April 30, 2018
Nineteen players from the 2018 Collegiate Bowl heard their name called over the weekend in Dallas during the NFL Draft.
Tarvarius Moore was the first taken off the board. The safety out of Southern Mississippi was drafted in the third round (95th overall) by the San Francisco 49ers.
One round later, 2018 Collegiate Bowl MVP Troy Apke (Penn State) was selected by the Washington Redskins. The Penn State safety, whom NFLPA Collegiate Bowl National Team Coach Mike Martz called “the best player we’ve had,” recorded seven tackles, one forced fumble and a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown during the Jan. 20 contest for top draft-eligible prospects.
Moore and Apke were two of four Collegiate Bowl alum drafted in the first 150 picks. William Dissly, a tight end, went at No. 120 to Seattle and defensive end John Franklin-Myers went at No. 135 to the Los Angeles Rams.
|Tarvarius||Moore||Southern Miss||San Francisco 49ers||3|
|Troy||Apke||Penn State||Washington Redskins||4|
|William||Dissly||University of Washington||Seattle Seahawks||4|
|John||Franklin-Myers||Stephen F. Austin||Los Angeles Rams||4|
|Genardveous||Avery||University of Memphis||Cleveland Browns||5|
|Marquez||Valdes-Scantling||University of South Florida||Green Bay Packers:||5|
|Adetarami||Aruna||Tulane University||Minnesota Vikings||6|
|Trenton||Cannon||Virginia State University||New York Jets||6|
|Jamil||Demby||Maine||Los Angeles Rams||6|
|Parry||Nickerson||Tulane||New York Jets||6|
|Quentin||Poling||Ohio University||Miami Dolphins||7|
|Austin||Proehl||North Carolina||Buffalo Bills||7|
|David||Williams||University of Arkansas||Denver Broncos||7|
|Logan||Woodside||University Of Toledo||Cincinnati Bengals||7|
In the weeks leading up the seventh annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 20 at the Rose Bowl Stadium, we will profile 10 draft-eligible players who have committed to play in the prestigious all-star game. Today’s feature is on UCF defensive lineman Tony Guerad.
Central Florida’s rise from winless to undefeated (and arguable national champion) was brought to fruition by many big-name players and personalities on the team. But none of that would have been possible without athletes like Tony Guerad doing their absolute best to anchor the team’s performance week-in and week-out.
After a promising stint as a sophomore for the Black Knights during their infamous 0-11 run in 2015, Guerad reportedly wanted to leave the team after putting up only five tackles for a loss and two sacks. Luckily for UCF, he came back the following season and the benefits were almost immediate.
In a tightly contested game against Maryland, Guerad had two sacks and three tackles for a loss while routinely disrupting the offensive line. He followed that effort up with another 1.5 sacks against East Carolina before going the rest of the season without another quarterback takedown. However, it’d be wrong to quantify Guerad’s impact based on just his sacks.
UCF’s reputation as having a staunch defense grew with each week as he became more comfortable in the trenches. To wit, he finished with 12 total tackles in UCF’s penultimate game in 2016 against Tulane. His nonstop motor and constant upfield drive freed up his linebackers to clean up any runners who made it past the initial wave.
Guerad’s senior year coincided with UCF’s magical run this past season, and that is no coincidence. He had nine total tackles for loss on the year, along with numerous games where he continually pressured the quarterback and forced running backs to make poor decisions in the backfield. Though he did not have a game where he posted more than two TFLs, he had at least 0.5 tackle for loss in eight of the games UCF played.
He especially showed up for big games, including the rivalry matchup against USF, which saw him record 1.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sack, doing his part to slow down the explosive Bulls offense. It worked well enough for the Black Knights to squeak by with a 49-42 victory.
Guerad again took center stage in UCF’s win over Auburn. He had another half a sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss, and the Tigers could not seem to get the ball moving when he stood in their path. At 6 feet 4 inches and listed at over 300 pounds, it was not easy to stop Guerad from where he wants to go. His willingness to work and do the dirty work endeared him to UCF fans, and will serve him well in his future.
