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St. Louis Battlehawks 2024 UFL Season Preview

The United Football League (UFL) officially announced yesterday that its first annual championship will be held at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis. The location recognizes the tremendous fan support the St. Louis Battlehawks have garnered in 2023, with their six home games being the six most attended games in the league.


The Battlehawks, coached by former St. Louis Ram Anthony Becht, will look to have an extra home game in June by making it to that championship game, and they seem to have the roster to do it. I've published articles previewing the offensive and defensive rosters, but today, I'll be doing a full season preview for the Battlehawks along with some predictions.


Three Toughest Games

Week 4 - Memphis Showboats, Week 7 - Birmingham Stallions, Week 5, 8 - D.C Defenders


The Memphis Showboats will travel to The Dome on April 20 for what could be an offensive shootout. The Showboats finished 5-5 in 2023 but added one of the league's best quarterbacks in Case Cookus. The team rehauled its offense after finishing 5th in points (190), 7th in rushing yards (856), and 6th in passing yards (1,725) out of the eight USFL teams in 2023. The Showboats' offseason additions are headlined by wide receivers Daewod Davis and Rashard Davis, tight end Sage Surratt, and running back Titus Swen.


The Battlehawks will have to travel to Alabama to take on the two-time reigning USFL champions, the Birmingham Stallions. The Stallions are currently listed as the favorites to win the first UFL Championship, with the Battlehawks close behind. The Stallions lost their quarterback, league MVP Alex McGough, to the NFL and replaced him with former Carolina Panther Matt Corral and former Kansas State Wildcat Adrian Martinez. Outside of McGough, the Stallions retained most of the playmakers, which made them the highest-scoring offense in the league in 2023. This will be a tough test on the road for the Battlehawks and a possible preview of the league title game.


The week after their road trip to the house of the reigning USFL champions, the Battlehawks will host the reigning XFL runner-up in the D.C. Defenders. St. Louis will also travel to the capital in week 5. The Defenders are led by quarterback Jordan Ta'amu, the 2023 XFL Offensive Player of the Year and a St. Louis Battlehawk in 2020. The two games between the Battlehawks and the Defenders in 2023 were absolute barnburners, with the Defenders winning by one possession both times. The Defenders are third behind St. Louis in odds to win the league championship this year and will be a tough out for any team in the league.


XFL Conference Predictions: 

St. Louis is in the XFL Conference of the UFL along with D.C., the San Antonio Brahmas, and the Arlington Renegades. Unsurprisingly, the Battlehawks and the Defenders are expected to be the two front runners. In the 2023 XFL season, the Defenders finished 9-1, the Battlehawks 7-3, the Renegades 4-6, and the Brahmas 3-7. 


Though I expect San Antonio and Arlington to improve from last year, I will be surprised if one of D.C. or St. Louis doesn't win the conference. San Antonio fired head coach Hines Ward and hired long-time NFL defensive coordinator Wade Philips. This seemed like the right move, especially for a coaching veteran like Philips. But the San Antonio roster seems devoid of many playmakers.


The Brahmas had the first pick in the dispersal draft and used it to select quarterback Quintin Dormady, who was recently named the starting quarterback. Last season, he started four games for the Orlando Guardians, completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 1,507 yards, 10 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Last year, he was caught in a scandal for allegedly leaking the Guardians' playbook to a rival team.


Because of the XFL's controversial playoff format in 2023, the Renegades snuck into the playoffs and defeated the Defenders to win the XFL Championship. Arlington returned head coach Bob Stoops and quarterback Luis Perez and retained most of its offensive leaders. They made a big splash in the dispersal draft by adding former Atlanta Falcon Vic Beasley to their pass-rushing group. 


Overall, it's difficult to find a reason why either St. Louis or D.C. would regress from their current state. This feels like a two-team race.


Two Players to Know

Offense: RB - Wayne Gallman, WR - Blake Jackson


These aren't the two biggest stars, but two players who will surprise people this season for St. Louis. Wayne Gallman, who played in the NFL from 2017-'22, will return to football after a year-long absence. The Battlehawks lost their starting running back, Brian Hill, this offseason, so Gallman should be the starter. If he can replicate the production he had in the early years of his NFL career, he could be one of the best backs in the league.


Blake Jackson and Jahcour Pearson were two wide receivers the Battlehawks added from the Seattle Sea Dragons. Jackson finished fifth in the XFL with 440 receiving yards, while Pearson led the league with 670. Unfortunately, Pearson suffered a leg injury that will keep him out for six weeks, according to head coach Anthony Becht


Jackson, though, should be a valuable deep threat for quarterback A.J. McCarron. His route running and speed often create space for him over the top.


Defense: LB - Emeke Ebugle, DT - Austin Faoliu


Emeke Ebugle is an intriguing name to watch. There's no guarantee he'll even earn significant playing time—he didn't in his NFL or CFL stints—but he was such an exciting athlete to watch in his college years at Houston from 2015-'18. It's been six years since he's seen any meaningful action in a football game, but keep an eye out for No. 97 this season.


Austin Faoliu's role with the Battlehawks is much clearer. He was one of the biggest free-agent signings in the league this offseason and was named to the Seattle Sea Dragons' All-XFL team in 2023. He should help out quite a bit on the Battlehawks' run defense, which struggled last season.


The UFL season will kick off on March 30. The Battlehawks will begin their season by traveling to Detroit to take on the Michigan Panthers.


Main Image via St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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