WEEK 2: Virginia vs. William & Mary
The Cavaliers are a talented program on the upswing, led by cornerback Bryce Hall, who returned for his senior season in order to earn his degree and hone his craft. It appears that it’ll pay off, as Hall flashed fancy footwork, a smooth backpedal and fluid hips. The Pennsylvania native seems destined to be a top 100 draft selection come April.
Entering the season NFL scouting services had mixed grades on @UVAFootball CB Bryce Hall. Well, I’m here to tell you that he looked like a top 100 prospect to me.
— Ric Serritella (@RicSerritella) September 9, 2019
The “other” Bryce, as in quarterback Bryce Perkins, orchestrated the Virginia offense to the tune of 52 points, while showing off a strong arm and tremendous ball velocity. Perkins was spraying the ball all over the field, as eight different receivers caught passes. He accounted for two touchdowns through the air and another via the ground, despite sitting out most of the second half.
For William & Mary, lengthy safety Isaiah Laster hovered the secondary, playing a smooth centerfield, while collecting seven tackles and utilizing his long arms to disrupt a deep pass. Laster hails from a football family and has been playing the sport since he was six years old. He’s also an academic standout off the field, which is noticeable on the field, as he is quick to react to the play as it develops.
*Be sure to follow @NFLPABowl for behind-the-scenes coverage of our scouting trails leading up to the ninth annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on January 18, 2020 at the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena!
Every week during the NFL regular season, we will track notable performances by NFL players who participated in the Collegiate Bowl. Here are the top performers from week 1:
Week 1: Notre Dame vs. Louisville
Louisville is a young team with some talent but senior-wise it comes down to wide receiver Seth Dawkins, who made a fantastic back-shoulder catch early in the game that showcased his body control and natural ball skills. Similarly impressive is punter Mason King who physically looks like a linebacker while standing 6-4 and 215 lbs. The senior displayed his superior leg strength in both pregame warmups and during the game, regularly hanging punts up north of 4.5 seconds – which is impressive!
Notre Dame is a senior-rich team that physically looks like an NFL squad. One of the most impressive looking prospects is wide receiver Chase Claypool, who at 6-4, 230 has a frame reminiscent of Larry Fitzgerald’s. The senior receiver showed his ability to body-up throws, run physically and build up his speed with his long strides downfield, but there is more talent here than production and I’d like to see him make some dominant plays like he’s capable of.
An intriguing fellow wideout is Chris Finke who’s the complete opposite of Claypool in size and is the shiftier/slot type outlet who also adds value in the return game. Running back Tony Jones Jr. displayed his run skill and vision while exploiting holes in Louisville’s front. Up front, starting left tackle Liam Eichenberg looks like some of his recent team predecessors with his long body and length that he uses to keep defenders at arm’s reach. Fellow right guard Tommy Kraemer provide some road graders for Jones Jr. to run behind, and Kraemer is every bit of that 319 pounds while getting after it in the run game.
On defense, the Irish have a plethora of pass-rushing talent with seniors Daelin Hayes, Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem. All three look the part physically while possessing long arms to help maintain separation from blockers, and their sheer depth of numbers should mean they can continue to rotate throughout games to remain fresh. In the secondary, Troy Pride made a couple nice plays from his cornerback position, showing a willingness to get physical while remaining sticky in coverage. Fellow DB Jalen Elliott is a good-looking safety who I think is playing a bit out of position at the free safety spot. Elliott reminds me a bit of Landon Collins in how he’s built, and he made a couple nice open-field tackles that saved gains from becoming more explosive. I’d like to see his imposing presence down near the line of scrimmage, however, where he can get involved in even more run plays and utilize his length while matching up with tight ends versus the pass.
