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Memphis Showboats

QB Ryan Willis Jumps on Ship, Joins the Showboats after Battlehawks Release

It didn’t take very long for Ryan Willis to find employment. Two days after Willis was released from the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks, Willis is making his way to Memphis to join the Showboats in the USFL. The former Spring League MVP will battle Cole Kelley and Brady White for the QB1 position in 2023.

Willis has been talked about in nauseum in Alt-Football circles. After his career at KU and Virginia Tech, he joined the Spring League in 2021 earning MVP honors along with winning the Megabowl for the team. He’d earn a contract in late 2021 as the Chicago Bears emergency QB even being active for a game.

Willis was waived in May of 2022, and would assigned to the Battlehawks on November 15th during the XFL draft. Willis’ time with St. Louis would be limited as the team released him February 6th, presumably confirming AJ McCarron’s status as QB1. Willis now joins his 4th Professional Football League with his 4th team. While a member of the Spring League’s Linemen Willis led the TSL in Yards (1680) and Passing Touchdowns (13) enroute to his MVP.

For the Showboats there is a bit more competition in the Quarterback room in 2023. With Brady White announced the starter in November, the Quarterback room has seen college standout Cole Kelley, and Alt-Football standout Ryan Willis make the room a bit stuffy for the second year QB. With the addition of Willis, the Showboats truly have a battle and will look to improve from their 4-6 record and hopefully make a playoff run.

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Pat Rifino is a former Security Contractor turned writer. He began his writing career talking about geo-politics, and the defense industry. Now Pat writes about alt-league football, while hanging out with his dogs in his off time.



  1. Ken Granito

    February 8, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    I am not saying there would not be a better place for him in the USFL, but Memphis works. He will get the opportunity to fight for a job as there is already talent on the roster. From what I saw from him in TSL, he will likely win the job and have a bevy of receivers to throw to, a capable line (should they stay healthy), one of only 5 true home situations Spring alt leagues and an opportunity to get game film in a meaningful situation.

  2. 4th&long

    February 8, 2023 at 11:04 pm

    Huge signing… will he be the last to jump XFL ship?

    I hope he stays in the league even if not the starter. If Philly gets Cookus back and B Scott finds his way back the USFL will have quite the QBs in 2023.


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