(Editor’s Note: This the third 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 relaunch 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 Blues (Head Coach: Ted Cotrell)
1. TJ Wheatley, TE/T, 6-6, 290, Morgan State, Age 24
It was announced that Wheatley agreed to terms with the Chicago Bears. Wheatley has been on a mission since his days as a highly-recruited tight end at Michigan, before transferring to Stony Brook. He finished his collegiate career at Morgan State, playing under his father, head coach Tyrone Wheatley Sr. and converted from tight end to tackle. With his best football still ahead of him, Wheatley is a lump of clay who is still young enough to develop into a valuable pro.
2. Denzel Rice, DB, 6-1, 190, Coastal Carolina, Age 28
A well-traveled veteran, Rice may be the best TSL prospect who remains unsigned. He has made clutch plays and big interceptions during the spring; his HUB Football workout was one of the best performances to date, where he proved to be a sticky, cover corner. Rice is long, physical and versatile. He’s big enough to play outside, excelled in the slot and could even play safety if asked to do so. It’s baffling that teams have been hesitant to bring him in, as he has played for six different NFL organizations and is completely healthy.
3. Hakeem Valles, TE, 6-4, 245, Monmouth, Age 28
After walking away from the game to focus on his off-field business ventures, Valles is back and ready to attack. He got after it in May at HUB Football and showed that he was in excellent condition. A true professional, Valles possesses the type of passion and dedication that is rare. It would not be surprising to see one of his former teams (Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions) to show interest again. His top-caliber blocking and capable pass-catching ability would make him a possible TE3. He ended his TSL season on a high note, nabbing three balls for 93 yards in his final game.
4. Chauncy Haney, DE, 6-5, 260, North Greenville, Age 23
The Spring League is invaluable for players such as Haney, who played at a small school, is raw, athletic and explosive. He needs reps to hone his overall skill-set, but he has flashed plenty of potential to win on the edge and get after the quarterback. Haney is the ideal practice-squad candidate who battled through an injury this spring, but continued to show flashes as he continues to develop. A rebuilding NFL team could find it beneficial to provide Haney with an opportunity.
5. Quincy Mauger, DB, 6-0, 200, Georgia, Age 26
The journeyman Mauger has had stints of success in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders. After enduring an injury during the Alliance of American Football (AAF) season in 2019, Mauger has been on the rebound. Not only is he willing to stick his nose in the run game, but he can also be an x-factor in coverage with seven career interceptions during his Bulldogs career. His experience, perseverance and physicality are all attributes that NFL teams will find appealing.
Tyler Roemer, T, 6-7, 310, San Diego State, Age 23