James Morgan highlights ex-Jets set to participate in the new USFL season
The USFL gets underway this weekend, giving the Jets another pool of players to keep an eye on as they hunt for diamonds in the rough. It also offers a second chance for several ex-Jets to try and get back into the NFL.
In 2022, the re-booted USFL played its first season to completion with one of the major success stories being league MVP KaVontae Turpin, who not only made it back to the NFL with the Cowboys, but was voted to the Pro Bowl as a return prospect. Ex-Jets Domenique Davis, Isaiah Zuber and Taylor Bertolet all also made it back to the NFL.
The 2023 season will be headlined by the arrival of former first round linebacker Reuben Foster, who is trying to get back into the league after a series of injuries and off-field issues. Foster, of course, broke into the NFL in Robert Saleh's defense in San Francisco.
Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson is also aiming to impress NFL scouts in the USFL after having helped the Toronto Argonauts to a Grey Cup win last season.
The ex-Jets taking part this year include several players who also played in the USFL in 2022. This includes tight ends Brandon Barnes and Braedon Bowman, running back Mark Thompson and offensive linemen Brandon Hitner and Corbin Kaufusi. Thompson was fifth in the league in rushing in 2022.
Defensive back Derrick Jones, a former Jets draft pick, was also going to play in the USFL in 2022 but was released before the season, but now gets another shot at this league.
Of the new ex-Jets set to take part, quarterback James Morgan is by far the most interesting. The 2020 fourth round pick never saw action for the Jets and is now seeking to get back into the league.
Other offensive players who used to be Jets include tackle Myron Cunningham, tight end Wes Saxton and wide receiver Rashard Davis. Saxton played one game for the Jets in 2015, while Davis was an early standout during camp last season.
Defensive players to have played for the Jets now entering the USFL include Jeremiah Valoaga, Blake Countess, Saquan Hampton and Noah Dawkins. Dawkins and Countess have played 13 games between them for the Jets.
Finally, kicker Alex Kessman is also going to participate. Kessman played one game as the Jets' kicker in 2021 but missed two extra points - his only kicks of the day - and that remains his only NFL appearance.
As ever, expect the Jets to be paying close attention to this league (and the XFL which is nearing the end of its own season) and maybe to bring some players in for a visit once it's over.