CANTON, Ohio — With its second season concluding in Saturday’s Championship Game, the USFL announced that Houston Gamblers running back Mark Thompson is the 2023 USFL Offensive Player of the Year, and Michigan Panthers linebacker Frank Ginda is the 2023 USFL Defensive Player of the Year.
"Season 2 concluded with several USFL players worthy of player of the year honors, but Mark Thompson and Frank Ginda stood out among our coaches and general managers because of their consistent play and the impact they had across their teams," said Daryl Johnston, President of Football Operations. "Frank was named defensive player of the week four times and was a tackling machine for the Panthers and always seemed to be around the ball. Mark was the centerpiece of the Gamblers offense and was a threat to score every time he touched the ball, rushing for 14 touchdowns while playing in only eight games. Truly incredible seasons by both men who earned being named 2023 USFL players of the year."
Former Florida Gator Thompson is a bruising but elusive playmaker who set a modern USFL record with 14 rushing touchdowns. In the history of nationally televised spring professional football, only six players scored more touchdowns in one regular season than Thompson – all were in the 1980s USFL which played an 18-game season, unlike Thompson who needed just eight games. Thompson finished his second season with the Gamblers with 653 rushing yards while also adding 90 receiving yards.
Ginda was a model of toughness and consistency during his second season for the Panthers, leading the USFL with 104 defensive tackles, which included seven or more tackles in nine of 10 games. Highlighting his accolades, Ginda tied a modern USFL record during Week 6 when he recorded 18 tackles against the Birmingham Stallions. The former San Jose State standout added three interceptions and a sack to cap an impressive 2023 campaign while spearheading Michigan’s return to the post-season. Ginda concluded 2023 with an impressive performance against Pittsburgh in the North Division Championship as he led both teams with 11 tackles during an overtime shootout loss to the Maulers.
This Friday, the USFL will announce the 2023 Most Valuable Player and Sportsman of the Year. The season will conclude Saturday with the USFL Championship Game, as the North Division Champion Pittsburgh Maulers take on the South Division Champion Birmingham Stallions for the 2023 title.