USFL hosts first college draft
Published 10:54 am Wednesday, February 22, 2023
On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the United States Football League (USFL) hosted its inaugural USFL College Draft with teams able to select draft-eligible college players for the first time.
The USFL used a 10-round model with each team getting one pick per round. The only exception was the New Jersey Generals, who were penalized for violating roster management rules and lost their first round pick. The players selected will not necessarily play for the USFL this season and will possibly never play with the league, depending on if or where they are drafted in the upcoming NFL Draft. Though, some players will likely play for their respective teams either this season or next season.
The Birmingham Stallions selected UAB offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort with the seventh overall pick in the first round. Telfort earned All-Conference USA First-Team honors in 2022 and was All-CUSA honorable mention in 2021, as well. In the second round, the Stallions selected Grand Valley State offensive tackle Quinton Barrow, who earned Division II CCA All-Region honors in both 2021 and 2022. He also earned All-Conference honors and was Grand Valley State Offensive Lineman of the Year.
In the third round, Birmingham selected Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham, who was a three-year starter for the Cardinals. During his Louisville career, he threw for 7,889 yards and 62 touchdowns and also earned 38 rushing touchdowns during his career, which is the second most in school history for a quarterback. Cunningham is a Montgomery native that played high school football at Park Crossing.
The Stallions followed that pick up by taking TCU receiver Derius Davis in the fourth round. Davis tallied 42 catches for 531 yards and five touchdowns in 2022, along with setting the school record for longest punt return for a touchdown in school history. Davis ended his TCU career with 1,145 kickoff return yards and one touchdown, 658 punt return yards and five scores, 1,513 receiving yards and nine touchdowns and 183 rushing yards and two more scores.
The Stallions moved to the defensive side in the fifth round, taking Illinois State linebacker Zeke Vandenburgh. Vandenburgh earned 100 tackles, 21 tackles-for-loss and 14 sacks in 2022. Birmingham went back to offense in the sixth round, taking William & Mary offensive tackle Colby Sorsdal with the 47th overall pick. Sorsdal earned FCS All-American honors in 2022 and was a two-time All-Conference selection.
In the seventh round, Birmingham selected Charlotte receiver Grant DuBose, who tallied 1,648 yards and 15 touchdowns in two seasons at Charlotte. He earned All-Conference USA honors in both 2021 and 2022. The Montgomery native played high school football at Park Crossing and started his college career at Miles College in Montgomery.
Birmingham took its fourth offensive lineman in the eighth round, drafting Arkansas-Pine Bluff offensive guard Mark Evans II. Evans earned All-Conference in 2019. In the ninth round, Birmingham selected Stephen F. Austin defensive end BJ Thompson, who recorded 39 tackles, 12.5 tackles-for-loss and six sacks last season. In Round 10, Birmingham chose UAB cornerback Starling Thomas V. Thomas earned All-Conference honors in 2022, recording 30 tackles and 15 pass breakups. He earned All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2021, as well.
Other USFL draft picks that have Alabama ties include Alabama State cornerback Keenan Isaac (Houston Gamblers), UAB receiver Trea Shropshire (Memphis Showboats) and Alabama A&M linebacker Dre Terry (Philadelphia Stars).