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Philadelphia Stars

Philadelphia Stars Shuffle Roster, Re-Sign Familiar Faces

The Stars are now 4-5 but know they are still very much in the playoff hunt. They have added three players to help them make their playoff push.

The Stars just lost another game and fell below .500 once again, but still stand atop the North division as everything stands. They aren’t resting on their laurels expecting the team to magically get better overnight. In fact they have signed three more players, and released one. 

Running back, oh oh, Running back to you
Running back to you-Nico Santos

With the Stars having again been hit by injuries, and needing depth they decided to serenade a couple former Stars with the Nico Santos lyrics “Running Back to You”. Bart Andrus to Paul Terry and Colby Ragland (probably): “When you needed me most, oh, That’s when I turned up the least. Why did I keep lying to myself? When I was chasing someone else? Oh, when I should’ve known that, I’d be running back to you” The Stars have turned to familiar faces with the playoffs on the line, with this familiarity help hasten their impact and get them on the field right away for week 10?

At running back injuries have made it nearly impossible to have any depth to speak of. At one point it was simply Matt Colburn and Dexter Williams on the depth chart. Now with Colburn hurt two weeks ago, the Stars activated Darnell Holland who had spent most of the season on the injured list. 

Paul Terry RB/WR

After just one game active, they have released Holland and re-signed Paul Terry who was released before the season began in 2023. This is an interesting move because the Stars waited all the way until week 10 to address Holland’s health issues that have kept him unavailable all season long. 

Paul Terry on the other hand was healthy and available all year long. In fact he was beginning to consider other leagues overseas when Andrus and company called him back. While I’m glad Terry is back, I question why he wasn’t signed after the Chris Rowland injury that ended his season. Regardless Terry is now back to add depth at running back and wide receiver given his ability to play both positions. 

In 2022, Terry played in 6 games starting 4 for the Stars. He contributed nearly as many targets as he did carries with 31 carries, and 25 targets. Finishing the season with 49 touches for 289 yards and 2 touchdowns. Adding 1 kick return for 18 yards and 1 tackle on special teams. He’s a valuable piece of this offense and I’m thrilled he is back. 

Colby Ragland, T/G UAB 

Colby Ragland is an offensive tackle who was signed midway through last season to help solidify the line. A 2022 rookie, Ragland is still very young and developing so I am excited to see him back to allow him to continue to learn and grow as a player. 

He has actually suited up for 3 games with the Stars in 2023 already, but returns following an injury to starting left tackle Drew Himmelman. With Himmelman injured, and the protection as a whole was spotty at best this week, the Stars signed Ragland and another lineman to add depth for the playoff stretch. 

A JUCO product that parlayed two seasons at that level into a scholarship offer from UAB. Ragland has no lack of College experience. Starting 31 games, and appearing in 35 games with UAB. Ragland primarily played left tackle for the Blazers with 824 snaps in 2019, 402 snaps in 2020, with a cameo at left guard for 134 snaps. 

In 2021 Ragland added 840 snaps to his resume, and this time the majority of his time came away from left tackle. He played 335 snaps at left guard, 3 snaps at left tackle, 9 snaps at right guard, and 486 snaps at right tackle. He also saw 5 snaps as a 6th offensive lineman/in-line tight end. 

Ragland gave up just 7 sacks, and 7 QB hits in 4 seasons with UAB, committing 10 penalties. His average grade was solid at: 66.3 collectively. His best season came at right tackle in 2021 when he graded out at an impressive 79.9, and peaked at 80.7 as a run blocker. Hopefully we see him used as a 6th OL at times over the next few weeks as the Stars incorporate more jumbo sets. Adding a player at this point in the season that knows the offense could be crucial to Macgyver-ing this line back together for the next three weeks. Something has to give because Case Cookus can’t continue to take the beating he has each week.

Chris Toth, OT, Aurora 

Toth might be from a small D3 school, but that didn’t stop the 6’6 307 offensive lineman from getting a rookie minicamp invite from his hometown Chicago Bears. The Illinois native didn’t stick with Chicago but now gets a short opportunity to prove he can play a higher level of competition. 

Toth is a high level athlete regardless of where he attended college. He scored an 8.21 relative athletic score out of a possible 10. His 40-yard dash and specifically his 10-yard split show he can fire off the ball quickly. His 2.89 10 yard split ranked among the best in the 2023 draft class graded as a 9.39. 

He further displayed his lower body explosion when he managed a 31 inch vertical at 307 pounds. Another mark that had him topping 9 out of 10 of his peers. However he may need to continue working on agility as the main score bringing his overall grade is his 3-cone drill where he ran a 7.8 which is fairly slow, and ranked 4.75 out of 10. His bench press left something to be desired as well with only 19 reps. 

His weight at 6’6 for the pro-day was 307 pounds and led to a negative mark there as well with a 4.72, I would be curious to see how his grade was affected if listed at 325 pounds instead of 307. Do we see his grade jump up a significant amount? Regardless how you slice it, there is a lot to like about Toth, and I’m excited about the addition of another young developmental prospect who could turn into a great player for the Stars. 

Darnell Holland

I spoke about it in the Paul Terry section, but I was very surprised to see this move to release Holland made. The team kept Holland all season long on the inactive list due to an injury. They instead opted to carry just two backs at times. 

Then just a week ago they brought in a running back in Jamyest Williams, who I expected to serve as depth and potentially take over that RB2 spot. Now with the addition of Terry, and his knowledge of the offense, I see Terry immediately being inserted as the top back up. 

There will be no real delay for him to learn the offense given his time with this staff in 2022, and his immediate contributions should be felt in week 10 and the playoffs soon after. The questionable part of this move is the fact they waited until week 10 to re-sign a perfectly viable contributor opting to carry an injured back who even when active carries the ball just 5 times for 14 yards. Not exactly what the Stars had hoped after carrying him all season. 

Final Words

I have to wonder why It took so long to make this move. The Stars made a similar decision with Bryan Scott, but that too ended up poorly. Neither Scott or Holland now reside on the roster or even in the USFL. The coaching staff has shown unrivaled loyalty to their players, but some decisions have certainly looked like head-scratchers in hindsight. These are just two of several examples. With many more scattered throughout the roster. I admire the loyalty to your players, but the greatest ability in football is availability. Especially due to the strict constrictions on USFL rosters. 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ken Granito

    June 14, 2023 at 10:09 am

    Good article and yes it made me wonder about loyalty. Even in the Championship game we thought it was Terry’s time to shine, but they signed Dexter Williams who learned fast enough relegate Terry to the back up role. Just glad to have him back. My gf even had him on her Fantasy team a couple of weeks last year and we met Terry’s parents at the USFL Championship game. They really seemed like great people. I am happy they will get to see him play again. The record holder of the first 3pt PAT will get a chance to add to his football career and hopefully will show enough to stick.

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