In the weeks leading up the seventh annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 20 at the Rose Bowl Stadium, we will profile 10 draft-eligible players who have committed to play in the prestigious all-star game. Today’s feature is on Central Michigan defensive back Amari Coleman.
Central Michigan might be known for its high-flying offense, but don’t sleep on the guys who make it work on the defensive end.
Amari Coleman was one such defender, and from his sophomore season on, his innate ability to seek out passes and break them up allowed the Chippewas to stay close in many games and eventually, rack up enough victories for them to play in a bowl game every year he started.
From the start, Coleman never let the big stage get to him. After getting most of his playing time as a freshman as the team’s top kick returner, he got his chance to play mainly cornerback the next season. The third game of his sophomore year saw him register his first interception — this after recording two passes defensed the week before.
Standing at 5 foot 11 and 188 pounds, Coleman is not afraid of lowering his shoulder and chipping in on a tackle. He had six tackles in four different games as a sophomore and managed a very impressive eight passes defensed in 2015 — though he never really had a chance to showcase his dangerous speed with the ball in his hands.
That was rectified immediately in his junior year, when he jumped on a pass in the first week of the season and took it 27 yards to the house against Presbyterian College. Three weeks later, he would have another pick-six, this time against Virginia as the college football sphere started to realize that throwing in his general vicinity was not a good idea. Yet for some reason, teams decided to still test his side of the football field, typically to no avail.
Against Ball State, his quick hands and shutdown coverage resulted in three passes broken up, and he had another two in a pivotal triple overtime win over Northern Illinois the following week. Perhaps the most impressive day he had his junior year was against Ohio, a game that CMU desperately needed to win to ensure they would finish at least with six wins on the year. Coleman responded with 8 tackles against the Bobcats; but more importantly, he batted away four passes that were headed his way, showing insane reflexes and instincts to make sure they couldn’t reach their intended targets. His 15 passes defensed on the year led the MAC, and landed him a place on the All-MAC First Team Defense.
Coleman didn’t put up as gaudy numbers in the first half of his final year, but that seemed to mostly be a product of offenses avoiding his side of the field on passing plays. Rhode Island didn’t heed that warning, however, and he snagged two interceptions as a result during a triple overtime victory.
The senior had his third pick of the season against Eastern Michigan and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown, displaying once again his impressive speed and body control. If that wasn’t enough, Coleman also showed a knack for making the right tackle at the right time, leading to four tackles for a loss, — an impressive stat for a cornerback.
Coleman’s quick hands, feet, and mind make him the ideal cover man in any scheme. And opposing MAC quarterbacks will surely breathe a little easier now that his time in the collegiate ranks is over.
In the weeks leading up the seventh annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 20 at the Rose Bowl Stadium, we will profile 10 draft-eligible players who have committed to play in the prestigious all-star game. Today’s feature is on Virginia Tech linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka.
When Andrew Motuapuaka first started to see consistent playing time on the field, it was impossible to miss him. Now, as he prepares to head to the NFL, while many aspects of his game have become more polished from his time as a freshman, there is no doubting his innate ability to wreak havoc on an offensive gameplan.
Motuapuaka was incredible even as an underclassman linebacker for Virginia Tech. There was undoubtedly something special about the Virginia native, as he notched 11 tackles against Miami as a freshman and then registered four straight games of double-digit stops, including four tackles for loss on one occasion and two sacks against Wake Forest. He also managed to find his way into the end zone with a fumble recovery that was returned 11 yards for a score.
While fans of the Hokies undoubtedly knew his name by the time his sophomore campaign rolled around, the national media was put on notice after his dominant display against Georgia Tech. In that game, he had two massive hits (both tackles for a loss), including one that resulted in a forced fumble. With his hair flying out behind him, it was impossible to ignore the fact that he seemed to be involved in every single play. His second year also included his first-ever interception, which he promptly returned 18 yards for a score against Furman.
As impressive as he was, however, Motuapuaka seemed to harness a greater sense and appreciation for what he could accomplish as he became more ingrained with the program. The results paid off immediately. He was much more active in his junior season, setting a career-high in tackles with 114 and immensely improving his coverage abilities. With offenses now having to respect both his presence in the run game and as someone who could disrupt the offensive line, Motuapuaka took advantage of those preconceptions by working on his ability to drop back and cover. The result was three interceptions and seven passes defensed.
