could really do when given a chance. At 6’4 250 pounds I could see the coaching staff getting creative with him.
He also put on a show at his pro-day. Running a 4.8 to 40 yard dash, and putting of 30 reps in the bench press. With an impressive first step at a 1.68 10-yard split. He also has an 82.5 inch wingspan. He has the strength and versatility to play inside but I believe he is best suited for a defensive end role in a 4-3. He isn’t quite large enough to hold up as a defensive tackle, but could see snaps there in passing situations.
If he weighed about 15 pounds more when he did his pro-day we might have seen him selected late on day three. Now he has an opportunity to begin his professional career, and continue to develop working with one of the best defensive coaches ever to grace any league in Ted Cottrell, and many veteran players around him. I have a feeling he will be a key member of the team in 2024.
Rookie Draft Paying Dividends
The 2023 rookie draft for the USFL is now paying dividends for the New Jersey Generals. They have aggressively signed and brought it there rookie draft picks in an effort to get younger on the roster while still putting forth the best possible team. Signing Holston and Jones goes a long way to achieving both goals as they could eventually amount to an upgrade over who they replace.
If you’re a fan of the USFL and the New Jersey Generals, check out my personal YouTube Channel where we have interviewed several members of your Generals’ squad.