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.
South Alabama super senior quarterback Jake Bentley is as well-traveled and experienced as they come. The Alaskan has thrown for nearly 10,000 career passing yards during his collegiate career, making pit stops at Utah and South Carolina before settling in at Mobile. While his journey has been far from ideal, the former five-star recruit has caught fire of late, reminding NFL scouts why he was once considered a heralded prospect. Bentley threw for 389 passing yards, on his way to becoming the first player in South Alabama history to account for five touchdowns in a game, rushing for two and passing for three more, as the Jaguars defeated Georgia Southern this past week.
“It just felt free,” Bentley said afterward. “The game plan going in was to be aggressive. We consistently did that all night, up-front, on the perimeter, we just really attacked all night. It felt really good as an offense, to really get rolling and put up some points.” Despite an up and down career, Bentley brings a wealth of knowledge, has played in an array of offenses, and possesses leadership intangibles—he was named a team captain at South Carolina and Utah. There could be some interest after the draft by NFL teams to bring Bentley in for a look and see if they can tap into some of his alluring potential.
Jake Bentley to Jay’juan Townsend for 62 yards! pic.twitter.com/uCqlf4tST5
— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTBVids_YT) October 15, 2021
Memphis senior wide receiver Calvin Austin III has been a scoring machine for the Tigers, registering 19 touchdowns in his past 18 games, including a 69-yard pitch which he raced into the end zone during their win over Navy last week. For Austin III, it was his fourth touchdown of 60-yards or more this season. “I was joking with my teammates all week that I’ve been needing to get my rushing stats up,” Austin said after the game.
The elusive dynamo ran track and field earlier in his collegiate career and it shows, as the speedster has demonstrated the ability to go from 60-to-100 real quick. His cutback ability makes him extremely slippery in open space and Memphis has garnered a reputation for producing next-level playmakers. On the season, Austin III now has 857 receiving yards and nine touchdowns through five games. If he continues to produce at this rate, the hometown hero (Memphis native) could expect to take his talents to Sunday afternoons.
.@CalvinAustinIII is a problem ⚡️
— Bleacher Report CFB (@BR_CFB) October 15, 2021
Ohio State defensive tackle Garrett Haskell is no stranger to adversity. Having been shot nearly one year ago while attempting to break up a fight in Columbus, Haskell survived a bullet that went straight through his cheek. Since the incident, the Buckeyes coaching staff has noticed a renowned maturity. “I think you’re seeing the best version of Haskell,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.
“Everybody here is very proud of what he’s overcome. Not just the way he’s playing, but the way he’s handling himself, the way he’s leading, the way he’s practicing. “He went through a tough time. But in life, sometimes you have these moments, and it kind of shakes things up and makes you realize some things and maybe that’s what happened with Haskell. Ever since that happened, he’s got a different look in his eye, and I’m really happy that he’s able to take a negative and turn it into a positive.”
Haskell has provided Ohio State with an interior pass-rush this season, constantly disrupting the backfield and creating pressure up the middle. He is known to have a very high football IQ and is very active in team meetings, oftentimes mentoring underclassmen. His story is one of an underdog who has overcome all obstacles. Do not count out Haskell, as he is poised to continue his playing career after college.
Ohio State DT Haskell Garrett is a wound-up defensive lineman… Quick twitch 1st step that can get vertical/penetrate immediately. Tough to pull OL in front of him expecting a pin back – he’s too quick
Garrett can lined up at 1T, 3T, 5T on any given play pic.twitter.com/IrmJYkUOHu
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) June 21, 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!