KSL UNRIVALED

Corbin Kaufusi Will Use USFL As An Opportunity To Get Back To The NFL

Mar 13, 2022, 3:02 PM
Corbin Kaufusi, NFL, BYU, Mustache, Top Gun...
Former BYU DL Corbin Kaufusi delivered an inspiring Top Gun impression of Rooster from Top Gun: Maverick. (Photo by Robert Sabo-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Robert Sabo-Pool/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Another spring football league has sprung up from the dead with a new version of the formerly successful USFL set to start playing games in April. This new version is trying to capture the success of the league that sued the NFL and won but was awarded just a single dollar.

The league is back and will be using eight of the same team names, cities, and logos. The season begins on April 16, and one of the players taken in the recent draft was former BYU defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi.

Kaufusi was selected in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Bandits as an offensive lineman.

Kaufusi makes the switch from the defensive side of the ball to offense after bouncing around a few NFL team’s practice squads that included the New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, and San Francisco 49ers.

The goal for this spring league is to give these players another opportunity at playing professional football and maybe even get another shot at the NFL.

Kaufusi joined UnRivaled and he walked through how he got involved in the USFL which was a unique experience that started with an out-of-the-blue email from the new league.

“It was kind of an interesting road for sure because I’d heard of the spring league before but didn’t think too much of it,” Kaufusi said. “Then all of a sudden I got like an email about a month or a month and a half ago. I then hit my agent up and he said, ‘it’s like a little bit bigger spring league and it’s good to get your film out, get some experience, so it might not be a bad opportunity.'”

Getting that random email was a good start for Kaufusi to be able to continue his football career. Then the draft was coming up and he didn’t think he was picked and was about to play pick-up hoops when Tampa Bay informed him they chose him.

“I sign the stuff and then just been talking to coaches, but I won’t lie when they had the draft, I didn’t know it was like the times of it and I thought I missed it,” he said. “I was going to go play some basketball when the team called.”

After that little kerfuffle, Kaufusi is off to the USFL and has some bigger goals in mind than just being with the Bandits.

Getting Back To The NFL Is The Goal

Every professional football player’s goal is to be in the NFL. Kaufusi made it to the league but it was not on an active roster and has yet to appear in a game as he was primarily on the practice squad. He is very close and a known player by being picked up by a few different NFL teams.

The USFL knows what it is and is allowing players the chance to get to the NFL if a team calls. Who knows if this new version of the league can reach the heights it had before when it signed players like Jim Kelly, Herschell Walker, Reggie White, Steve Young, and others who went on to have Hall of Fame careers in the NFL.

This new league may not reach that status as the former iteration paid out big bucks for those star players. However, this 2.0 version will allow those players to get the call up if the NFL wants them.

That goal of getting to the NFL is what Kaufusi wants and that is what these coaches want from the players that join the USFL.

“With all the coaches that I talk to leading up to it, they’re all former NFL coaches and long-time NFL coaches and they all have the same goal in mind for the players,” Kaufusi added. “‘So come play and then whatever it takes to get you back into the league or while you’re waiting to get signed by someone, this is just kind of a nice little stepping stone.”

UnRivaled’s Scott Mitchell knows all too well about this experience of playing in a spring football league. He spent time in the World League to get more reps and experience as he was sitting behind future Hall of Famer Dan Marino.

He passed along this advice to Kaufusi that this opportunity is a great thing for him to get his foot back in the door of the NFL.

“I was with a team in Miami Dolphins and I never got to play because I was behind some guy named Dan Marino who is kind of good and so I got to go play in the World League,” Mitchell said. “It was really good football but it wasn’t up to maybe the NFL standards but it was still really good football but I was better and so when I was in that league I actually performed better and then when I went back to the NFL I just was so much more prepared. My confidence level, everything was just so much different.”

Kaufusi will especially need those reps as he is switching positions from playing the defensive line to now being an offensive lineman. Getting reps, film, and real game time at a new position that the NFL did not use him at. This experience will go a long way in helping him get seen and possibly another stint with the NFL.

The USFL kicks off its season on Friday, April 16, and the Kaufusi’s first game as a Bandit will be on April 17 vs. the Pittsburgh Maulers and can be seen on FS1 at 6 p.m. MT.

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