Motuapuaka’s coup de grace came in his last year for Virginia Tech. As one of the team’s leaders, he set the tone every game, only now, he had a football IQ and awareness to couple with his intensity and range. This led to his 92 total tackles, including 11.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks. Gone might’ve been the long, flowing locks, but his persistent play was the only indication offensive players needed to know they were in for a long day. He also continued his evolution as a coverage linebacker with eight passes defensed and one interception.
Motuapuaka leaves Blacksburg with accolades, growth, and even four total touchdowns as a defender. Now all he has left to do is gobble up offenses in the NFL.
In the weeks leading up the seventh annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 20 at the Rose Bowl Stadium, we will profile 10 draft-eligible players who have committed to play in the prestigious all-star game. Today’s feature is on Wyoming defensive back Rico Gafford.
With most cornerbacks, having a reputation can either be extremely good or extremely bad. After all, these coverage men are usually only mentioned when they are famous as a shutdown corner … or they have been routinely burned. But after transferring from community college, Rico Gafford didn’t have time to build up a slow-burning reputation, nor could he afford to be known as someone who gets routinely beat. So Gafford did the only thing that allowed him to succeed at every level of football he’s competed: make big plays.
When Gafford joined Wyoming as a junior, most fans weren’t sure of what to expect from him. Within a few games, it was readily clear that they had a very talented and willing football player on their hands. His first game was an absolute nail-biter, featuring three overtimes against Northern Illinois in a game where he had eight total tackles. Two weeks later against UC Davis, Gafford registered his first interception, and returned it 32 yards.
After that, teams began to generally avoid his area of the field, until Boise State tried its hand. The previous three drives had gone for touchdowns, so why not keep throwing it? Well, with Gafford in the area, he snagged the errant pass and took it 32 yards, setting up the touchdown that sparked Wyoming’s comeback victory.
Gafford has never been the biggest nor the strongest defender on the field, but his willingness to make a stop in the run game was very much appreciated and allowed greater flexibility in what the defense could do. Even so, Gafford knew that he had to take advantage of his final year of college eligibility… and boy, did he.
The Iowa native started off the season by recording an interception against the Iowa Hawkeyes, and then recording three tackles and a pass defensed the following week against Gardner-Webb. He then snagged an interception against Oregon, and then two weeks later, he registered eight total tackles against Hawaii.
Another pick came against Texas State, returning this one 37 yards to the house. But it was against Utah State that Gafford put together his finest performance as a cornerback. In that game, he picked off the Aggies during their second drive of the second half, keeping the score deadlocked at 16. The Cowboys would eventually win 28-23, and Gafford finished with two other passes defensed.
He rounded out his senior campaign with an impressive showing against Central Michigan, helping to harass the opponent into four interceptions as Wyoming cruised to a 37-14 victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He may have only gotten two years to do it, but Gafford built up quite a positive reputation for himself to take to the next level.
In the weeks leading up the seventh annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 20 at the Rose Bowl Stadium, we will profile 10 draft-eligible players who have committed to play in the prestigious all-star game. Today’s feature is on TCU quarterback Kenny Hill.
There are college football players who seem to arrive like a streak of lightning, dazzling so brightly it’s hard to imagine that they really existed. Then there are those who seem to play forever in a sport with so much turnover that they are almost ingrained within the landscape itself. Kenny Hill has somehow captured the essences of both archetypes: flashing onto the scene as a sophomore before ultimately maturing into the finished product that led TCU to the Big 12 championship game in his senior year.
Hill exploded in his first ever start in 2014, back when he played for Texas A&M. Under the lights in a nationally televised game, Hill threw for 511 yards and three touchdowns against South Carolina — and that was just the beginning. In his first five games – all wins — Hill threw for 17 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions. Even as the team would struggle over the next few weeks, Hill still put up numbers. Against Mississippi State, he threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns. A week later, he tossed for 401 yards and two touchdowns against Ole Miss.