Week 1: Oklahoma vs. Houston
While the outcome may be reminiscent of Oklahoma’s previous two prolific Heisman winners, quarterback Jalen Hurts’ style is much different than either’s. I came away impressed with Hurts’ accuracy throwing the ball downfield, the strength of his arm when making tighter-window throws, as well as his ability to consistently fall forward as a ball carrier. What concerns me is that Jalen is a taller athlete with longer legs and stride, and several times versus Houston I grew concerned that his style can potentially lead to injury as he was cut down low by tacklers. If he can stay healthy and avoid some unnecessary wear and tear, I expect him to be a top-5 quarterback prospect.
On the defensive side for Oklahoma, Canadian defensive tackle Neville Gallimore made his presence felt in the game with a sack. Gallimore is an intriguing prospect due to his combination of size and athleticism, and he has upside to be a versatile piece that can play any of the interior positions across even & odd fronts. In the secondary, cornerback Parnell Motley made his third consecutive season-opener start, which speaks to his experience and competitiveness. The senior corner showed a willingness to get physical with Cougar wide receivers despite possessing a leaner frame in the run game, and he recorded a pass break up in the 2nd half while in part showing his ability to be successful in both facets of the game. As more passing teams appear on the Sooners’ schedule, Motley will surely be tested through the air.
For Houston, quarterback/athlete D’Eriq King razzled and dazzled his way around the field, showcasing his exciting playstyle. While I don’t think he’s polished at this point as a passer, he does have some arm talent to go along with his athletic skillset. I see him playing wide receiver and being that Antwaan Randle El versatile piece at the NFL level; and I’d love to see him return a punt or three as he possesses the speed, COD and natural run instincts to be dangerous if he can field the ball.
Up front protecting King is four senior blockers, led by Josh Jones. The left tackle looks the part physically with his long body and arms. While he’ll surely continue to add on good weight for the next level, he has the play demeanor and athleticism to be potentially productive at four OL positions.
Week 1: Indiana State vs. Kansas
Arguably Kansas’ best prospect on the offensive side Hakeem Adeniji, showed his leadership in pregame warmups as the emotional leader of the team while getting his fellow Jayhawks hyped. Adeniji is a four-year starter with the size, athleticism, play strength and demeanor to succeed in the NFL, whether it’s at left tackle or another position.
On the defensive side, cornerback Hasan Defense began the scoring with a pick-6 early in the opening quarter. Defense – who may have the most appropriate last name in the whole NCAA – has that DB swag that press corners need in the NFL, but he made a costly error later in the game letting his emotions get the best of him. Defensive end Darrius Moragne made his NFL case as he was a constant menace for the Sycamores, recording seven total tackles, including one sack.
Strong safety Bryce “The Tornado” Torneden led all Kansas DBs in tackles (five) and unbound energy in pursuit of the football. Torneden, who the coaches and staff rave about from a character/toughness/preparation standpoint, has the makings of an NFL special teams standard bearer, and a lot of that will come down to how fast he can run his 40.
Free safety Mike Lee – who can be a human missile from the defensive backfield – recorded four tackles and one pass breakup, showing good anticipation for the ball’s arrival. Outside linebacker Azur Kamara is making the transition from hand-in-the-dirt DE to stand-up OLB and picked up his production as the game wore on, recording two tackles, including one sack.
For Indiana State, QB Ryan Boyle lacks prototypical NFL size but has an above average arm to make his case to be a backup QB. One of the best-looking players on the field physically, middle linebacker Jonas Griffith was second on the team with five total tackles, displaying good straight-line speed chasing down ball carriers. While he makes the defensive calls and flashed with his range, I’d like to see him play more violently with his hands and factor in the run game on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
WEEK 1: South Dakota State vs. Minnesota
For Minnesota, one of their top offensive prospects is wide receiver Tyler Johnson, who is a smooth athlete with the ability to catch almost anything thrown his way. Despite Johnson’s career production and catch skill, , his teammate opposite of him (Rashod Bateman) had the more prolific evening while Johnson hauled in a more pedestrian three receptions for 28 yards.
