Around the UFL Transaction Wire: Week 7

Jarrett Guarantano #6 of the Houston Roughnecks looks on prior to a game against the Memphis Showboats at Rice Stadium on March 31, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Maria Lysaker/UFL/Getty Images)
Jarrett Guarantano #6 of the Houston Roughnecks looks on prior to a game against the Memphis Showboats at Rice Stadium on March 31, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Maria Lysaker/UFL/Getty Images)

The following is a breakdown of all UFL transactions made between Monday, May 6, and Friday, May 10, ahead of the week seven slate of games.

Please note that the D.C. Defenders did not make any transactions this week, so they are not part of this rundown.

Arlington Renegades

The Renegades brought back tailback Devin Darrington, who was with them during training camp, to replace an injured Dae Dae Hunter. Darrington spent the 2023 XFL season with the Orlando Guardians, appearing in seven games, with three starts, totaling 67 carries for 294 yards and four touchdowns. He also made nine catches for 85 yards. 

Darrington is listed as the Renegades’ third-string running back for Arlington’s week seven contest versus the Showboats.

The Renegades also re-signed defensive lineman Darrius Moragne, another member of Arlington’s training camp squad who didn’t make the initial regular-season roster. Out of the University of Kansas, Moragne spent time with the TSL Jousters in 2021 and the USFL Pittsburgh Maulers in 2022. However, his season with the Maulers was cut short due to a season-ending injury.

Moragne will be inactive for the Renegades this week against Memphis. 

To make room for Moragne, the Renegades had to release one of their offensive linemen, guard Chris Owens. Owens started Arlington’s season opener at left guard but went down early in that game with an injury. Last week, in his first game since week one, he played 34 snaps off the bench for the Renegades.

Birmingham Stallions

The Stallions released injured safety JoJo Tillery earlier this week and replaced him with former Clemson safety T.J. Carter, who was part of Birmingham’s championship team last year. 

Tillery had started five games before sustaining an injury on an interception return against the Roughnecks two weeks ago. He has been with the Stallions since the 2022 USFL season.

With Tillery out, A.J. Thomas has slid into a starting safety role for the Stallions. Kenny Robinson Jr., who was a Midseason All-XFL defensive back with the Battlehawks in 2020, is in the other starting spot for Birmingham. Meanwhile, T.J. Carter is listed as inactive for the Stallions’ matchup against St. Louis this week.

Houston Roughnecks

The Roughnecks have been one of the busiest teams transaction-wise since the regular season began, trying to find answers to their struggles on a weekly basis. This past week was no different after a 22-8 loss to the Battlehawks.

The Roughnecks are one of the least efficient teams offensively in the UFL. After allowing 12 pressures against the Battlehawks last week, Houston added tackle Isaiah Battle to its offensive line. Battle, 31 years old, is someone who has seen it all at the professional level.  

Out of Clemson, Battle was selected in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Supplemental Draft by the St. Louis Rams, where he spent a little more than a year. Overall, Battle has been with four different NFL organizations throughout his career. More recently, he has been a journeyman in the everchanging realm of spring football. He was with the Seattle Dragons of the 2020 XFL and then with the Pittsburgh Maulers and New Jersey Generals during the 2022 and 2023 USFL seasons, respectively.

The Roughnecks also signed rookie wide receiver Brian Hightower earlier this week. Hightower attended three different schools during his collegiate career. He began at Miami (FL) for two seasons (2018-19) before transferring to Illinois for three more seasons (2020-22) and then transferring again, this time to Cal for his final year of eligibility (2023).

Overall, Hightower appeared in 54 collegiate games, totaling 70 receptions for 910 yards and six touchdowns. He went undrafted and unsigned during the 2024 NFL Draft process, although he participated in Green Bay Packers’ rookie minicamp last week.

Both Battle and Hightower are inactive for the Roughnecks’ week seven contest versus the Brahmas.

Meanwhile, with Jarrett Guarantano back from injury, making his first start since week two, the Roughnecks released Kenji Bahar this week. Bahar had served as Houston’s emergency quarterback while Guarantano was out.

The Roughnecks also released 2023 All-USFL punt returner Isiah Hennie this week. Hennie has been Houston’s top return-specialist to date. However, unlike last season with the Pittsburgh Maulers where he started at wide receiver, his offensive role with the Roughnecks has been minimal.

Memphis Showboats

The Showboats lost backup linebacker Jeff McCulloch to the Injured Reserve, prompting them to sign Terrill Hanks, who is no stranger to spring football. Hanks had a depth role with the 2022 USFL champion Stallions, and more recently, was with the Defenders and Brahmas of the XFL last year.

Hanks is listed as the Showboats’ only backup at inside linebacker for this week’s contest against the Renegades. Thus, he likely will see the field in his first game with Memphis.

Michigan Panthers

The Panthers are losing their defensive anchor in linebacker Frank Ginda, who was moved to the Injured Reserve earlier this week. Ginda, the 2023 USFL Defensive Player of the Year, is not expected to return for the rest of the season. Through six weeks, Ginda has led Michigan in tackles with 36.

With Ginda out, the Panthers have brought in some new faces: defensive end Jesus Gibbs and linebacker London Harris. 

Gibbs is a rookie out of Townson, where he earned second-team All-CAA honors for his performance during his senior season in 2023. He went undrafted and unsigned during the 2024 NFL Draft process and is coming off a tryout with the Kansas City Chiefs during their rookie minicamp.

Meanwhile, Harris went undrafted out of Texas State in 2023. Harris totaled 160 tackles, including three for a loss and two sacks, in 57 career games over five collegiate seasons with the Bobcats. Like Gibbs, Harris struggled to get looks as an undrafted free agent last year.

While combined Gibbs and Harris likely won’t even be able to replicate Ginda’s production, they are young, hungry players who could get a lot out of their stints with the Panthers. 

San Antonio Brahmas

Already thin at their linebacking corps, the Brahmas moved Zach McCloud, who started last week in place of injured All-XFL linebacker Delontae Scott, to the Injured Reserve. To replace McCloud, San Antonio signed defensive end/outside linebacker-hybrid Zach Morton, who will be inactive against the Roughnecks this week.

Morton spent four seasons at Syracuse where his contributions were minimal before opting for a change of scenery, transferring to Akron. Over two seasons with the Zips, Morton was a full-time starter. He registered 61 tackles, including 10 for a loss and 5 ½ sacks. He signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2023 but couldn’t stick around for long.

The Brahmas also released linebacker Tarrell Basham, who has made two tackles up until this point. With another roster opening, San Antonio signed Pooka Williams Jr. to be the team’s reserve tailback until Anthony McFarland Jr. returns from his injury, which has kept him out since week four.

St. Louis Battlehawks

The Battlehawks re-signed former Colorado linebacker Drew Lewis from training camp. Like a few of the other players signed around the UFL this week, Lewis is no stranger to spring football. He was with the Houston Roughnecks of the 2020 XFL and then the Houston Gamblers during the 2022 USFL season. Both stints saw him in depth roles.

For the Battlehawks’ week seven matchup against the Stallions, Lewis will be inactive.

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