United Football League history belongs to a man who knows all about going viral.

Isaiah Winstead caught 88 passes for 1,085 yards and six touchdowns in his final season with East Carolina in 2022, but he went undrafted.

So, Winstead opted to go the social media route to get more attention by posting a highlight reel. It got him a deal with the San Francisco 49ers.

Winstead was on the team’s practice squad until being waived in December. But he’s got a second chance as a pro with the UFL’s Arlington Renegades after a merger between the USFL and XFL formed the new league. 

Winstead caught a bomb for the league’s first-ever touchdown Saturday against the Birmingham Stallions. 

On a third-and-9 play, quarterback Luis Perez, who played in the XFL and USFL, found Winstead wide open down field for a 51-yard touchdown.

Isaiah Winstead catching touchdown


There are no kicks for extra points in the UFL. Instead, a two-yard conversion results in one point, five yards results in two points and 10 yards results in three points. Arlington opted for a two-point play, and the team brought in Lindsay Scott at quarterback. He completed a pass to Winstead, giving the Renegades an 11-3 lead.

Winstead seemed surprised he wasn’t drafted last year.

“6’4 210 moving like this. No mini camp invite or UDFA deal. Behind the scenes on what I can do. With 88 catches & 1100 yds this past season… God makes no mistakes tho thank you in advanced,” Winstead wrote on Twitter at the time.

The highlights were impressive, with crisp route running, a great ability to avoid tackles and, of course, some great catches.

Niners GM John Lynch said it wasn’t exactly the video that convinced him to sign Winstead, saying the team’s scouts had been watching him for “some time.” But it was when the video came out that Winstead started “getting a lot of calls.”

Isaiah Winstead

Winstead played at Norfolk State and Toledo for two years each before heading to ECU last season. He was an honorable mention on the All-American Athletic Conference team. Forty-five of his 88 receptions went for at least 10 yards, and his 6.77 receptions per game were eighth most in the FBS.

Saturday’s game was Winstead’s first since the Birmingham Bowl Dec. 27, 2022.

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