Former Towson operating again Darius Victor is without doubt one of the finest gamers within the USFL. It’s all as a result of he ‘kept the faith.’
Former Towson operating again Darius Victor has discovered a house — even when it’s not the one he may need initially envisioned.
After temporary stints with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals, Victor has flourished as a member of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals. He leads the eight-team league in each dashing yards (543) and landing runs (9) and ranks second in carries (120) and fourth in dashing yards per sport (60.3).
“Whenever I’ve played football, I’ve felt at home, that’s where I’ve felt peace,” he stated. “So I can say that because the USFL has given me an opportunity to play football.”
With the 28-year-old Victor on their facet, the Generals lead the league in each dashing offense (158.7 yards per sport) and complete offense (342.7 yards per sport) and rank third in scoring (22.8 factors per sport). Since a season-opening 28-24 loss to the Birmingham Stallions on April 16, New Jersey has received eight consecutive video games and clinched the North Division title.
Running backs coach Jay Locey in contrast Victor favorably to Golden State Warriors ahead Draymond Green for his toughness and aggressive streak.
“I think the beautiful part that he does is, he is one of those guys that elevates and takes on special teams, and every aspect that he does is valuable to him,” Locey stated of Victor. “He brings people with him.”
Victor was unsure he would discover stability in skilled soccer. After his senior yr with the Tigers in 2016, the Hyattsville native and Northwestern High grad joined a crowded Saints backfield that included Mark Ingram II, Alvin Kamara and Adrian Peterson for coaching camp in 2017, however he was lower in September. Two months later, he was signed to the Cardinals’ observe squad and endured various releases and re-signings earlier than getting waived forward of the 2018 season opener.
To make ends meet, Victor labored as a supervisor for a transport company and a gross sales operation supervisor for an automotive merchandise firm. Then in October 2019, he was chosen within the ninth spherical of the XFL draft by the New York Guardians and completed the 2020 season ranked fifth within the league in dashing yards (238) and sixth in dashing common (4.3 yards per sport), however didn’t attain the top zone.
The coronavirus pandemic lower quick the XFL’s return, and the league filed for chapter in April. Victor returned to Miami, the place he supplied safety at a number of federal buildings.
Despite the setbacks, he continued to coach to remain in soccer form, typically returning house at 8 p.m., gorging down some meals, going to sleep and waking up earlier than 6 a.m. to repeat the cycle.
“That was kind of tough doing that for such a long time with no end in sight,” he stated. “It was like two full-time jobs because in my head, I was still a professional athlete, and I prepared like that.”
Victor stated he was contacted by the USFL just a few weeks earlier than the league’s preliminary draft in February. But no groups picked Victor, who was pissed off till the Generals took him within the sixth spherical of the supplemental draft the next month.
“I was like, ‘Wow, not this again.’ But I kept the faith and got picked up a couple weeks after in the supplemental draft,” he stated. “I’m older now, so I can handle disappointment better. I kind of spoke it into existence.”
Locey, who labored with extensive receivers and tight ends earlier than being promoted to affiliate head coach at Oregon State, stated he was stunned Victor was nonetheless out there. Locey stated Victor, who’s affectionately known as “Vito” by these near him, is hard to deal with as a result of his 5-foot-8, 209-pound body powered by 30-inch thighs.
“He’s built low to the ground,” Locey stated. “It’s hard to get underneath him. The term ‘bowling ball’ has been used quite a bit when describing Vito.”
Towson coach Rob Ambrose can attest to the issue of tackling Victor. He stated when Victor grew to become a junior in 2015, the coaches had been compelled to maintain him out of short-yardage and goal-line drills as a result of he had a behavior of operating over his defensive teammates and injuring them.
“To be honest, I’ve got to believe that part of the reason why he’s not in the NFL is a gentleman’s agreement because nobody wants to tackle him,” Ambrose stated with tongue firmly planted in his cheek. “There are great players, but Darius is unlike any football player I’ve ever seen. … I was a crazy football player a million years ago, and I swear to God I would not ever want to tackle him.”
After posting 66 dashing yards and nil touchdowns in that loss to the Stallions, Victor discovered the top zone 5 instances in his subsequent 4 video games after which 4 instances in his final two video games, together with three touchdowns and 87 yards in a 29-18 victory over the Pittsburgh Maulers on June 3.
“I’m making the most of the opportunity,” he stated. “I know for a fact that it could be over with a snap of the fingers. So this is a huge blessing, and I’m glad that I’m taking advantage of it because it would be very wasteful if I didn’t.”
Whether Victor’s performances are making an impression with NFL scouts stays to be seen. While many NFL groups are choosing pass-heavy offenses, Ambrose famous that the Ravens and Tennessee Titans are persevering with to depend on run-based assaults, which could go well with a participant of Victor’s caliber.
“This has done nothing but opened up everybody’s eyes that he is a professional athlete,” Ambrose stated. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the CFL, the NFL, the XFL, the USFL. Darius Victor is a professional.”
Victor stated he doesn’t need to distract himself with ideas concerning the NFL. He stated he’d moderately deal with serving to the Generals seize the USFL title at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on July 3. He’s by no means received a championship in soccer, although he reached the 2013 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title sport with Towson.
“Just winning a championship ring would mean the world to me,” he stated. “So that’s what we’re trying to do.”