(Editor’s Note: This the fourth of an eight-team recap of the 2021 TSL teams) | Click Here to access previous prospect profiles)
It began with a whimper and zero marketing dollars behind it. But over the last two months, The Spring League (TSL) has gained enough traction in the football community, that FOX Sports has partnered to help re-launch the USFL next year. A developmental football league has been needed since the day the NFL decided to pull the plug on the World League. Meanwhile, TSL will continue to be a feeder system to professional American football leagues.
Here’s a look at the Top 5 prospects from team Alphas (Head Coach: Peter Vaas):
1. Kristjan Sokoli, OL/DL, 6-4, 301, Buffalo, Age 29
The first Albanian player to ever suit up in the NFL, Sokoli has been a part of four NFL organizations at both offensive line and defensive line. He has been working his way back from a torn ACL that he suffered during his tenure with the New York Giants. Nearly three years removed from the injury, Sokoli appears back to full strength and could fill a valuable backup role. He converted to center under offensive line coach Tom Cable after being drafted by the Seahawks but he has been playing left tackle in TSL. Forsooth, Sokoli can play all four positions on the offensive line and could also backup on defense if needed.
2. Josh Avery, DT, 6-3, 310, Southern Missouri State, Age 25
Possibly the strongest player from TSL, Avery has worked incredibly hard and placed a major emphasis on his conditioning. It was noticeable during a recent HUB Football workout, where he weighed in nearly 50 pounds lighter than when we previously saw him with the Seattle Seahawks. Avery is a workout warrior who is still developing and with some time spent on the practice squad, he could become a rotational contributor at the NFL level.
3. Brian Lewerke, QB, 6-3, 216, Michigan State, Age 24
Any team in need of a smart, quick decision-maker with the ability to make all throws should take a look at Lewerke, who has surprised with his mobility at times during TSL action. While he lacks elite arm strength, his ability to work the short-to-intermediate parts of the fields would make him the ideal game-manager. Lewerke last played for the New England Patriots in 2020 and would quickly pickup on any playbook.
4. Cornelius Sturghill, DB, 5-11, 192, Louisville, Age 25
The aggressive Sturghill is a gambler with a short memory. He can tend to over-anticipate at times, which gets him caught out of position but he has a knack for the big play and tends to make up for his mishaps. His ball instincts and anticipation would allow him to play both cornerback or safety. Sturghill is known for being timed in the 4.2-range at his school pro day and does have some return experience from his Cardinals days. His speed should be very alluring to teams north of the border.
5. Tevon Wright, WR, 6-2, 195, Chadron State, Age 23
A poor forty-time (4.71) at his pro day two years ago scared NFL teams away but he did manage to record a top-end speed of 20mph. Since then, TSL is the only professional experience he has on his resume… and he laid down some solid film. His size and ability to create space is appealing and he demonstrated dependable hands. In fact, Wright was one of TSL receiving leaders in all categories.
Connor Strachan, LB, 6-0, 230, Boston College, Age 25