The Stars may have been one of the more quiet teams in terms of bringing in outside free agents, but they also were one of the more successful teams in retaining their players. Guys like Channing Stribling, Cody Brown, Te’Von Coney, Dexter Williams, Sean Brown, and Jordan Moore all have opted to re-sign with their 2022 home. I have spoken about the value of building on last year’s success and the Stars have agreed with my sentiments. Continuity is critical for the Stars’ long-term success in 2023 and beyond.
Larry Dalla-Betta, TE, 6’4 235 lbs
While they may not have brought in many outside free agents that doesn’t mean they haven’t made any moves to bring in outside talent. One position they have addressed multiple times this offseason was tight end. Last season’s tight end was more or less held down by Bug Howard who has yet to re-sign with the Stars. This year they brought in Ryan Izzo, and Dalla-Betta an intriguing young player alongside the veteran Izzo. Larry Dalla-Betta is one of those fascinating players who had a hard time settling on one position in high school. Playing quarterback, tight end, and defensive end, Dalla-Betta managed 781 total yards of offense while playing as a part-time quarterback during his senior season.
In college, the versatile Dalla-Betta finally settled in at one position. He would immediately be placed full-time at tight end for Western Kentucky in 2018. However, he didn’t post any statistics. He decided to transfer to West Florida International but again log no statistics. Watching his film from high school, it would appear Dalla-Betta has all the requisite athleticism to play the tight end position. The questions with him will have more to do with his lack of polish on his game. He has played tight end full-time for a very short time, and hasn’t gotten on the field and made much of an impact as of yet.
Dalla-Betta was also one of many players that received interest from the XFL. Listed at one point on two different rosters, Dalla-Betta opted to instead sign with the USFL. I would assume that Dalla-Betta saw a clearer path to playing time in 2023 on the Stars roster given the presence of just two other tight ends, Izzo, and Pro Wells who returns in 2023. However, in 2022, Howard catch 30 passes for 371 yards and 4 touchdowns leading the team in receiving yards and touchdowns. Wells on the other hand had just 3 receptions for 55 yards and 1 touchdown. To say this tight-end position is far from settled would be an understatement. I would say the Stars are considering all options at tight end in 2023, but I like Dalla-Betta’s chances of taking over a decent chunk of the target share in season two of the USFL. He wasn’t viewed as an asset by both the USFL and XFL if they didn’t like what they saw in person during workouts. Dalla-Betta could be a break-out name to watch in 2023.
Jordan Genmark-Heath, LB, 6’1 225 lbs
The Stars and defensive coordinator Brad Miller have brought in a few outside pieces to try and add to one of the better defensive units from 2022. One of those additions was linebacker Jordan Genmark-Heath. Genmark Heath isn’t all that different from another player the Stars have leaned on heavily in the past, and a man that shows up on this list later: Linebacker Jordan Moore the similarities are too much to ignore. Both players stand 225 pounds and began their college careers as safeties converting to linebackers. Genmark-Heath also happens to be a native of Stockholm, Sweden, where he lived until he was 14 years old.
Migrating to the United States just in time to start high school, the young player took to the field almost immediately upon his arrival in the states. He would go on to help his high school to many accolades during his time there, but none more impressive than in 2016 when his team went undefeated and won the state championship. At the time Genmark-Heath was a safety roaming the field allowed to attack the ball wherever it was. Upon heading to college, Genmark-Heath, who idolizes Kam Chancellor, did not make the move full-time to linebacker right away. He spent his freshman season, at Notre Dame, playing safety still, but saw most of his time on special teams where he collected 11 tackles. Credited with 16 tackles on the season.
In April 2018 he was asked to move to linebacker. He was a depth piece at linebacker seeing time as a starter due to injuries ahead of him on the depth chart. He would start a game against Northwestern where he collected 6 of his 16 tackles on the season. He again played in all 13 games. In 2019 it was much of the same, used as a depth piece, and special teams ace he collected 10 tackles on the year. In 2020 he didn’t play football deciding to focus on finishing his degree requirements during a covid marred 2020 campaign. This led him to attend UCLA as a graduate student in 2021.