But after a series of circumstances that led to Hill seek a transfer, the Texas native found himself at home in Gary Patterson’s offense at TCU. Once again, he got off to a red-hot start, throwing for 439 yards in his first game for the Horned Frogs. By season’s end, he had accumulated 3,208 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. A facet that became even more prominent was his dual-threat ability. Though he was always quick on his feet, Hill was able to turn that into a consistent ability to score. This was evident in the career-high 609 yards and 10 touchdowns he totaled on the ground to lead TCU to the Liberty Bowl in his junior year.
This past season, Hill has been able to master his talents into playing the quarterback position, and TCU’s offense flourished as a result. Though his passing yardage totals dropped, Hill displayed an improved football IQ and instincts in of the pocket with 21 touchdowns and a career-low six interceptions while completing 67.2 percent of his passes. As he makes his transition to the pros, Hill’s proven ability to adapt to new environments, succeed, and better himself will translate at the next level.
In the weeks leading up the seventh annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 20 at the Rose Bowl Stadium, we will profile 10 draft-eligible players who have committed to play in the prestigious all-star game. Today’s feature is on East Carolina wide receiver Davon Grayson.
East Carolina has been sending receivers to the NFL like clockwork, and Davon Grayson may very well be in line to follow that legacy. After both Justin Hardy and Zay Jones set the NCAA record in receptions, the standard was set for the Pirate wideouts at ECU. But Grayson has managed to make his own mark in his own way as a focal point of the offense.
Grayson exploded onto the scene in the very first game of his collegiate career. Playing against Old Dominion, Grayson caught four catches and turned them into three scores on the Pirates’ way to a 52-38 rout. His talents allowed him to see the field early, as he hauled in 43 catches over his first two seasons for over 400 yards and four touchdowns.
By the time his junior year came around, Grayson knew the offense inside and out. As a result, he snagged four catches for 84 yards against Tulsa in a 30-17 win, and then almost had his first 100-yard receiving day against UCF when he had four catches for 99 yards. As it was, ECU was more than happy to get a win to avenge its loss from a year ago, as the Pirates won handily, 44-7.
After sitting out a year for an injury, Grayson took the field with a purpose in 2017. He started off with seven catches for 86 yards against James Madison, and then exploded onto the national scene against Connecticut. A game featuring two AAC rivals turned into an absolute shootout from the get-go. Grayson scored a 17-yard touchdown on the first drive to set the tone. He then added to his total from 24 yards out to make it 14-7 in favor of ECU before reeling off a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half. All in all, he would grab 11 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns — and the Pirates needed every single yard as they escaped with a 41-38 win.
The following weeks brought continued success. Grayson tallied five catches for 101 yards against South Florida and 10 catches for 164 yards against BYU in a 33-17 win. Despite spending a year away from the game, Grayson put up almost double his previous career-high in yards in a season, and scored six total touchdowns on the year. The electric playmaker has continually improved his game at every chance, and there’s no reason to believe he’ll stop growing as keeps playing.
For Immediate Release
January 10, 2018
Contact: Brandon Parker | Communications Manager
Brandon.email@example.com | 202-756-9160
NFLPA COLLEGIATE BOWL ROSTERS ANNOUNCED
Seventh annual all-star game features 112 of the nation’s top draft-eligible prospects
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A collection of the best seniors in college football will descend upon the historic Rose Bowl Stadium for this year’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. The 112-man roster has been split into two groups: the National team, led by Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Martz, and the American team, coached by Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green.
The seventh annual postseason all-star game is slated to take place on Saturday, January 20, culminating a week-long experience during which the participants will learn about the business of football. The game, scheduled for 1 p.m. PST/4 p.m. EST kickoff, and will be televised on FS1.
For the latest news and updates on the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, visit the game’s website at http://collegiate.nflpa.com/ and follow @NFLPABowl on Twitter.
