Birmingham Stallions

Get to Know The UFL 2024 Birmingham Stallions

As the Birmingham Stallions prepare to kick off their inaugural season with the United Football League, they will be returning as one of the stronger teams in the league after winning back-to-back championships with the USFL.

Get to Know The 2024 UFL Birmingham Stallions

Coach of The Year Honors 

After leading the team to championship titles in 2022 and 2023, Coach Skip Holtz is once again at the helm. Holtz, the son of College Football Hall of Fame coach, Lou Holtz, is continuing his family’s winning tradition. Achieving consecutive championship seasons in 2022 and 2023 with the USFL Stallions where he was also named the 2023 “Coach Of The Year,” Holtz enters the UFL with a 21-3 record.

Prior to joining the USFL, Coach Holtz spent 22 seasons as a college football coach where he was also awarded “Coach Of The Year” honors in 2016 while at Louisiana Tech. Throughout his NCAA career, Skip Holtz accumulated a combined record of 152 coaching victories.

Although Holtz will be looking to continue his winning ways with the Stallions, it will be decidedly more challenging this season, as the team will be without several key offensive weapons. Sensational kicker Brandon Aubrey joined the Dallas Cowboys last year and last season’s championship-leading quarterback, Alex McGough, signed with the Green Bay Packers. The team will also be without former Detroit Lions running back, Bo Scarbrough, who, after two years with the USFL Stallions, announced his retirement at age 29 earlier this month. 

Now Starting at Quarterback…

Nonetheless, the Stallions are poised to kick off the 2024 season with a strong lineup of talent. A trio of talented quarterbacks are hoping to fill the vacancy left by McGough. Stallions quarterback, J’Mar Smith, will be competing for the starting assignment alongside former Carolina Panthers quarterback, Matt Corral and college standout, Adrian Martinez. A graduate of Holtz’s 2022 winning team at LA Tech, Smith led the Stallions in the 2022 Championship season. But he lost the starting assignment to McGough in 2023 after suffering a serious finger injury in Week 1 that put him out for the season.

After a strong college football career at Ole Miss, Corral was drafted by the Panthers in 2022 but he was let go the following year after some troubling off-season substance abuse issues. Now signed to the Stallions, he has a chance to prove himself free of his demons and up to the task of leading his team.

Former Kansas State and Nebraska quarterback, Martinez is also competing for the starting assignment. During his final season with Nebraska, Martinez passed for more than 2,800 yards, rushed for an additional 500 yards, and had 27 total touchdowns. Although Martinez was a four-year starter with Nebraska, in his final year of eligibility, he made the decision to transfer to Kansas State. Apparently the gamble paid off because Martinez was part of the Kansas State team that won the Big 12 title that year. He was their starting quarterback in all but the final three games of the season when he was forced out due to an injury.

Despite being signed by the Detroit Lions following his college graduation in May of 2023, Martinez was waived by the team before the season opener. Now, with the Stallions’ first game only weeks away, each of these quarterbacks enters the 2024 season with a redemption story and something to prove. It will be interesting to see who makes the most of this opportunity.

Other Players To Keep An Eye On

Tight end, Jace Sternberger is a returning USFL player destined to be a favorite offensive target this season. Initially drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2019, Sternberger played briefly for the Buffalo Bills and Washington Commanders before finding success with the Stallions. Possessing an above-average ability to run routes and add yards after making the catch, Sternberger frequently found his way into the end zone last season.

Wide receiver, Victor Bolden could also become a favorite offensive weapon. An NFL journeyman, Bolden brings experience and toughness. Originally drafted by the Stallions in 2022, Bolden was re-signed by the team this year after a short tenure with the Arlington Renegades and tryouts with various NFL teams.

NFL veteran wide receiver Amari Rodgers (Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, and Houston Texans), is another player getting a fresh start with the UFL this season. Haunted by a reputation for fumbles and dropped passes during his career with the NFL, Rodgers now has a chance to redeem himself with the Stallions if he can just hang on to the football.

Perhaps the incoming player who has it toughest is kicker, Chris Blewitt, who will be taking over kicking duties following the departure of Brandon Aubrey. Blewitt is more than capable of delivering field goals in the 50-yard-plus range and was the all-time leader in field goals made and second all-time in total points during his college career for the Pittsburgh Panthers. He also has NFL experience, having briefly played for the Washington Football Team, prior to their name change to the Commanders.

Overall, the Stallions have all the elements in place for a successful season. The roster combines experienced NFL veterans with eager young players poised to make their mark in the sport. Great coaching can bring out the very best in young athletes while helping to correct the deficits and poor habits that limit veteran players. If Skip Holtz and his staff are successful, the Birmingham Stallions could very well be the team to beat this season.

Main Image:  Michael Longo/For USA Today Network / USA TODAY NETWORK

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