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.
The pass launched on a prayer by Jacksonville State senior quarterback Zerrick Cooper will be remembered as the greatest play in school history, as the Gamecocks pulled off a stunning upset victory over Florida State with a Hail Mary play! Already on the NFL radar, Cooper showed off some of his alluring arm talent attributes, tossing for 242 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns during the win. “You’ve got to play at a certain level execution-wise in these type games and we did that tonight,” Jacksonville State coach John Grass said. “(Damond) beat his man, Zerrick made a perfect throw, he made a great cut down there and Ahmad (Edwards) made a big block and got him in the end zone.” For Cooper, he also became the all-time passing leader in JMU history, surpassing the previous mark set by Eli Jenkins (7,652). The one-time transfer from Clemson will look to build upon this game to help strengthen his draft stock come April, he is one to watch as the season wears on.
Here’s a 👀 at Zerrick Cooper’s game winner to Damond Philyaw-Johnson with the call from @JSUVoice and Ray Hammett!
— JSU Football (@JSUGamecockFB) September 12, 2021
Oregon running back CJ Verdell pulled out the joystick on Ohio State, as the Ducks downed the Buckeyes due to some terrific plays generated by the senior. Verdell answered some of the questions about his long speed, breaking off a 77-yard touchdown scamper to help ice the game, his second via the ground. He would add another score as a pass-catcher and finish with 161 rushing yards, along with 34 receiving yards on the day. While many of the media pundits and Ohio State players seemed surprised, it was expected by Verdell, who could be heard after the game saying, “We expected this.” He would elaborate further during his post-game interview stating, “We saw the Minnesota running back was having a good game, and we wanted to do the same thing,” referring to the Buckeyes previous opponent. Suddenly, Oregon has grandioso aspirations for this college football season and that means the versatile Verdell is sure to receive plenty of additional attention.
CJ VERDELL 👏👏👏
He notched 3 TDs as the Ducks got the road W against Ohio State! pic.twitter.com/m7uHZjH3PR
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 11, 2021
No one has benefitted from the new up-tempo offense installed by Boise State offensive coordinator Tim Plough more than playmaker Khalil Shakir. The spectacular senior wide receiver has shredded opponents early on this season, as demonstrated during the Broncos 54-13 win over UAB. The California native made several big plays worthy of SportsCenter, a testament to his incredible athleticism, body control, and concentration. “I don’t know how he made a couple of those catches,” teammate JL Skinner said after the game. “I don’t have an explanation for that. It’s just Shak.” A team captain and son of a football coach, Shakir has lined up at wide receiver, running back, and even wildcat at times. However, his best position at the next level is clearly at wideout and scouts will appreciate his inside/outside prowess. After accumulating over 800 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons, the former four-star recruit now has 257 receiving yards through the first two games and could challenge for the school’s single-season receiving mark set by Thomas Sperbeck (1,412).
You’re not high enough on Khalil Shakir pic.twitter.com/md7FOlf1Yv
— Matt Hicks (@TheFF_Educator) September 11, 2021
His first name Bumper originates from his dad’s first love, pool but Arkansas linebacker Bumper Pool could also be called a thumper due to his devastating hits. Arguably the toughest player in college football, opponents are sure to check where Pool is aligned prior to the snap, it’s his presence that makes wide outs leery about going over the middle. The Razorbacks had an encouraging win over Texas thanks to a stellar performance by defense, led by Pool, who sat out the first half after being ejected in week one for a targeting call. He would still manage to finish with 10 tackles, showing up play after play to prevent the Longhorns from moving the chains. “He’s a really tough kid,” linebackers coach Michael Scherer said. “There were times last year when I kind of had to pull him back a little bit, because … he had busted ribs. He missed a game because we had to hold him back because he was banged up so much.” Despite missing parts of the first two games, Pool, who had 195 tackles over the past two seasons in 21 games, now has 24 tackles through his first two games. He comes with pedigree, opting for Arkansas over powerhouse programs such as Alabama and LSU. Look for Pool to hear his name called during the NFL Draft come April as a solid pro prospect.
10 days til 🐗🏈‼️ pt. 2️⃣
— Jacob Davis (@JacobScottDavis) August 26, 2021
Break up the Hawkeyes! Iowa improved to 2-0 with another impressive win over Iowa State, on the heels of two momentum-changing interceptions by safety Matt Hankins. Blessed with prototype size, Hankins is an instinctual ball-hawk who reacts quickly and turns into an offensive weapon going the other way with the ball in his hands. He would finish with four tackles and add a pass breakup during the rivalry matchup. “My job out there is to be the player coach,” Hankins said earlier this year. “It’s different hearing it from a coach, but when you hear from one of your own peers, you might take it in a little bit more.” A four-year starter and team captain, Hankins possesses ‘make-it’ traits for the next level and is one of the more under heralded senior prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Matt Hankins is on our radar after 2 INTs of Brock Purdy 👀
🟢Has the awareness to see the ball and makes an athletic play on it.
🟢Athleticism after the catch to maximize the gain and give his offense good field position. pic.twitter.com/irGvkMk4cd
— 🟢📽🏈 𝔽𝕀𝕃𝕄 ℝ𝕆𝕆𝕄 🏈🖥 (@SapientFilm) September 12, 2021
Not to be outdone by his teammate Matt Hankins, fellow Hawkeyes safety Riley Moss played another stout game, making eight tackles during their win over Iowa State. Moss stepped up nicely filling the gaps against the run. The prior week, he demonstrated his coverage instincts by nabbing a pair of ‘pick-six’ interceptions against Indiana. The early season performance has certainly made scouts make sure they do their homework on the lengthy senior prospect.
— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) September 6, 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!