Now that The Spring League has wrapped up their 2021 season, it is time to shift our focus to what the future holds concerning the return of the USFL in 2022, and potentially the XFL as well.
As of right now, we really have no idea as to what the XFL’s plans are. After saying they were going to relaunch in 2022, those plans have been put on hold since they started talks with the CFL back in March. The USFL announced earlier this month that they would be returning to the gridiron in spring of 2022.
With all of this in mind, it is going to be an interesting offseason for many of these TSL players. Plenty of them will be looking to get to the NFL, which of course is the ultimate goal.
However, those that do not make it there will need to keep their eyes open for opportunities elsewhere, and the USFL or XFL can provide those to them. Let’s take a look at a few athletes from the TSL that we could see play in either league.
Ryan Willis, QB | Linemen
It’s hard not to start with the 2021 TSL MVP, Ryan Willis. The quarterback thrived under Hal Mumme’s air raid offensive attack, leading the league in every passing area.
Ryan Willis was clearly the reason for the team’s success, as he found a way to get his offense into the game week in and week out. There were plenty of times when the Linemen went down in the early goings, but Willis never quit, and eventually got his team back into the game.
One of his most impressive performances came in week four against the Conquerors. Despite falling behind by 11 points in the 4th quarter, he kept coming right back at the opposing defense, and ultimately led his team to a 46-39 overtime victory.
If Willis does not get an opportunity at the NFL level, he absolutely should be on an USFL/XFL team, and spring league fans should expect to see him back on the field soon.
Darnell Holland, RB | Generals
Don’t get me wrong: the Generals had a trio of running backs that all deserve to play at a professional level. However, one stuck out above the rest, and his name is Darnell Holland.
Holland brought the energy to the Generals backfield all season long, boasting an impressive set of legs that could run, juke, hurdle, and explode at any time. Not only that, but he also proved he could be a threat in the passing, and return game.
In week five, Darnell went off. He racked up three touchdowns on the day, two of those coming off of kick returns.
I would be very surprised to still see Holland unsigned by the fall. He, without a doubt, should at least be given a chance by an NFL squad. If for some reason, he is still a free agent come 2022, expect to see Darnell Holland on a USFL, or XFL team.
Just look at how many times he was in the Top 10 TSL plays this season:
Nicholas Washington, CB | Conquerors
Generally speaking, defenders usually do not receive the credit that they deserve. This is the case for Nicholas Washington, who played quite well at cornerback for Jerry Glanville’s Conquerors this season.
He quickly burst onto the scene in week one, racking up two important interceptions on Ryan Willis (who won MVP), which propelled the Conquerors to victory.
As the season went on, he continued to make smart plays that benefitted the Conqueror’s defense. As 2022 approaches, keep your eye out for Nicholas Washington – you may just see his name on a spring league roster soon.
Luis Perez, QB | Jousters
Luis Perez is a bit of an anomaly, since he was already in the XFL during the 2020 season. After being on the bench for the first three weeks, he went out and led the New York Guardians to two straight victories, before the league was shut down due to COVID.
He ended up joining The Spring League this season, to get some more experience/film which was a smart move. He was also reunited with his XFL head coach, Kevin Gilbride, which helped build a strong chemistry from the start.
In the TSL, Perez looked confident and comfortable, leading his team to a 4-2 record along with a Mega Bowl berth. Kevin Gilbride usually played Perez in the first half, allowing Drew Anderson to play in the second half, so we didn’t see as much of Luis as some may have wanted to.
That being said, when he was out there, he was sharp. With Perez’ professional resume now boosted by his TSL performance, it would make sense to see Perez back on the spring football field at some point or another in 2022.
Blake Morgan, RB | Alphas
Blake Morgan, despite only playing for a couple of weeks this season, put on a show in The Spring League. In week one, he compiled 139 yards on the ground, along with a TD against the Aviators.