Earlier this week, elite IFL QB Daquan Neal revealed his signing to the USFL on his Instagram account. Neal was a nightmare for IFL defenses, throwing for 138 touchdowns to only 19 interceptions. In his rookie year in 2019, Neal became the first rookie to win the IFL MVP as he threw for 59 touchdowns and three interceptions, while also rushing for 649 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Free Agent Signings:
• OL Bruce Trigg, NC Central/Morgan St.
• QB DaQuan Neal, Elizabeth City St.
— New Jersey Generals (@USFLGenerals) August 11, 2022
Neal was a standout at Elizabeth City State as well, throwing for 3218 yards, and rushing for 684 yards with 25 total touchdowns. If Neal makes it in the USFL, he would not be the first Viking quarterback to succeed in the league.
Almost 30 years ago, Johnny Walton was the starting quarterback on the Boston/New Orleans Breakers. As the title implies, Walton too was a standout at Elizabeth City State, throwing for 1400 yards and 16 touchdowns in 1969, while leading ECSU to an 8-1 record and earning First Team All-CIAA Honors.
However, this was not enough to earn him a shot in the NFL, so he began his pro career in the Continental Football League for the Indianapolis Capitols, throwing for 1713 yards and 17 touchdowns and leading them to the championship game. Unfortunately, the league ceased operations and Walton would not surface in a pro football league until the World Football League began.
In 1975, Walton threw for 2405 yards and 19 touchdowns before that league also folded. Luckily, Walton finally got his NFL shot the next season when the Eagles took a chance on him. Walton stayed in Philadelphia for four seasons, throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns as a backup. Walton would again take a break from football before another new league began, that league, of course, was the USFL.
Walton reached the peak of his career in the USFL, throwing for two straight 3,000-yard seasons with the Boston/New Orleans Breakers and 37 touchdowns spread across those two seasons. While Neal may not mirror Walton’s career with the Breakers since they will have an experienced QB room if Kyle Sloter, recently cut by the Jaguars, and “Friday Night” Shea Patterson to back him up.
Several schools may consider themselves “quarterback factories” such as Alabama and BYU, but given its track record in the USFL, Elizabeth City State may be close to follow.
Which players would you like to see join the USFL in 2023? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.