The Michigan Panthers made Michigan State offensive tackle Jarrett Horst the first overall pick in the 2023 USFL College Draft on Tuesday afternoon.
The USFL’s eight teams conducted a draft of 80 selections across 10 rounds ahead of the league’s second season this spring.
It differed from the league’s inaugural draft in 2022, which was used to fill out teams with dozens of players who already signed up to play in the USFL. The college draft allowed teams to claim the rights to certain players until those players decide to negotiate or turn elsewhere, like the NFL.
“We know you’re a couple months away from going through something you dreamed about as a young boy. We fully understand that,” USFL executive vice president of football operations Daryl Johnston told Fox Sports. “Our focus is on the back end of the (NFL) draft, potential seventh round and preferred free agency-type guys. Our GMs and scouts were at the college All-Star games. They understand the athlete that we’re looking for, so that makes it a challenging part for us.”
Horst — listed by Michigan State as 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds — started 34 of his 35 collegiate games between Arkansas State (2019-20) and the Spartans (2021-22), all at left tackle. He was All-Big Ten honorable mention in 2021.
Five college quarterbacks were selected Tuesday, starting with the second and third overall picks.
The Pittsburgh Maulers picked Incarnate Word quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. with the No. 2 pick. Scott is coming off an FCS season in which he threw for 4,686 yards, 60 touchdowns and eight interceptions and added 11 rushing touchdowns in 14 games.
The Houston Gamblers chose Appalachian State quarterback Chase Brice third overall. Brice is well-traveled, with stints spent at Clemson (2018-19) and Duke (2020) before two seasons at App State in which he threw for 27 touchdowns apiece. He set the school’s single-season record for passing yards in 2021 with 3,337.
The Panthers used the first pick of the second round on Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan. The New Jersey Generals selected Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez 15th overall, and the Birmingham Stallions drafted Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham at No. 22.
Cunningham amassed 70 passing touchdowns and 50 rushing touchdowns in 49 career games at Louisville. He’s also likely to be selected in April’s NFL draft, which takes place two weeks after the USFL draft begins on April 15.
–Field Level Media