The team is made up of: Chris Odom (HOU), Reggie Howard Jr. (NO), Toby Johnson (NJ), Davin Bellamy (NO), DeMarquis Gates (BHAM), Donald Payne (HOU), Jerod Fernandez (NO), Channing Stribling (PHIL), Shalom Luani (NJ), Bryce Tornedon (PITT), and Will Likely (HOU).
The Defensive Line
This is not a defensive line that you want to mess with. Leading the way is Chris Odom, who was a stud for the Houston Gamblers all year long. Odom leads the USFL in sacks, with 12 on the year – including multiple forced fumbles.
Reggie Howard has played quite well for both teams he’s been a part of (New Orleans and Tampa Bay). Meanwhile, Toby Johnson has wreaked havoc as a New Jersey General, making all sorts of plays for his squad.
Davin Bellamy is another outstanding defensive end, who has played at a variety of positions for Larry Fedora’s group. His presence has made New Orleans into one of the best defensive teams in the league.
Davin Bellamy, the man who told Baker Mayfield to “Humble yourself” after the 2018 Rose Bowl, delivers again pic.twitter.com/PRI07MJ710
The USFL has featured some outstanding linebackers. No surprise, three of the best in the league are present on this list. Donald Payne might just be the best of the bunch, which is no easy feat. He leads the USFL in tackles with 108, while also racking up a couple of sacks and interceptions on the year.
DeMarquis Gates is another name who has to be talked about. Gates has led the Birmingham Stallions defense throughout large chunks of the year, boasting a team-high 58 tackles (alongside 5.5 sacks). Gates has been incredible in multiple spring leagues (AAF, XFL), and the USFL has been no different.
Jerod Fernandez is another excellent defender on the New Orleans Breakers. When the team needs something to happen, Fernandez gets it done. He has 84 tackles on the season, and made a couple of huge plays to help New Orleans clinch the playoffs this past weekend.
Fumble and it's OURS 🌊🌊🌊
The defense has been all over the Bandits in the first half 💪
Headlining the cornerbacks is Channing Stribling, who has been an absolute ballhawk for the Philadelphia Stars. Stribling leads the USFL with seven interceptions, despite missing a couple of games due to an injury. Similar to Gates, Stribling has dominated in every spring league he has participated in, doing the same thing in the USFL.
Channing Stribling gets his SEVENTH interception of the season. @USFLStars lead 3-0.
Will Likely caps off Houston’s trio of players who made this list. Likely is right up there with Payne and Odom, as he has made major contributions to the Gamblers’ defensive success. Likely has four interceptions on the year, alongside 60 tackles, an impressive feat for a cornerback.
Bryce Tornedon has been a solid safety for the Pittsburgh Maulers, compiling 67 tackles and an interception on the year so far. Despite the Maulers not seeing much success on the field this season, Tornedon has been a bright spot on a team that has struggled.
Someone who has impressed a lot of people this year is Shalom Luani. He racked up 25 tackles, and four interceptions on the year, even though he was out for a couple of weeks with an injury. Luani has been fabulous for Mike Riley’s defense, heading into the postseason as one of the USFL’s elite safeties.
As we head towards the postseason, we look forward to watching a lot of these players ball out in the postseason. Keep an eye out on Channing Stribling, as he will certainly make a push for ten interceptions on the year.
What do you think of the All-USFL Team Defense? Who are some players that you think were snubbed from this list? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!