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College Football: UNI’s Sapp selected 27th overall in USFL Draft

CEDAR FALLS - Former UNI defensive back Benny Sapp III was selected with the 27th overall pick in Tuesday's United States Football League (USFL) Draft by the Memphis Showboats.

CEDAR FALLS – Former UNI defensive back Benny Sapp III was selected with the 27th overall pick in Tuesday’s United States Football League (USFL) Draft by the Memphis Showboats.

Benny Sapp via UNI Athletics
Sapp is the third Panther to be drafted into the USFL since the league relaunched in 2022. The original USFL existed from 1984 until its folding ahead of the 1986 season, and featured one Panther playing center in New Jersey Generals center Scott Etzel.

A native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Sapp recorded 54 total tackles for the Panthers in 2022, while tying for the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) lead with four interceptions and also forcing one fumble. A senior captain, who became the first Panther to be named to the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list and accepted an invitation to play in the Hula Bowl, also declared his entry for the 2023 NFL Draft shortly after the conclusion of the 2022 season.

After transferring to UNI for the spring 2021 season from Minnesota, Sapp earned AFCA, FCS AP and STATS Perform All-American honors. A First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) defender in 2022, Sapp als picked up all-conference honors from a pair of additional outlets, including Phil Steele’s FCS All-MVFC First Team and The Bluebloods First Team All-MVFC.

Sapp is the son of Benjamin and Erica Sapp, and brother of Benjamin, Briyana, Baylee and Belle. His father, Benjamin Sapp Jr., who spent time as an assistant coach with UNI this past season, played for the Panthers before an eight-year playing career in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs (2004-07), Minnesota Vikings (2008-09, 2011) and Miami Dolphins (2010-11).

Along with the XFL, the USFL is one of two major professional spring football leagues in the United States. The league, which is made up of 8 teams mostly from the eastern U.S., plays a 10-game regular season from April through late June, with a 2-game postseason to follow.

The USFL roster size includes a 40-man active roster during the season, and will be the first to feature the Showboats, after the Tampa Bay Bandits announced a temporary hiatus from team operations back in November. Tampa Bay’s roster was transferred to Memphis and will compete as the Showboats this season.


1984 – Scott Etzel (Center) – 9th Round (177th Overall) | New Jersey Generals

2022 – Seth Thomas (Defensive End) – 4th Round (27th Overall) | Birmingham Stallions

2022 – Jackson Scott-Brown (Guard) – 22nd Round (182nd Overall) | Philadelphia Stars

2023 – Benny Sapp III (Defensive Back) – 4th Round (27th Overall) | Memphis Showboats

(PHOTOS: Benny Sapp via UNI Athletics)

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