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.
Jake Bentley, QB, Utah
Utah is slated to kick off its season this upcoming Saturday versus Southern Cal after COVID-created cancellations of their first two opponents. One player we’ll be keeping a curious eye on is transfer quarterback Jake Bentley, who was recently elected a Utes team captain. Despite the accolade, head coach Kyle Whittingham has refused to name a starter, stating that the team will announce its starting quarterback when the Utes march onto the field against the Trojans. A three-time team captain during his tenure at South Carolina, Bentley was a heralded recruit with a slingshot arm coming out of high school. He appeared in 34 games for the Gamecocks, demonstrating great smarts, instincts and leadership before succumbing to a season-ending Lisfranc injury during the first game of last season. Being anointed the starter this weekend would be a good jump-start for the one-time NFL prospect in order to help reboot his draft stock.
— Dana Greene (@dana_greene) March 3, 2020
Greg Bell, RB, San Diego State
As the bell tolls for the undefeated Aztecs, running back Greg Bell enjoyed the best performance of his tumultuous collegiate career with 160 rushing yards against Hawaii. The senior has been a staple of consistency for San Diego State, becoming the first player in school history to surpass the 100-yard rushing barrier in each of his first four games—a remarkable feat considering that Bell went 25 months between carries coming into the season.
It’s been a winding road for the Cali native. After originally committing to San Diego State out of high school, he failed to qualify academically, re-routing him to Arizona Western for two seasons, where he rushed for more than 2,000 yards. From there, Bell would opt to transfer to Nebraska before leaving the team after two games to help deal with some family issues. Upon his return, while doing an exercise that involved a band strapped to the top of a bar, Bell was injured when the band accidentally snapped and struck him in the eye. That surgery and injury nearly cost him the vision in his right eye and prevented him from playing the 2019 season. The twisted irony is that on the field, it is his vision and patience that has led to his great success, while gaining the attention of NFL scouts. Remember the name, as he owns NFL-caliber game and will be one of the more feel-good stories of the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Greg Bell goes 62 Yards for the Aztec Touchdown. ⚫️🔴 pic.twitter.com/jU9VzLEoHM
— San Diego Football (@Daygofootball) November 14, 2020
Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana
Hard work pays off — that has been the mantra for Indiana senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle, who has reaped the rewards of his dedication and hard work with a ravishing start to the 2020 campaign. He has emerged as the Hoosiers top playmaker, a fact demonstrated this past Saturday when he hauled in 11 catches for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns that helped the Hoosiers complete a clean sweep of Michigan State and Michigan (142 receiving yards) in back-to-back weeks. Fryfogle has now scored in each of his past three contests, while already surpassing his touchdown total of a year ago (three). His prototype size, along with physicality and toughness, are rare attributes at the wide out position, which is sure to garner plenty of buzz during the draft season. A native of Mississippi, Fryfogle has positioned himself to possibly hear his name called on Day Three of the draft.
Michael Penix to Ty Fryfogle is a thing of beauty🔥🔥
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 14, 2020
Zane Zandier, LB, Virginia
Drum up a clutch performance for Virginia’s Zane Zandier. The thumping linebacker registered eight tackles, one sack and a late-game forced fumble that sealed the deal in a victory against Louisville. The hard-hitting senior drew our attention last year while tallying a team-high 108 tackles despite playing with a broken hand. This season, he is back to laying the lumber and making plays behind the line of scrimmage by the bushel. Zandier brings plenty of experience, manning one of the 3-4 inside backer spots for his entire college career. While he does own some physical limitations, his toughness, leadership and ball skills could land “ZZ Stop” a home as a two-down backer at the next level.
Zane Zandier was an integral part of that @UVAFootball defense last season and he’s going to step into an even bigger role this go around! ⚔️#GoHoos #ACCFootball | @zzandier pic.twitter.com/unVKgpXVjj
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) July 21, 2020
DeAngelo Malone, DL, Western Kentucky
It was an encore performance for C-USA Defensive Player of The Week DeAngelo Malone, who is starting to heat up, recording a pair of sacks for the second consecutive week (he also has 16 tackles during the two-game span). The Hilltoppers senior edge rusher is now the program’s FBS-era leader in sacks, moving one ahead of Quanterus Smith’s mark of 24. Malone possesses a lightning quick first step, with the body frame to bulk up and remain at his current defensive end position at the next level or he could possibly convert to outside linebacker due to his athleticism. There is some legitimate top-100 buzz surrounding this prospect, and with a top-level performance in Indianapolis, there is even the possibility that we could see Malone ultimately land inside the top-50 range.
— Jimmy Lindsey (@CoachLindsey) February 1, 2017
*Be sure to catch NFLPA Collegiate Bowl director of college recruiting Dane Vandernat every Thursday at 9:00 a.m. ET on ‘The State of Football’ show live on @NFLDraftBible!