Alex Mollette #55 of the San Antonio Brahmas catches a pass and runs it in for a touchdown during the second quarter against the DC Defenders at Alamodome on March 31, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/UFL/Getty Images)
Alex Mollette hasn’t been active for the Brahmas since UFL week two. In his first game back, he will serve in relief for Sam Tecklenburg at center. In this photo, Alex Mollette #55 of the San Antonio Brahmas catches a pass and runs it in for a touchdown during the second quarter against the DC Defenders at Alamodome on March 31, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/UFL/Getty Images)

The following is a breakdown of all UFL transactions made between Monday, May 13, and Friday, May 17, ahead of the week eight slate of games.

Please note that the Arlington Renegades, Birmingham Stallions, and Memphis Showboats did not make any transactions this week, so they are not part of this rundown.

D.C. Defenders

The Defenders made a plethora of roster moves this week after falling to 3-4 on the season and losing quarterback Deondre Francois, wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, and offensive tackle Tommy Champion to the Injured Reserve. 

To replace Francois, D.C.’s backup quarterback before his injury last week, the Defenders signed rookie Mike DiLiello out of Austin Peay. DiLiello was a two-year starter with the Governors, recording 5,611 passing yards and 49 touchdown passes over 23 games. DiLiello attended Tennessee Titans Rookie Mini-Camp after going undrafted in the 2024 NFL Draft.

DiLiello is listed as the Defenders’ emergency quarterback for their week eight contest against the Battlehawks.

Meanwhile, with an open receiver spot from losing Harmon, the Defenders signed rookie Monroe Young out of the University of Cal. Young totaled 48 receptions for 511 yards and four touchdowns over six seasons with the Golden Bears. Young was invited to San Francisco 49ers Rookie Mini-Camp after going undrafted in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Harmon is currently the Defenders’ leader in receiving yardage (375) and touchdowns (three). While Young is a rookie with solid potential, by no means is he expected to fulfill Harmon’s entire production. That will require a collective effort from D.C.’s receiving corps. One player to watch will be Ty Scott, who has impressed despite limited playing time for the Defenders. With Harmon out, expect Scott’s target share to increase.

D.C. also waived tailback Zaquandre White for the second time this season. White had 28 carries for 76 yards in three games for the Defenders. Without White, Cam Harris and Darius Hagans are the only two tailbacks remaining on D.C.’s roster.

With two more open roster spots, the Defenders added tackles John Yarbrough and Greg Long. Yarbrough was claimed off waivers from the Brahmas, while Long rejoins D.C. for his third separate stint with the team.

Houston Roughnecks

The Roughnecks have taken a big hit at one of their strongest positions, losing starting linebacker Gabriell Sewell Jr. to the Injured Reserve. Sewell Jr. had been a key fixture in Houston’s defense as its signal-caller. He recorded 18 tackles through seven games.

With Sewell Jr. out for the season and 2023 All-USFL linebacker Reuben Foster set to miss this week with a day-to-day injury, the Roughnecks have doubled down in reinforcing their linebacking corps, bringing in both Christian Sam and D’Juan Hines. 

Sam played with the Tampa Bay Bandits and New Orleans Breakers during the 2022 USFL season, recording 54 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, and one interception in nine games before earning an opportunity with the Dallas Cowboys over the summer. More recently, Sam was with the Renegades during training camp but was released soon after being moved to the Suspended List.

Meanwhile, Hines was a pivotal contributor to the New Jersey Generals’ defense, recording 152 tackles and 1.5 sacks over two seasons. 

Sam, who signed with the Roughnecks on Tuesday, is already listed as the Roughnecks’ starting middle linebacker for their week eight matchup versus the Stallions, while Hines is backing up Marvin Moody at weakside linebacker this week. 

To make room for both of these linebacker signings, the Roughnecks released offensive guard Shamarious Gilmore. Gilmore has appeared in just two games for Houston this season, struggling with injuries.

Michigan Panthers

The Panthers brought back a familiar face in defensive end Levi Bell earlier this week. Bell initially signed with Michigan midway through the 2023 USFL season as an undrafted rookie and quickly became a fixture along the team’s defensive line, racking up 16 tackles and 4.0 sacks through six games (four starts). Afterward, Bell signed with the Seattle Seahawks in July and stuck with them until a few weeks ago.

Bell is a huge re-signing for the Panthers, who will play in the USFL Conference Championship in three weeks against the reigning back-to-back USFL champion Stallions. He is picking up right where he left off last year with the Panthers, back in the team’s starting lineup for their week eight contest against the Showboats.

In other news, the Panthers signed former Philadelphia Stars wide receiver Terry Wright, who recorded 13 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns in seven games last USFL season. Wright is listed as a backup this week for Michigan.

The Panthers waived wide receivers John Hightower and Gavin Holmes, plus defensive end Mika Tafua. Hightower and Holmes had only appeared in two games with limited roles with Michigan, while Tafua totaled four tackles and was released to make space for Bell. 

San Antonio Brahmas

The Brahmas have been very busy this week ahead of a crucial contest versus the Renegades. 

First off, San Antonio lost two of its defensive linemen in Taron Vincent and Jalen Dalton to the Injured Reserve. Both have started some games for the Brahmas this season. Vincent had 14 tackles and 1.0 sacks, while Dalton had 12 tackles and 2.0 sacks up until now.

With two holes on the defensive line to fill, the Brahmas signed Jaylen Twyman and Tariqious Tisdale. 

Twyman, an All-ACC defensive tackle out of Pittsburgh, was with the Stallions from training camp up until earlier this month when he was released. He notched just one tackle during his tenure with the reigning back-to-back USFL champions.

Tisdale was with the Seattle Sea Dragons during the 2023 XFL season, where he racked up five tackles and 2.0 sacks. He landed with the Defenders during one of the Post-Merger Dispersal Drafts but didn’t make it past training camp.

Twyman is slated to see some action this week, listed as a backup at defensive tackle for the Brahmas against the Renegades. On the other hand, Tisdale will be inactive.

As mentioned, San Antonio released backup offensive tackle John Yarbrough, who was claimed by the Defenders. The Brahmas released Yarbrough to make room for 2023 All-XFL offensive lineman Alex Mollete, who is coming off the Injured Reserve. 

Mollette hasn’t been active for the Brahmas since week two. In his first game back, he will serve in relief for Sam Tecklenburg at center.

Lastly, the Brahmas swapped out cornerback Gavin Heslop, who started for San Antonio last week after coming off the Injured Reserve, for Derrick Langford.

Langford was a two-year starter at Washington State, totaling 94 tackles, 13 passes defended, and four interceptions over 39 games with the Cougars. He signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2023 but was released during training camp final-roster cutdowns. 

Unlike many of the signings mentioned in this article, Langford has no spring football experience. 

St. Louis Battlehawks

With starting quarterback A.J. McCarron expected to miss St. Louis’ game against the Defenders this week, the Battlehawks brought in former Renegades quarterback Drew Plitt. Plitt was a starter for Arlington at the beginning of the 2023 XFL season but struggled and was eventually benched. He was with the Renegades during training camp in February/March but was released before the regular season.

Plitt is expected to temporarily fill in as St. Louis’ emergency quarterback while McCarron is out due to injury.

The Battlehawks also moved starting cornerback Brandon Sebastian to the Injured Reserve, effectively ending his season. Sebastian has notched 14 tackles and one interception up until this point. His presence in St. Louis’ secondary will surely be missed.

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