It all started with a whimper and zero marketing dollars behind it. But over the past two months, the Spring League (TSL) has gained enough ground in the football community, which FOX Sports has teamed up to help revive the USFL next year. A developmental football league has been needed since the day the NFL decided to end the World League. Meanwhile, TSL will continue to be a power system for professional American football leagues.
Here’s a look at Team Aviators’ Top 5 Prospects (Head Coach: Terry Shea):
1. Erick Browne, OL, 6-3, 302, Merrimack, 24
Eventually, the NFL will recognize that Browne can play at a very high level. He has experience in all positions of the offensive line, but his new central place could be the best home for him in the pros. Browne wears a chip on his shoulder and impressed HUB Football offensive line coach Eugene Chung during a recent HUB Football practice. Its representatives in TSL allowed it to improve its mechanics, as well as its versatility. Look for Browne to see soon.
2. Dylan Stapleton, TE, 6-5, 242, James Madison, 22
Stapleton’s size and athleticism immediately stood out. A great convert, there have been several games in college where he literally carried JMU on his comeback, making show takes and racking up touchdown holds in highlights. His new tight position seemed to suit him well in TSL, as a dangerous threat of shifting into the red zone. Stapleton suffered a shoulder injury during training camp while with the Houston Texans last season. If he was in good health, he would be considered an NFL practice team-type prospect.
3. Kyahva Tezino, LB, 6-0, 236, San Diego, 23
A real firecracker, Tezino is the definition of “playing with his hair on fire”. Hovering from side to side line he can cover a huge amount of ground, in addition to demonstrating adequate covering skills when backing up against the pass. Tezino appears to have gained some volume and will need to make a living on special teams at the NFL level. He played with the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers, which allowed him to be an immediate impact player in the CFL.
4. EJ Ejiya, LB, 6-1, 236, North Texas, 25
It’s been two years since we’ve seen Ejiya in the NFL, a short stint with the Baltimore Ravens. Since then, he has continued to refine his overall game; it was seen as a multi-faceted piece to begin with. During his time with the Mean Green, Ejiya gained a reputation for blasting his opponents’ backfield and ended his college career with consecutive seasons of over 100 tackles. Ejiya is versatile enough to fit any pattern and can play indoors or outdoors as needed.
5. Woody Brandom, TE, 6-4, 255, Sam Houston State, 24
An old-fashioned, blocking tight winger, Brandom brings his helmet on every day he commutes to work. He has prototype size, adequate agility, and reliable hands. His passing catching ability has never been fully utilized, but he will make a casual big play and he demonstrated it during TSL. Brandom is a poor man’s Kevin Boss.
Honorable mention: Charlie Jones, WR, 6-4, 208, American (basketball), 26