Each week, the scouting department at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will examine some of the top performances in college football by potential pro prospects that we are keeping an eye on. Also, be sure to monitor the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Big Board for new player additions throughout the season!
Nick Starkel, QB, San Jose State
Last week, we discussed the big-play prowess of San Jose State wide receiver Bailey Gaither, who had another stellar week with 10 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown. But what about the quarterback delivering the ball? That would be none other than one-time heralded recruit Nick Starkel. After earning the starting job as a redshirt freshman for Texas A&M, Starkel has since bounced around, transferring to Arkansas before landing at San Jose State on a journey that has taken him through five different head coaches. Being on the move is nothing new for the California native; growing up as an Army brat, he lived in eight different cities across seven different states. Only time will tell if his early season resurrection is enough to land him on the NFL radar, but his 467 passing yard, five touchdown (zero interceptions) performance against New Mexico was a nice reminder to scouts.
Another one! @NickStarkel hits sophomore Isaiah Hamilton with a 43-yard strike and the Spartans are on top 14-0.
— San José State Football (@SanJoseStateFB) November 1, 2020
Otis Anderson, RB, Central Florida
Few players have done more with less than UCF senior running back Otis Anderson (no relation to the NFL legend). Somewhat hidden in a heavy passing attack and buried in a committee-type backfield during the past several seasons, Anderson has certainly learned to make his opportunities count. He reminded us of that again this past weekend during the Knights’ convincing victory over Houston, exploding for 170 rushing yards and one touchdown on just 16 carries. A look at his career as a whole, Anderson is the definition of effective with his career averages, accumulating 1,975 rushing yards (6.2 average), along with 1,002 receiving yards (11.5) and 469 (12.7) punt return yards. His ability to make defenders miss in open space and versatility to line up at running back, slot receiver or return man, makes him a nice luxury piece for any contending NFL team looking to add an X-factor to the mix.
— Jason Beede (@therealBeede) August 16, 2019
Ronnie Rivers, RB, Fresno State
Fresno State senior running back Ronnie Rivers was raring last week, demonstrating an impressive run/catch, dual-threat skill-set, totaling 164 yards (95 rushing; 69 receiving) and three touchdowns to help rally the Bulldogs with a come-from-behind victory over Colorado State. A compact back who runs tough, Rivers is difficult to bring down and accumulates plenty of yards after contact, something he did plenty of in this contest. A big element to his elusiveness is his ability to hide behind his offensive linemen due to his short stature and then quickly burst through the hole, as he rips off chunks of yardage. His father, Ron, who played seven years in the NFL with the Lions and Falcons, is also the school’s second all-time leading rusher (3,473). Ronnie, meanwhile, has now scored in 10 straight games dating back to last season. He carries value as a change of pace runner in a committee situation at the next level.
— Fresno State Football (@FresnoStateFB) October 30, 2020
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
It was just another day in the schoolyard for Alabama senior wide out DeVonta Smith, who single-handedly took Mississippi State to the woodshed with his four-touchdown performance. Smith rung up 203 receiving yards overall on 11 receptions and is quickly climbing up the school’s record books. He now ranks in the top five for all-time catches (174), receiving yards (2,868) and touchdowns (31). A two-time team captain, Smith possesses explosive burst off the line of scrimmage, to go along with impressive deep speed and ability to rack up chunks of yardage after the catch. At this stage, some NFL evaluators have Smith rated above both Jerry Jeudy (Broncos) and Henry Ruggs (Raiders), as he appears destined to be a top-10 overall selection.
The Heisman front-runner🏆
Mac Jones🎯DeVonta Smith
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 31, 2020
Charles Snowden, LB, Virginia
Virginia senior outside linebacker Charles Snowden chose a good game to have a career day, registering 10 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble during the Cavaliers’ upset victory over North Carolina. Blessed with great size and athleticism, the Maryland native covers a tremendous amount of ground in pursuit and has also proved capable in pass coverage, in addition to maintaining his special teams roles (FG/XP/PB). The coaching staff decided to move Snowden to the boundary side a few weeks ago in hopes of triggering some of his pass-rush potential. He has since responded by recording sacks in consecutive weeks and has now matched his career high (five) from a year ago. If he continues to produce at this level, Snowden stands a very good chance to hear his name called inside the top 100 of the NFL Draft.
Charles Snowden with the sack for UVA pic.twitter.com/AzomZMXhcp
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) November 1, 2020