In 2021 UCLA saw the value in Genmark-Heath’s sideline-to-sideline speed and placed him as an inside linebacker. This would be his first season as a full-time starter at the linebacker position in his career. He ended up placing second on the team in tackles with 55, as well as in sacks with 3.5. He also added 2 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 interception he returned for 20 yards. After the 2021 season, he was selected in the CFL Global Draft due to his international ties. However his time with the league was short, drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and he was given just 27 days to make an impression. He was released before October was even up, leaving him a free agent for the remainder of the 2022 season. The Stars came calling for the 2023 season. It will be interesting to see if he competes for the starting position with Josh Banderas.
First Cuts of the Offseason
The first cuts of the season come on January 13th. Every year there are players released from a team. This season will be no different as on the 13th, the Stars released DT Tony Fair. Fair was a 7th-year senior at one point having attended UAB, and Auburn before he ultimately tested the professional waters in 2022. Signing with the Stars last season, Fair managed 9 tackles in 2022 but no sacks. Having just completed his rookie season with the USFL, it will be interesting to see if and where he lands for the 2023 season. Does another USFL team see value there? Does he garner any XFL attention or is his best bet to take his chances indoors with the IFL, FCF CIF, or NAL in 2023?
Joey Alfieri, LB, 6’3 239 lbs
Joey Alfieri is a Stanford alum, having attended the school for five years. In high school, he demonstrated his athleticism by playing linebacker, and fullback/running back. He would collect so many accolades, we don’t have the space to list them all here, but he managed awards on both sides of the ball. This led him to be a highly sought-after recruit in 2014. As mentioned before he ultimately took his talents to Stanford. Attending the school he redshirted as a freshman before stepping into the lineup as a sophomore.
As a sophomore, he managed to play in 14 games starting 5 of them. Despite not being a full-time starter Alfieri found a way to affect the game often. He would finish the season with 40 tackles, 7 for a loss, and 3.5 sacks. By his third year with the team, he was a full-time starter finally. He would start all 13 games for the team that season, and have his best year yet. He managed 51 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble, and 2 interceptions in a single game. This would amount to his best season of college football. The following year he still played in 13 games but saw a dip in his statistics and playing time. This time he had just 37 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, and 2 sacks. Ultimately he rebounded in his final year with the team.
As a senior, he had 37 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble, and 1 recovery. He even scored a touchdown his only points in college. At his pro day following his senior season, he was the talk of the day when he shocked many scouts when he ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, hitting 18 mph. He also show cased explosiveness in the vertical jump with a 33.5-inch leap. His three cone drills were respectable running a 7.03, per NFLSavant.com his number was on par for safeties and defensive backs, not pass-rushing linebackers. He ran nearly a tenth of a second faster than the average for his position group, and around two-tenths of a second faster than most true defensive ends. Should he land at end in the Star’s wide 9 defense, he could wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. If you thought Alfieri was just an athlete and not a polished player, you would be wrong in this assumption.
Joey comes from a football family with both of his brothers playing college football. They ultimately both wound up following different paths in the professional field. While Joey was initially signed by the Eagles out of college, his brothers didn’t see much NFL attention and both have found themselves playing for the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League. Joey didn’t just spend time on one NFL roster, he saw time on many with a stint in New York with the Giants, and in San Francisco with the 49ers. While he can play inside or outside linebacker, I could see a scenario where the Stars asked him to add some weight and put his hand on the ground as a defensive end. He showed he could rush the passer in college as a rush linebacker for Stanford, so why not allow him to do it full-time?
Jordan Scarlett, RB, 5’11 210 lbs
Jordan Scarlett is just the latest running back to sign with the Stars. Having already re-signed Matt Colburn, and Dexter Williams the Stars seemingly had a solid room to build on with Darnell Holland, and Paul Terry expected back as well given their previous experience with the coaching staff in The Spring League. That outlook may have changed slightly with the addition of the former 5th-round pick.
