The Birmingham Stallions created a storybook ending to the inaugural USFL Championship last season. The Stallions only lost one game the entire season and accomplished this in ways that are memorable. The Stallions trailed in the second half in several games, including the championship game.
The sort of season the Stallions had does not happen by accident. The Stallions had a culture and resilience that so many championship teams have had over the years. Stallion’s head coach, Skip Holtz, who did not win Coach of the Year, was the coach of the year. Coach Holtz created a championship culture, and the players brought extraordinary toughness and resiliency.
There were so many stars that made up the Stallions last year. However, where did the mental toughness that made them so great come from? Who is the most essential returning star? Is it J’Mar Smith or Alex McGough? Or is it Bo Scarbrough or Scooby Wright? Those are great players and significant contributors. Returning not one but two quarterbacks, who both played a part in the championship, was a considerable accomplishment. However, what if I suggested they are not the most significant returning stars?
Marlon Williams, ranked 10th all-time in receiving yards at Central Florida, is a unique receiver. He is not the tallest; however, Marlon is quick, with good hands, and extremely tough to tackle. Yes, he has a tremendous amount of talent; however, he has an uncommon resilient heart that allows him to compete in a way that has no rival in the USFL.
Victor Bolden received much attention last year from the media and the team, as evidenced by the most targets during the regular season. Victor is a great player and contributed to the team in many ways. In addition, Victor led the team in receiving targets during the regular season. However, he didn’t have the most receiving yards during the regular season. That honor would go to Marlon Williams, who ranked first in receiving yards on the team and second in the entire league. Marlon had 474 yards receiving during the regular season. In the postseason, Marlon became the number one target with 11 receptions for 129 yards; however, 64 of those yards were after the catch.
Not only is Marlon shifty, but he is strong and determined to get as many yards as possible every time he catches the ball. Marlon does not look to simply run out of bounds when he sees defenders. Instead, he looks to go around or through the defenders however possible.
The wide receiver room for the Stallions is very talented. The Stallions lost Victor Bolden and Osirus Mitchell, but the new players signed are incredibly talented. Indeed, several important returning stars for the Stallions are on this year’s roster, but one can argue that Marlon is at the top of the list.