Once upon a time, the New Jersey Generals upset the collegiate draft process by signing Georgia megastar RB Herschel Walker before he was eligible to be drafted by the NFL. Today, USFL 2023 is stepping ahead of the NFL draft again, but in an entirely different and much friendlier way.
USFL 2023 And New Jersey Generals Carving A New Draft History
Forty years ago, the NFL did not allow underclassmen/juniors to declare for their draft. The out-of-the-box move by the New Jersey Generals to sign the Heisman Trophy-winning Walker would change the landscape of the NFL draft process forever.
The Generals marched to their own orders back then, and the league begrudgingly followed along.
Flash forward four decades later, and the USFL is back, trying something different that is nowhere near as threatening to the NFL.
Today the new iteration of the league held its first college draft. Designed to target 2023 draft-eligible players before the NFL’s draft process commences two months from now.
A unique idea, with all eight of the USFL’s teams selecting players who may be late-round NFL picks or likely undrafted free-agent signings in May.
Think of it as getting out in front of the market before it opens. Except it’s more like a bargain hunt instead of jumping on the highest luxury items.
As tempting as it was, no USFL teams drafted Alabama’s Bryce Young today. That lottery ticket wasn’t punched. Rebel leagues from the past may have taken that plunge for PR purposes alone.
Today, the USFL’s eight teams selected 80 draft-eligible players across ten rounds.
The ultimate irony, on draft day, after all these years later, is that the New Jersey Generals couldn’t escape controversy. The Generals were penalized by the league for violating off-season roster management rules. Per the new CBA, USFL teams were supposed to pare down their rosters to a training camp size of 58. New Jersey played loose with the restrictions, and at one point, this off-season exceeded 80 players.
For a full glance at every selection in the USFL Draft. You can click here.
New Jersey Generals Select Ten Players In 2023 USFL College Draft
*Round Two Selection #8. (15th overall) New Jersey Generals
Adrian Martinez, QB, Kansas State
Adrian Martinez played at Nebraska for four seasons before transferring to Kansas State in 2022. In his lone season at KSU, he appeared in ten games while completing (64.1%) of his passes for six touchdowns and an interception. Martinez also ran 111 times for 627 yards and ten scores for the Big 12 Champs.
The California native played in 49 career games with 47 starts over his five-year collegiate career, which included one season at K-State.
Martinez finished his college run ranked third nationally among active players and second among quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns (45), total touchdowns scored, and fifth in total offense (12,680).
Mike Riley, a former Cornhusker himself, now potentially pairs up with Adrian Martinez. The 6’3, 225lb signal-caller will presumably enter a QB room that includes DeAndre Johnson and Kyle Lauletta.
*Round Three: Selection #8. (23rd overall) New Jersey Generals
J.J. Holloman, WR, Tennessee State
J.J. Holloman, a former four-star recruit, played at Georgia and Florida International before finishing his career at Tennessee State. In 2022, he finished with 33 receptions for 353 yards and one touchdown. His best season came in 2018 at Georgia, where he recorded 418 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
The 6’3, 215lb wideout has a ton of talent and potential. But wasn’t able to live up to his billing in college. Kirby Smart at Georgia dismissed him from the Bulldogs team because of off-field issues. But another player with a similar back history took the USFL and NFL by storm in 2022. Generals and league MVP KaVontae Turpin.
*Round 4 Selection: #8. (31st overall) New Jersey Generals
Victor Jones, DE, Akron
The 6’4, 255lb edge rusher, Jones, recorded 5.5 sacks for Akron in 2022. He transferred to the Zips after appearing in 37 games for Wyoming- In three seasons with the Cowboys; Jones recorded 72 tackles and 10.5 tackles for a loss. New Jersey, who has one of the veteran lines in the league, could use some young blood up front.
*Round 5 Selection #8. (39th overall) New Jersey Generals
De’Jahn Warren, CB, Jackson State
One of the more intriguing players selected by any USFL team. De’Jahn Warren was the number one JUCO cornerback in the country in 2021, and he infamously flipped from Georgia to Jackson State before signing day. In 2021, he started six games and recorded 16 solo tackles and one pass breakup. In 2022, he recorded ten solo tackles and one pass breakup.
The lanky 6’1, 185lb Cornerback is a legitimate NFL prospect. Sources indicate that Warren will wait out the NFL draft and undrafted signing process before deciding if he will join the USFL.
Round Six, Selection #6. (45) New Jersey Generals
Derrick Tucker, S, Texas Southern
The 6’3, 225lb Tucker spent three seasons at Texas A&M before transferring to Texas Southern. He recorded 109 total tackles, three interceptions, six pass deflections, and two forced fumbles for his career. Tucker was a four-star recruit in the 2017 class and similar to the Generals’ selection De’Jahn Warren. Tucker flipped to Texas Southern after Eddie George sold him on the program. In the same way, Deion Sanders sold Warren about JSU.
Round Seven: Selection #6. (53) New Jersey Generals
Jermaine McDaniel, DE, North Carolina A&T
More pass-rushing talent for New Jersey as the Generals select Jermaine McDaniel Jr. The 6’4 South Carolina product spent two seasons at App State before transferring to NC A&T. In 2019, McDaniel registered 40 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. He was a Second Team All-MEAC selection. In the 2021 and 2022 seasons combined, he recorded 12 sacks, with 8 of them coming in 2022.
Round 8: Selection #6. (61) New Jersey Generals
Adam Korsak, P, Rutgers
An intriguing selection considering that the Generals have brought back standout punter Brock Miller. Perhaps Adam Korsak, the 2022 Ray Guy Award winner — given to the nation’s best punter won’t ever play a snap in a Generals’ uniform, as he could likely end up with an NFL team this spring. Korsak was a First Team All-American and holds the NCAA career record for punting yards with 15,318.
Round 9 Selection #6. (69) New Jersey Generals
Jalen Holston, RB, Virginia Tech
Jalen Holston is a four-star recruit who was a dominant player in high school. He was a two-time all-state selection who rushed for 4,071 yards at Stockbridge High School in South Carolina.
For various reasons, the 5’11, 217lb tailback didn’t quite have the collegiate career everyone anticipated. He recorded modest numbers as a rotational player over six seasons at Virginia Tech. Holstern rushed for 1,235 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in college.
Round Ten: Selection #6. (77) New Jersey Generals
Nick Zecchino, LS, Purdue
Only in a draft like this will you see a long snapper selected. They deserve love too. Nick Zecchino was at UConn in 2016 before transferring to Purdue. From 2019 to 2021 at Purdue, he appeared in 37 games as a long snapper and was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. The Generals are covering their bases here, looking to add insurance at the position.
*Round Ten: Selection #9. (80th overall) New Jersey Generals
Rey Estes, CB, Grambling State
Rey Estes becomes the USFL’s version of Mr. Irrelevant. However, the former high-school quarterback and Minnesota transfer had anything but an irrelevant college career as one of the top HBCU prospects. CBS Sports’ Emory Hunt had Estes as one of the best small-college prospects that NFL teams should target in the 2023 process.
The 5’11, 175lb Estes has prototypical slot cornerback traits. Despite his lighter frame, he is a very physical player who can play press coverage. Rey Estes had 75 career tackles.