In what has been an active off season for the USFL, the Gamblers have added 19 new players for season 2. The 17th and 18th additions to the team are a WR and DB duo that bring the total number of WRs up to 4, and DBs up to 6. The Gamblers are creating an atmosphere of competition in the skill positions moving into season 2. It is apparent that no job is safe, including the starters who decide to return.
Justin Hall / WR / Ht: 5'8" / Wt: 172 lbs / Age: 23 / 40yd: 4.53s
The newest wide receiver GM Robert Morris added, Justin Hall out of Ball State, is the first clear slot receiver added in free agency. At 5'9" tall, he will be tied for shortest receiver on the roster with Jojo Ward, assuming that Ward returns. While the two receivers are physically very similar, their roles could be vastly different.
In 2021, Hall had 61 receptions for 613 yards and 5 touchdowns. While the yardage might not shine bright, the 5.9 receptions a game average over his career does. He was a main and consistent part of the offense at Ball State for 5 straight seasons, only missing games in 2020 due to the shut down. His health and consistency are two things that are welcomed additions to the Gamblers offense.
For what role Hall would play, it seems very likely he would be asked to simply be exactly what he was in college. The Gamblers need a shifty and explosive man in the slot. Jojo Ward could have been that for the offense in season one, but injury and inconsistency at QB kept him off the active roster most games. Coach Sumlin mentioned in his interview with the USFL Network that he wants to get back to his fast paced offense this season. Hall would play a huge part in the Sumlin offense as he would be a main dump off target, and screen player. While in the draft process, Hall was knocked for his size and lack of elite ball skills, the USFL is the perfect place for him to hone his talent, and prove that his height isn't a disadvantage at the professional level. Just narrowly missing the practice squad for the Las Vegas Raiders his first season out of college, the Gamblers are lucky to call him a member of the team.
Trey Hoskins / DB / Ht: 6'4" / Wt: 190 lbs / Age: 24 / 40yd: 4.48s
Trey Hoskins is possibly the most versatile defensive back the Gamblers have picked up in this offseason. In his time at Weber State and Lincoln University, he would transition flawlessly between corner and safety as necessary for the defensive call. His ball skills and reaction in zone coverage are just as sharp as his body control and anticipation in press man coverage. In a league that is as next man up as the USFL, being able to take over any position in the secondary with ease is exactly the leg up one needs on a team with more DBs than it can hold.
Hoskins story is a great one as he started at Weber State learning from his then roommate and teammate Taron Johnson, who now plays corner for the Buffalo Bills. After his junior year at Weber State putting up 19 solo tackles and a fumble recovery, he stepped away from football to support his newborn daughter. From there he signed on for his last season of eligibility at Lincoln University and blew up with 5 interceptions and 7 total turnovers. His speed and size earned him an offer from the Edmonton Elks in the CFL, but luckily for the Gamblers he decided to return to the states to sign with the USFL.
Season one of the USFL showed us that players will be moving around and stepping up in many different roles over the course of the season. Hoskins is a genius pickup from GM Robert Morris to be able to fill the roles of corner or safety if someone goes down, as both Jamar Summers and Manny Bunch did last season. The sky is the limit for Trey, and he just might reach it.
What are your thoughts on the newest WR and DB for the Gamblers? Let me know in the official USFL Discord!