Here are the full player rosters for the American and National teams*:
AMERICAN TEAM (coached by Darrell Green)
|First Name||Last Name||Position||School||Team|
|Amari||Coleman||CB||Central Michigan University||American|
|Dalyn||Dawkins||RB||Colorado State University||American|
|Davon||Grayson||WR||East Carolina University||American|
|Deon||Yelder||TE||Western Kentucky University||American|
|Dontez||Byrd||WR/RS||Tennessee Tech University||American|
|Garrett||Hudson||TE||University of Richmond||American|
|James||Crawford||LB||University of Illinois||American|
|Jaylen||Dunlap||CB||University of Illinois||American|
|Je’Mari||Luper||WR||University of Central Oklahoma||American|
|Jonathan||Petersen||DE||University of San Diego||American|
|Jordan||Dascalo||PK||Eastern Washington University||American|
|Joshua||Cox||CB||Central Michigan University||American|
|Korey||Cunningham||OT||University of Cincinnati||American|
|Luis||Perez||QB||Texas A&M Commerce||American|
|Marquez||Valdes-Scantling||WR||University of South Florida||American|
|Mike||Stevens||CB||North Carolina State||American|
|Rico||Gafford||CB||University of Wyoming||American|
|Trenton||Cannon||RB/KR||Virginia State University||American|
|William||Dissly||TE||University of Washington||American|
|Zackary||Golditch||OG||Colorado State University||American|
NATIONAL TEAM (coached by Mike Martz)
|First Name||Last Name||Position||School||Team|
|Al-Rasheed||Benton||LB||West Virginia University||National|
|Alvin “AJ”||Howard||DB||Appalachian State||National|
|Andre||Chachere||CB||San Jose State||National|
|Brandon||Powell||WR/KR||University of Florida||National|
|Detrez||Newsome||RB/KR||Western Carolina University||National|
|John||Franklin-Myers||DE||Stephen F. Austin||National|
|Justin||Evans||OT||South Carolina State||National|
|Marcus||Baugh||TE||Ohio State University||National|
|Michael||Carrizosa||PT||San Jose State||National|
|Mikah||Holder||WR||San Diego State University||National|
*Note: Rosters are subject to change
About the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl:
Founded in 2012, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl gives prospective players the best opportunity to showcase their talents to potential employers and fans. Nearly 200 scouts, player personnel staff, general managers and head coaches from all 32 NFL teams are expected be in attendance to watch live practices, conduct player interviews and review tape.
About the NFL Players Association:
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.
In the weeks leading up the seventh annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 20 at the Rose Bowl Stadium, we will profile 10 draft-eligible players who have committed to play in the prestigious all-star game. Today’s feature is on Washington State running back Jamal Morrow.
Jamal Morrow was the perfect match for Mike Leach’s aerial offense at Washington State. Most running backs might shirk at the notion of being in such a pass-heavy offense, but Morrow has used his circumstances to become a complete offensive weapon.
As a freshman, Morrow found a way to make an instant impact on the football field. Although he only recorded double-digits carries twice that season, thanks to his soft hands and run-after-the-catch capabilities, he was a valued asset to the Cougars’ passing attack. In just his third and fourth games, Morrow had over 100 yards from scrimmage in consecutive weeks, including more than 70 receiving yards in each performance. His biggest output came midway through the season against Arizona, when he reeled in 11 catches for 118 yards.
Believe it or not, for all of Morrow’s offensive exploits, it wasn’t until the seventh game of his sophomore year that he scored the first two touchdowns of his collegiate career. He found the end zone again during Washington State’s win over Miami in the Sun Bowl, when he had 121 yards from scrimmage to lead the Cougars to their first bowl win in 12 years.
Morrow’s first rushing touchdown came in Week 1 of his junior year, sparking a campaign during which he was a nightmare for defenses. The versatile rusher finished the season with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage, 138 touches, and 10 total scores (five rushing, five receiving).
Morrow’s steady rise continued during his senior season. It began with an 89 rushing yards and a touchdown against Montana State, and was followed by a huge upset of USC, during which he gained 91 yards on just six carries to go with five catches for 47 yards and a touchdown.
Behind the senior’s impactful play and 1,028 total yards, the Cougars started 6-0 and ultimately were invited to the Holiday Bowl, where they fell to Michigan State. With 122 receptions for his career, Morrow finished as the third-leading receiver in school history, proving that even a running back can find his place in a pass-happy offense.