Former Moorpark athletes work their way up to the United States Football League


Moorpark wide-receiver, Jalin Burrell (21), catches a Zach LeBar pass and sprints to the endzone for a game tying 94-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Moorpark fell to Chaffey 34-20. Photo credit: Matt Levine

By Jack Newman

The United States Football League held their inaugural player draft from February 22-23. Two players that were selected in this draft were defensive back Jalin Burrell, and wide receiver Ray Bolden. Both former Moorpark College athletes were drafted by the Michigan Panthers.

Burrell played at Moorpark from 2014 to 2015, and in that time he played in 19 games while accumulating 59 total tackles along with two interceptions. Burrell played on the offensive side of the ball as well during his time at Moorpark, as he provided 42 receptions, 501 total yards and five total touchdowns. He also earned second-team all-conference honors in 2014, and first-team honors in 2015.

After Moorpark, Burrell went on to play football for the University of New Mexico from 2017 to 2018, was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 and also played for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League from 2019-2020.

Burrell spoke on his time at Moorpark College and how he was able to grow into the person and player he is today.

“I think my time as a Moorpark College athlete was pretty unique,” said Burrell. “It was crazy to see all the talent and all the people who could’ve gone to their ideal school but all have a similar goal and come to this huge junior college. From the athletic counselors I had helping me to the football coaches and staff, they were just top-notch at what they did and actually cared for their student-athletes. A lot of junior colleges just want results but Moorpark College is a family and you really felt that.”

Jalin Burrell makes a catch up field in a game against Orange Coast.
Jalin Burrell makes a catch up field in a game against Orange Coast.

Bolden played at Moorpark College during the 2013 season, recording 60 catches for 803 yards and five touchdowns while making the All-Northern Conference first team. He went on to play football for Stony Brook University from 2015 to 2017, participated in the Philadelphia Eagles’ minicamp in 2018 and was a part of the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL in 2020.

Moorpark football head coach Mike Stuart coached both Burrell and Bolden during their time at Moorpark College. He provided some thoughts on the two players and their impact on Moorpark.

“Both of these guys didn’t like to lose, very fierce competitors,” said Stuart. “Jalin was a little more outspoken, whereas Ray led by his actions on and off the field. Both of these guys both demanded more out of their teammates and were looked up to by their peers.”

Stuart reflected on how the new league may create vast opportunities for future football players across the country.

“I also believe it gives more players exposure to NFL and CFL agents. You never know what will happen if one or both of these guys just go off in this new league. We might see them playing for the NFL in the near future or that’s what the hope would be.”

Moorpark football defensive back Danny Pierce provided some insight on what these players getting drafted says about Moorpark football and Moorpark athletes as a whole.

“Those athletes getting drafted just goes to show that Moorpark has had and always will have amazing and dedicated players, not only in football but in all sports,” said Pierce. “As for the current and future Moorpark athletes, it’s definitely motivational to see how athletes that were in the position I’m in are able to succeed at such a high level and I think it’ll only push our other athletes to succeed.”

The United States Football League could be seen as a bridge from college football to the National Football League, as previously there hasn’t really been a way for undrafted college players to prove themselves to get a shot in the NFL.

The USFL currently has eight teams playing and is scheduled to start on April 16, 2022. Be on the lookout for these two former Raiders, as they will look to make the most out of their new opportunity.