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USFL Offseason in Review: Birmingham Stallions Linebackers

The Linebacking corps of the Birmingham Stallions was one of the most fun and dynamic units in the USFL of 2022. Led by DeMarquis Gates, and Scooby Wright, while being supplemented by Brody Buck, Nate Holley, and Terrill Hanks the Stallions had one of the most experienced Linebacker rooms in the USFL, and it showed on the field. Moving into 2023, the Stallions are without DeMarquis Gates (NFL), Terrill Hanks (XFL), with the status of Nate Holley (unknown), and Scooby Wright (WWE) in question the Stallions most eccentric position shapes to be a bit different come April.

Who is New?

The Stallions have added two Linebackers this offseason in addition to “officially” releasing Terrill Hanks. The Stallions added Elijah Sullivan and Rashad Smith, both of which have a little bit of NFL experience. Smith comes from FAU as a 2020 NFL UDFA, whose spent time with Five NFL teams appearing in two games and recording three tackles. Sullivan joins the Stallions as a 2021 NFL UDFA, who spent 2021 with the 49ers and Chiefs Practice Squads, and was released by the Jaguars in May of 2022. Both Linebackers possess great speed (Sullivan 4.69/Smith 4.67) and could be assets in the Stallions Pass Defense.

Who is Coming Back:

Well, that’s the Million Dollar question right there. The departure of All-USFL linebacker DeMarquis Gates leaves a huge hole in the Linebacking Corps, and the Defense in general. Another question circling the Stallions is SharkDawg Scooby Wright, and if he’s able to play due to his potential commitment to the WWE if that works out for him. The Stallions are also going into 2023 without Nate Holley, who ended the season on IR, and has been extremely quiet about his return to the league. The Stallions do bring back Brody Buck who filled in nicely for Holley and Quentin Poling a late season signing who total 8 Tackles in limited action last season.

It appears that Sullivan and Smith are in prime position to start in place of Hanks, Gates or Wright. If Holley’s status in question, Brody Buck would continue to replace him despite an athletic drop off. Something to keep eyes on, is Nate Holley’s twin brother Nick Holley recently signed with the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks and could easily be eyeing a reunion with his twin.

Closing Thoughts:

The Linebacker Room was the heart and soul of this Defense last season during their championship run. With the additions of Sullivan and Smith the Stallions do make strides in the positive direction to ease the loss of Gates, and Hanks however with Wright and Holley’s status in question the Linebacking corps is the teams biggest question going into 2023. While GM Zach Potter and Head Coach Skip Holtz have done an exception job at finding potential replacements as of right now that’s all it is potential.

Post Script:

After this article was completed, Scooby Wright Announced via his Twitter he is returning:

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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.

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