Each week, the scouting department at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will provide insight into some of the top prospect performances from around the nation! Be sure to keep up with our latest game announcements on Twitter @NFLPABowl.
Western Kentucky senior signal-caller Bailey Zappe made good on his Hilltoppers debut, tossing for 424 passing yards, along with seven touchdowns during their win over UT-Martin in week one. The record-setting transfer quarterback from Houston Baptist played an efficient game, completing 80% of his passes, while connecting with 11 different wide receivers, including five different targets for scores.
“It felt great,” Zappe said of his night. “To be honest, that stuff doesn’t happen without receivers like we have and the offensive front. To be able to come out clean, with no sacks or pressures, is big. . . . It was a great start, great start to the season. I love it, it’s awesome, look forward to doing it more.”
With over 10,000 career passing yards at the FCS level, Zappe continues to try and convert scouts into believers. He has showcased the ability to make all the throws and has tremendous poise in the pocket. The graduate senior has had a prolific collegiate career, as the accolades continue to pile up. The NFL will have no choice but to pay attention.
— WKU Football (@WKUFootball) September 3, 2021
UNLV super senior running back Charles Williams turned in a resilient performance in week one, despite a devastating double overtime loss to Eastern Washington. The elusive and explosive runner toted the rock 27 times for 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including a fourth quarter score to help tie the game. The wins have been hard to come by during his Rebels career but Williams remained positive after the game stating, “We can’t look at this loss and hang on to it all season. We’ve got 11 more games to go, so we’ve got to focus on those 11 games.”
The Fresno native has now surpassed 3,000 rushing yards for his career and has an excellent opportunity to improve his draft stock next week against a pro-coached Arizona State defense. Keep an eye on this backfield dart who blends spend and power, as he could ultimately land on the NFL Draft radar.
#UNLV RB Charles Williams has accounted for 154 (145 yards rushing, 9 receiving) of 252 total yards of the team’s total offense. Showcases great vision to find the hole on the backside and find pay dirt.
Tie game late in the 4th now. pic.twitter.com/VLK1FBhEdH
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) September 3, 2021
Appalachian State senior wide receiver Thomas Hennigan reminded NFL scouts of his explosive game-breaker speed with a big performance in a rout over East Carolina, nabbing four balls for 114 receiving yards, including one receiving touchdown and a key 68-yard catch over the middle to help set up another score. A team captain and academic All-American, Hennigan has been known to set the tone.
“I’m going to do whatever I got to do, along with all the other ten guys on the field, to do whatever it takes to win,” Hennigan said. “I’ve always been a ‘lead by example’ kind of guy, so (if I) do the right things on and off the field, naturally I think the younger guys will follow.”
He possesses a muscular-built frame, runs crisp routes, knows how to create separation and can scoot after the catch. With a strong opening week performance in the books and 11 games remaining, Henningan needs 1,003 receiving yards to break the school’s all-time record held by Brian Quick (3,418).
— CFB Kings (@CFBKings) September 3, 2021
Playing in his hometown of Charlotte, disruptive Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis seized the moment during the Bulldogs week one win over Clemson. It was a stymied defense, led by the mammoth man in the middle, which constantly kept the Tigers offense in check with constant pressure in the backfield. In fact, Davis absorbed two and three bodies regularly, which resulted in seven sacks on the evening for the Georgia defense, including one himself. His strength and burst off the line of scrimmage is a force to be reckoned with and Davis has finally developed into a three down player.
“He’s elite at pocket push, elite power, one of the strongest kids I’ve ever been around,” stated Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “He helps you the way he’s able to run games and things because he’s just different. There’s nobody quite like him in terms of the volume and the reps.”
With a rare combination of size and speed, Davis could be first round bound, so long that he keeps his weight in check. Currently listed at 350 pounds, the agile big man has been listed as much as 380 in the past. Otherwise, the former three-star recruit has firmly entrenched himself as one of the top defensive line prospects in the nation.
— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) September 5, 2021
No stranger to adversity on or off the field, Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker turned in a valiant effort in week one, producing a game-sealing interception on a clutch fourth and goal play to help guide the Nittany Lions over Wisconsin. Known to be a brilliant football mind who spends countless hours in the film room, Brisker was not surprised by the end result stating, “I knew that they loved No. 84, so I figured I’d favor his side. Once he threw it, I made the play.”
He would finish with four tackles, including one tackle for loss and also had a fumble recovery early in the game that was eventually reversed. The gutsy performance was commendable, as Brisker was subbed in and out throughout the game, while he battled various ailments.
“It’s a testament to who he is as a football player,” teammate PJ Mustipher said. “He battled through injuries and got a pick. That’s just the type of player Brizzy is.”
He made a handful of short-yardage stops on the day and was constantly around the football when he was in the game. Brisker carries on the memory of his late brother Tale’ who was murdered at the age of 19 in Prairie View, Texas with a tattoo on his bicep. His brother would have been proud of this gutsy performance, no doubt. Be on the lookout for this defensive star whose draft stock is ascending.
JAQUAN BRISKER ARE YOU KIDDING ME???! pic.twitter.com/IPxaNudv15
— Onward State (@OnwardState) September 4, 2021
Fordham football has had just two players drafted since 1955 (John Skelton in 2010 and Chase Edmonds in 2018) but there could be a third on the horizon. Make sure you store the name Ryan Greenhagen in the memory bank. A silver lining during the Rams 52-7 defeat by Nebraska, Greenhagen played as if he were shot out of a cannon in week one, registering a modern day D-1 record 30 tackles. It was the most tackles by any player against an FBS opponent since the NCAA began keeping records.
“47, he made every tackle. He’s nice for real,” Nebraska running back Markese Stepp was quoted after the game. “30!?Wow. 30 tackles…that’s a lot, he’s a monster, not gonna lie.”
A certified film junkie known for his great work ethic, Greenhagen prepares like a pro, according to the coaching staff. His relentless tenacity, diagnostic ability to read-and-react, in addition to his toughness will offer mass appeal to pro scouts.
“Even I noticed from the sideline he was all over the place,” Fordham head coach Joe Conlin said. “I would be more surprised if it was someone other than Ryan. That’s the kind of player he is. He’s the leader of our defense, a great kid. That’s how he prepares, that’s the way he plays every game.”
While there may be some athletic limitations for the New Jersey native, he clearly possesses the intangibles and size needed to stick at the next level.
Fordham LB Ryan Greenhagen tied the NCAA D1 record for tackles in a single game with 30 (!!) during their loss to Nebraska last night
This tied Rick Razzano (VT – 1977) & Josh Cain (Chattanooga – 2001) for D1 athletes
— Mike Tannenbaum (@RealTannenbaum) September 5, 2021
*For more insight on the 2022 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl process, including players who have caught our attention, be sure to tune-in to ‘The State of Football’ every Thursday at 9:00am eastern time, as executive director Dane Vandernat joins Ric Serritella on Sports Illustrated!