USFL Offensive Player of the Year candidates: Darius Victor has competition

USFL Offensive Player of the Year candidates: Darius Victor has competition

Apr 7

By Eric D. Williams
FOX Sports USFL Writer

New Jersey Generals running back Darius Victor created a movement with his T-shirt slogan in his first year in the USFL: "Thick thighs save lives."

"My linemen out there have thick thighs, out there blocking for me," Victor said about the slogan. "I have thick thighs, and guys are bouncing off me, trying to tackle me. So, it's saving lives out there, getting yards and trying to get into the end zone."

Victor measured his thighs at nearly 30 inches, and they helped the Towson product consistently move the pile last season. Victor finished with a league-high nine touchdowns on his way to earning USFL Offensive Player of the Year honors.

The bruising runner returns to the Generals this season, along with backfield mate Trey Williams, who finished second in the USFL in rushing yards with 579. Victor was third in the league with 577.

With those two, New Jersey led the USFL in rushing in 2022. The Generals averaged 161 rushing yards a contest, propelling them to a 9-1 record.

While Victor is back to defend his title, he will have competition with several other players also returning to lead offenses this season.

Here are some other players to watch for when league plays starts next week:

Birmingham Stallions WR Marlon Williams

With last year's USFL championship MVP Victor Bolden Jr. not returning, Williams is expected to step up and fill the void offensively for the Stallions.

Williams finished third in the USFL last season with 474 receiving yards on 32 receptions and two touchdowns.

The Central Florida product should get more opportunities on offense in Bolden's absence, and the chemistry in the offense will be there early, with both signal callers back in J'Mar Smith and Alex McGough.

Michigan Panthers RB Reggie Corbin

The Illinois product led the Panthers in rushing last season with 519 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Corbin averaged an impressive 5.5 yards per carry last season.

With longtime NFL defensive coordinator Mike Nolan taking over as the head coach for Michigan, Corbin will be part of a scheme that will likely rely on running the football to create balance on offense.

Corbin had a league-high 88-yard touchdown run for a score last season.

New Orleans Breakers WR Johnnie Dixon III

Dixon led the Breakers with 38 receptions for 362 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season. Fellow receiver Jonathan Adams (31 receptions for 406 receiving yards and three TDs) also returns, giving New Orleans one of the more productive pass-catching duos coming back this season.

While quarterback Kyle Sloter did not return for New Orleans, the Breakers should benefit from CFL veteran McLeod Bethel-Thompson joining the roster.

New Orleans QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson

Speaking of Bethel-Thompson, the 34-year-old Sacramento State product won two Grey Cups with the Toronto Argonauts in six seasons playing up north in the Canadian Football League. Bethel-Thompson returns to the United States to reunite with his former coach in new Breakers head coach John DeFilippo.

In Toronto last season, Bethel-Thompson totaled a career-high 4,731 passing yards, with 23 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, leading the Argonauts to an 11-7 record.

Bethel-Thompson served as a training camp arm for the Philadelphia Eagles when DeFilippo was the team's quarterbacks coach in 2016 but was released before the start of the regular season.

Memphis Showboats WR Derrick Dillon

The LSU product finished with 28 receptions for 386 receiving yards and four scores last season. More importantly, only elective playmaker KaVontae Turpin (316 yards) had more yards after catch than Dillon's 257 last season, so he can make plays with the ball in his hands.

Dillon also finished with 447 kick return yards in 2022.

Philadelphia Stars RB Matt Colburn II

Colburn finished with 457 rushing yards and eight touchdowns last season for the Stars. The cat-quick scat back was one of the best red-zone threats in the USFL in 2022.

The Wake Forest product also was a good receiver out of the backfield, finishing with 150 receiving yards and a score.

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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