Old Glory's one-a-day pace continues with the re-signing of Mike Dabulas for the 2023 season. The 25-year-old, nicknamed "Chicken" by his teammates for his running style, has been one of the young stars in DC. The Penn State grad has been a hit with fans for his electric running, especially as things got tough last season.
After seeing less than 20 minutes of time in 2020, Dabulas was thrust into the starting lineup in 2021. He played in 13 matches, 12 of them starts, and could have played more had he not been called up to play with the USA Eagles. His 944 minutes that season were just shy of top 5 on the team. In 2022 he looked set to light the league on fire. However, an injury in the first match of the season saw him sidelined for three weeks, and then another injury after he worked his way back saw him miss the second half of the season entirely. Still, the 334 minutes he played in 6 appearances and 4 starts were electric. He gained 423 meters on 29 carries, good for 11 meters per carry, and beat 10 defenders with 3 clean breaks. He pulled in 2 tries for himself as well. He was absolutely brilliant, which made his loss all the harsher.
Dabulas has played in a number of positions on the back line, but he has most often been seen at fullback. That's also where he's been used in the Eagles setup and seems to be the position he's most focused on pursuing. However, we've also seen him fill in at flyhalf when the starters have been injured or were not performing well. Dabulas himself has talked about wanting to get more comfortable in that role, so we may see him there more often this coming season.
Dabulas is a top-notch player and it's great that he's coming back. He is a next-level talent who has yet to reach his potential, and we all now get to watch as he gets there.
Curious who has been signed and who is leaving? Check out our 2023 Signings Tracker for all the updates!