The Philadelphia Stars continue to show how much they value special teams as they re-sign top return man Chris Rowland. Rowland was one of the most electric players on the roster in 2023 before his injury. He had accounted for 425 total yards from scrimmage in just 3 games. They also brought in Seth Rowland who is expected to play running back, and see time on special teams coverage units, and possibly as a punt returner as well.
In my personal opinion there are few players in the entire USFL that hold more value than a healthy Chris Rowland, keeping him with the Stars was at or near the top of the priority list heading into this off-season. The Stars are once again finding a way to lock up their own play-makers, while sprinkling in some new faces. I can’t help but wonder, is it enough to get them back to their championship level of play in 2024. If the merger does indeed go through, there will only be more competition for playoff spots moving forward.
It’s no coincidence that the Stars offense lost some of its explosiveness when Rowland left the field. Rowland was averaging 142 per game total prior to injury. Making him far and away the most productive player on the team in his short stint.
Even WR1 and former first round pick Corey Coleman averaged nearly 55 yards less per game over the season than Rowland did. Rowland’s value to the Stars wasn’t limited to any one facet of the game either which is why he was a huge priority to re-sign for the 2024 season. The move to re-sign Chris came just before the news broke about his brother, Seth, signing a contract with the Stars as well.
Seth Rowland graduated from Tennessee State University after four seasons as a rotational back in the offense. He most recently played overseas in Finland before getting the call from the USFL. One thing to note about this signing is he is a direct threat to Paul Terry who was with the Stars through the entire 2022 season, and late in 2023 after Darnell Holland was released.
While in college Seth began primarily playing on special teams coverage units tallying 5 tackles as a freshman before ultimately seeing a larger role in other facets of the game. The 5’6 185 pound back saw a dramatic uptick in offensive snaps as a sophomore going from zero offensive touches to 98, and adding 1 punt return. He totaled 451 yards or 4.55 yards per touch in his second season. He continued to play on coverage units adding 4 tackles.
In year three he suffered an injury after just 6 games. He had just 3 offensive touches for 18 yards on the season. He added 3 tackles on coverage units. He would bounce back as a senior managing a career high 6 tackles while adding 1 punt return for 25 yards, and 78 offensive touches for 463 yards. Setting a career high in yardage despite having 20 less touches. He averaged 6.17 yards per touch.
Originally signing to play in Finland late in 2022, he returned in 2023 to light up the field. Totaling 2,588 all purpose yards while being named returner of the year, and voted in as an All-Star. It’s easy to see why the Stars wanted him in their backfield for 2024.
Stars Offense Adding Playmakers Ahead of 2024
Essentially by adding Seth, they are gaining a near clone of Chris Rowland, albeit with more upside as a runner, and punt returner than his brother who is best known for his exploits as a receiver, and kick returner. This means we could see both of these players take on large roles in 2024, while doing their best to spell each other and stay healthy. Best of luck to the Rowland brothers, two dynamic athletes that can only make the Stars offense better in 2024.