Scarlett was originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2019 but entered the season as the 3rd back behind Christian McCaffery and Reggie Bonafan at the time. As a rookie, he managed 4 carries for 9 yards, 1 tackle, and 1 fumble recovery playing on special teams as well. He appeared in 9 games that season for the Panthers before suffering multiple injuries that caused the team to shut him down for the year. This would result in his release on August 31st during final cuts. After this, he began bouncing around the NFL. First with Detroit’s practice squad, then it was a futures deal with Miami, and a stint on their practice squad. He would appear in one game for the Dolphins in 2021 playing 16 special teams snaps but logging no in-game statistics.
By 2022 Scarlett was forced to look to alternative sources to continue his football career. This led him north of the border to the CFL. First, he would sign with the Montreal Alouettes, where he would spend 2 months with the team. He was then picked up by the Edmonton Elks who seemingly signed about 1 million players over the past season. Despite Edmonton signing him fairly quickly after his release, he would spend just 2 weeks on the team before he was let go again. After this, he turned his attention to the USFL and was signed officially on January 19th. Training camp news will be fun to follow this season with five very talented running backs on the roster, and three of those players had spent time under Andrus before 2023.
Cuts Not Complete Yet
A couple more players have been released as of January 24th. The Stars have moved on from OL Clay Legault, and LB Avery Roberts. Roberts I believe was just a victim of the numbers. After watching Te’Von Coney, Alfieri, and now Jordan Moore signed, it was a foregone conclusion someone on this roster would be the odd man out. That odd man was Roberts, now it will be interesting to see if either of these guys find themselves getting interest with other teams. Legault was signed before last season and spent the entire year on the team. It is surprising to see Legault let go only because the Stars haven’t added any offensive linemen of note this offseason.
Jordan Moore, LB, 6’3 225 lbs
Jordan Moore was one of the starting linebackers for the Stars in 2022. Although he has returned for the 2023 season, he may face some competition for snaps. Drafted by the Stars as a 28-year-old having spent time as a safety with the Denver Broncos, Moore made the move to linebacker in the USFL. He would play tremendously well at the position and end up second on the team in tackles with 48 behind only Cody Brown. He also added 2 sacks, and 1 interception as easily the most productive linebacker on the team.
Moore got his professional start in 2017 with the Atlanta Falcons. Originally he signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He would spend the entire training camp with his team before ultimately being released during final cuts. He cleared waivers and was ultimately a free agent. He had several workouts throughout the 2017 season but never seemed to latch on anywhere until Denver signed him to the practice squad in December.
During that 2017 preseason Moore graded out at a 62.7 per ProFootballFocus.com, but ultimately the Falcons didn’t see enough from the young linebacker. In 2018 he would grade out significantly lower but play more. This time notching a 53.6 grade, with 5 tackles. His issues were in coverage where he allowed 5 receptions on 6 targets. This highlighted the need to move Moore full-time to linebacker, but he never got the opportunity to show what he could do at the position with the NFL.
Moore is an elite level athlete as a linebacker, showcased by winning the Hurdle event for the State of Georgia three times over. He originally began his college career at TCU as a wide receiver/running back before transferring to the University of Texas-San Antonio where he would make the move to defense. In college, he returned to his winning ways on the track, with SEC and Big 12 conference championship victories. Who knows how his career would have progressed playing the offensive side of the ball? The Stars are certainly happy with his performance at linebacker and expect him to make another big impact in 2023 as their designated coverage linebacker.
Stability On Display for Stars
If you haven’t been following along let me reiterate that the Stars have focused on continuity since day one of the USFL Draft last season. They drafted 17 players that had previous experience with the coaching staff or had played against the coaches in the Spring League, or college. This created an atmosphere of a returning team, not that of one that was starting fresh. This helped their quest to a championship in 2022 when Case Cookus was familiar with his team’s offense due to time in the TSL and Bryan Scott’s backup came in handy when he stepped in and looked prepared to lead the team. They have continued this thought process to roster building in 2023, and now the only question is the aforementioned Case Cookus. Will he return to the USFL in 2023 and help lead the Stars to yet another Championship appearance?