Top 5 ELF players who could break out in 2024

Over one hundred signings have been finalized in the European League of Football so far, many of which will be the foundation of their franchise for the upcoming season. Reading between the lines of the signings, we can see who the teams of Europe are putting their faith into early.

Today we will highlight some of the players in line for a breakout in 2024. The growth in quality has been incredible over the first three seasons and is expected to continue to grow. The only rule is that they cannot have been an All-Star in the previous ELF seasons.

Let’s get into it.

Gerrit Brandt – Munich Ravens – Offensive Line

Gerrit Brandt was already a borderline All-Star player last season with the Hamburg Sea Devils. Unfortunately for Brandt, he was unable to get the selection. However, the move to the Munich Ravens might be the best move of his football career. The Ravens have one of the best offensive teams in Europe, they are tough on the lines and most importantly for Brandt, they are connected firmly with NFL Hall of Famer, Joe Thomas. This can not be understated. With Thomas’ presence, coaching, and leadership, Brandt could develop into one of the best offensive linemen in the league. He could very well see his first All-ELF selection this season if Munich can live up to the hype they have built this off-season.

Emil Hovde – Berlin Thunder – Rush End

Photo: Eric Muehle

The Berlin Thunder have secured many of their best players on the defensive side of the ball and Emil Hovde could lay claim to be the best of the bunch who are yet to have an All-Star selection. The Swedish pass-rusher made quite the impact last season with seven sacks and twelve tackles for loss, allowing Kitchens to have some more space later in the season when teams realized they couldn’t triple-team him. Hovde is an athletic, speedy rush player who hasn’t necessarily seen the praise of other Europeans in the same position. If he can eclipse the 10-sack mark in his second season in Berlin he will undeniably be viewed as one of the best talents on the lines. The 23-year-old is the model of consistency. Once he has further developed he could even see himself becoming one of the premier rushers of all. It is projected that he will break the 10-sack mark because of the lesser-quality offensive lines in the Eastern Conference.

Tommy Wilson – Milano Seamen – Wide Receiver

Wilson is coming in as one of the most hyped debutants in the ELF’s short history. The story of his buzz is well documented. He ran a 4.27 hand-timed 40-yard-dash in the Milano Seamen combine, before making his European league debut in the German Football League with the Dresden Monarchs. Following his successful year, he has been signed to the Milano Seamen roster and is, assumingly, going to be the key to their emphasis on speed. The offense for Milano is now widely available, and they have a plethora of speedy receivers for quarterback, Zack Bronkhorst to utilize. Three key losses to the offensive line mean that Wilson may be a short-option player who will get the ball in his hands early and often. Somewhere between 500 and 750 yards is around where his production is projected to be.

Darren Okoeguale – Frankfurt Galaxy – Defensive Back

As a 2023 Rookie of the Year nominee, Okoeguale was bound to have teams after him in the off-season. The former Cologne Centurion was not the only one to make the move over to Frankfurt from Cologne, but he could be the one to see the largest jump in his ability. The 22-year-old needs to add size to compete with the run game of their division rivals, as he will be tested early as a smaller-built safety. His quickness, versatility, and aggressiveness will be the keys to his success and if he can put it all together with his new teammates he will be in line for a deep playoff run. Furthermore, the addition of Divine Buckrham will give Okoeguale not only a mentor and a teacher but also a supporting player over the top to alleviate some of the pressure of playing against some of the best receivers in Europe.

Lucas Harting-Candido – Hamburg Sea Devils – Running Back

Harting Candido was my “Rookie of the Year” prediction at the start of the 2023 season. He didn’t end up being in the running for the award, but the flashes remain prevalent in the twenty-year-old’s skill set. He is an athletic running back who could be a big play player and a great rotational back who can provide a spark in an offense. His production could be around the 350-yard mark next season if he is given more opportunities within the Hamburg offense. Last season, he was only able to have 16 carries for 32 yards and a single touchdown. This can be put down to it being Harting-Candido’s debut season at a senior level, coming up from the Hamburg Huskies. As he was one of the first players officially signed to the franchise, it may be a subtle sign of his future importance and impact.

In summary…

The vast majority of these players are under the age of 25 with some exceptions. Time will tell if any of these athletes can achieve All-Star status in their respective positions, the competition in the league has only become fiercer. Potentially, we could see an All-Europe team come into the voting, the league has made it clear that awards will be added in the future and it would be exciting to see this potentially become a reality.