To no one’s surprise, the USFL alumni in the NFL are performing at a high level in the preseason. With 51 USFL to NFL signings since early July, many have taken full advantage of the opportunities presented to them.
Of course, KaVontae Turpin took the country by storm the other night, returning a kick and a punt for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Maurice Alexander impressed with the Detroit Lions, taking a kick back 61 yards.
IT'S TURPIN TIME, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. THE #USFL'S MVP. 97 YARDS TO THE HOUSE.
SAY IT WITH ME: SPRING. FOOTBALL. MATTERS!! pic.twitter.com/3UsSLrzw29
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenMI) August 21, 2022
However, there were plenty of USFL athletes who have exceeded expectations since arriving with their NFL organizations.
Micah Abernathy | S, Houston Gamblers
Micah Abernathy, a safety for the Houston Gamblers in 2022, has been sensational so far. He signed with the Green Bay Packers, and put on a show against New Orleans.
.@Cover22_ sniffs out the screen!#GoPackGo
📺: #NOvsGB on Packers TV Network pic.twitter.com/RXn1dAcpuR
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 20, 2022
One of his major highlights came in the second quarter, making an incredibly athletic interception that got everyone on the sideline hyped.
MICAH ABERNATHY SAYS "I'LL TAKE THAT!" 🔥😤@Cover22_ | (via @packers)pic.twitter.com/7HUkWx7Dlu
— USFL (@USFL) August 20, 2022
On top of that, he’s been one of Green Bay’s best defenders in the preseason. According to PFF, Abernathy has the highest grade of any defensive back on the team.
Best Packers defensive players by @PFF grade (among those who have played in both preseason games):
1. S Micah Abernathy
2. CB Kiondre Thomas
3. CB Keisean Nixon
4. LB Isaiah McDuffie
5. CB Shemar Jean-Charles
— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) August 21, 2022
With these impressive outings from Abernathy, his future is looking brighter than ever in the cold tundra up north.
Ramiz Ahmed | K, Pittsburgh Maulers
Another USFL-to-Green-Bay athlete is Ramiz Ahmed, who was a standout kicker for the Pittsburgh Maulers. He knocked through a USFL record 61 yard field goal, and now has an opportunity to make an impact in Green Bay considering the kicking issues they’re currently facing.
Ahmed did what he needed to do against the Saints, scoring eight points with two field goals and two XP’s. His longest field goal of the night was 45 yards.
Packer-Perfect 💯🙌@i_m_Ramiz puts on a performance with his Packers' kicking debut 💪 pic.twitter.com/AXrGkVvi4Q
— USFL (@USFL) August 20, 2022
Ike Brown | CB, New Orleans Breakers
Without a doubt, Ike Brown was one of the USFL’s best DB’s – and it’s not even close. He didn’t allow a single touchdown all season, and only surrendered one catch. In the one game where QB Vad Lee tested Brown’s coverage, he picked him off twice.
.@_IkeBrown WITH THE PICK 6️⃣!!!!!!!!!
📺: @FS1 pic.twitter.com/mVGKGgfadh
— New Orleans Breakers (@USFLBreakers) May 22, 2022
After signing with the Las Vegas Raiders, Brown’s play has been nothing short of elite. He played well in the Hall Of Fame game against Jacksonville, and built upon that performance against Miami in week two.
Perfect defensive pressure by @_IkeBrown. @Raiders
📱: Stream #LVvsMIA on NFL+ https://t.co/3cEMJ23d2u pic.twitter.com/6ATfclJMkB
— NFL (@NFL) August 21, 2022
Through two weeks, Brown is leading the Raiders with a PFF grade of 90.2. Obviously, the USFL star belongs on the NFL’s stage, and should make waves in the regular season if he sticks with the team.
#Raiders Top/Bottom 5 PFF Defense:
Ike Brown: 90.2
Curtin Bolton: 89.9
Johnathan Abram: 89.7
Malcolm Koonce: 76.6
Tashan Bower: 74.0
Matthias Farley: 45.9
Luke Masterson: 44.5
Darien Butler: 44.4
Rock Ya-Sin: 38.7
Chris Jones: 28.0
— Tristen Kuhn (@KuhnTristen) August 21, 2022
Tae Hayes | CB, Birmingham Stallions
Tae Hayes, a Championship winning cornerback with the Stallions, signed with the Carolina Panthers. He’s been doing well in training camp, and made a major impact in week two with a pick six.
TAE TO THE HOUSE 💨@hayeskt2 | (via @NFL)pic.twitter.com/URDbdCALqp
— USFL (@USFL) August 20, 2022
Hayes was fantastic with Birmingham, and is now putting himself in a position to succeed in the NFL. If his solid NFL preseason performances keep up, he will have an excellent shot at making the regular season roster.
Victor Bolden Jr. | WR, Birmingham Stallions
Victor Bolden needs no introduction. He was the Stallions best, and most consistent, athlete in 2022. His efforts in the USFL Championship earned him MVP of the game.
USFL Champion WR Victor Bolden gets a shoutout on tonight’s @NFLonFOX broadcast 👏👏 @AZCardinals x @vicbolden pic.twitter.com/MlD4FMCdxU
— USFL (@USFL) August 22, 2022
Bolden signed with the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason, and has been electrifying in training camp. His explosive speed, paired with high IQ and top tier hands, make him into a valuable weapon for any offense.
Victor Bolden doing Victor Bolden things🔥
The USFL Championship Game MVP looks to be fitting in nicely 😏
— USFL (@USFL) August 9, 2022
Against Baltimore in week two, Bolden led the Cardinals receiving core with five catches for 66 yards. Bolden is once again proving that these USFL players can play; and outperform, others at the highest level.
It’s incredible to see so many USFL players making a major impact on NFL teams in the preseason. Garrett McGhin, an All-USFL lineman for the New Jersey Generals, has been outstanding for the New York Giants so far.
DeMarquis Gates, who signed with the Chicago Bears, was excellent against Seattle. The ferocious linebacker finished the game with five total tackles, including two TFL. TE Sal Cannella made an important catch for Green Bay, breaking tackles as he found the first down marker.
Overall, the last couple of months have been spectacular for the USFL. With over 50 players earning opportunities with NFL teams, it proves that the professional football league is accomplishing their goal: giving these athletes a national platform to showcase their skill sets.
The United States Special Teams League🙌🏈
Throwing it back to these 3 🔥🔥 special teams performances in the playoffs last season ‼️👏@KaVontaeTurpin 🤝 @_hardtime3 🤝 @vicbolden pic.twitter.com/vUvrtr59Rg
— USFL (@USFL) August 21, 2022
Obviously, the NFL was tuning into the USFL all year long. With their unique FOX Sports-NBC Sports partnership, it allows players to display their abilities to the entire nation. As preseason continues, expect many more success stories to come out of these camps.
You can stay up to date on all USFL to NFL signings with our official tracker.
Which USFL players have you enjoyed watching in the NFL Preseason in 2022? Are there any standouts that you think should make the regular season roster? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!