(Reggie White photo courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles)
Talk of Fame Network
The USFL lasted just three seasons in the mid-1980s but produced two quarterbacks who would go on to Hall of Fame careers in the NFL — Jim Kelly and Steve Young.
But the best player ever to come out of the USFL never took a snap from center. He played on the other side of scrimmage and made it is mission to tackle quarterbacks. Defensive end Reggie White was voted the best player ever to come out of the USFL by listeners and readers of The Talk of Fame Network.
White received 36.5 percent of the vote, followed by Young with 25.7 percent, Kelly at 20.3 percent, running back Herschel Walker at 14.9 percent and wide receiver Anthony Carter at 2.7 percent.
White signed with the Memphis Showboats out of the University of Tennessee in 1984 and recorded 23 ½ sacks in his 36 career USFL games. The USFL went under after the 1985 and in the supplemental draft by the NFL, White was the fourth overall choice by the Philadelphia Eagles after Young (Tampa Bay), running back Mike Rozier (Houston) and offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman (New York Giants).
Zimmerman and White also went on to earn busts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. White, in fact, was voted to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team at end along with Deacon Jones and Gino Marchetti. In addition, White was named to the 1980s and 1990s all-decade team and ranks second on the all-time sack list with 198.
Young won a Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers and Jim Kelly took the Buffalo Bills to four of them. Walker set the professional football single-season rushing record with 2,411 yards with the USFL New Jersey Generals in 1984 and Carter was an all-time All-USFL selection who was a key offensive cog on the league’s first champion, the 1983 Michigan Panthers.