On the Defensive side, cornerback Chris Williamson had the play of the night with an early pick-6, taking an errant screen throw to the house. Williamson, who plays primarily the nickel slot for for the Gophers, is a pretty good athlete who showed ball skills while reacting quickly on his interception return. His size and versatility to play multiple positions (potentially even free safety) will factor positively for him when he transitions to the NFL. The Gophers also have a couple of good-looking defensive end prospects in Sam Renner, who’s a longer-bodied 4/5 technique that recorded five tackles and a pass breakup; and edge defender Carter Coughlin, who is more in the mold of a designated pass rusher at the next level due to his ability to get off the ball in passing situations.
For South Dakota State, middle linebacker Christian Rozeboom is an athlete capable of backing up at numerous positions, and the two-time All-American led the Jackrabbits in the game with 11 total tackles, including one for a loss. While Rozeboom is all over the field, I do want to see him do a better job of securing some of his tackle attempts and not letting ball carriers squeak out additional yardage. In front of him, defensive end Ryan Earith possesses a thicker frame to hold up at the point of attack (POA) and flashed for South Dakota State while recording two tackles and one sack.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The NFL Players Association will extend a special invite to a deserving football player at each United States service academy for the 2020 Collegiate Bowl Game.
The unique opportunity to participate in the premier postseason all-star football game will include Division I FBS programs U.S. Military Academy (Army), U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy. By taking part in the week-long experience, those who accept their invitation will have the chance to showcase their skills in front of NFL scouts, play under a staff featuring former NFL players and coaches, and learn about the business of football.
“This is a great way for my fellow servicemen to position themselves for success on the football field,” said San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Ben Garland, who serves as a captain with the Colorado Air National Guard during the offseason. “I appreciate our players union making a point to provide this experience for those who serve our country.”
The 2019 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl featured Air Force Academy long snapper Austin Cutting. He went on to be earn a roster spot on the Minnesota Vikings after being the only long snapper selected in the 2019 NFL Draft.
“I think it is an incredible opportunity and I look forward to seeing more of my teammates from the Academy taking advantage of the opportunity presented to them,” Cutting said.
The 2020 Collegiate Bowl will be played on Saturday, January 18 at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, CA.
— Ben Garland (@BenGarland63) April 28, 2019
AUG. 31 CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL:
North Carolina 24, South Carolina 20
From the moment UNC stepped onto the field for Mack Brown’s return as the Tar Heels coach, passionate safety Myles Dorn provided the pulse of the team, keeping teammates energized and focused at the task on hand. Dorn was a thorn in the Gamecocks side with his menacing play, as he was quick to help fill the run gaps and at one point, knocked South Carolina wide out Bryan Edwards out of the game with a devastating hit. He finished finish with seven tackles on the day.
Offensively, Tar Heels left tackle Charlie Heck is one player who doesn’t nearly receive the credit he deserves. A mammoth of a man, Heck is extremely long, strong and surprisingly nimble. North Carolina introduced their new ‘Air Raid’ offensive attack and the result was a whopping 483 total yards, while controlling the clock (33:42 time of possession), thanks in large part to Heck’s efforts. One bonus that NFL scouts will appreciate is that Heck remains in the game on extra points and field goals.
Lookout now #67 @TarHeelFootball OT Charlie Heck is a mammoth!
— Ric Serritella (@RicSerritella) August 31, 2019
While he didn’t get the start (that honor went to Rico Dowdle), new transfer running back Tavien Feaster was the most impressive runner for the Gamecocks, demonstrating excellent acceleration and wiggle, while gaining 72 yards on 13 carries (5.5 average). He added a pair of catches out of the backfield and showed off an impressive spin move in the open field. Look for his role to increase as the season wears on.
AUG. 30 CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL:
Wake Forest 38, Utah State 35
Wake Forest was paced by running back Cade Carney, who broke several nice runs with his patient running style, allowing his blocks to set him free for 105 rushing yards on 25 carries. Carney provided NFL brass with plenty of highlights, showcasing his ability to rip through arm tackles and energize the offense for the 10 scouts in attendance.
On defense, linebacker Justin Strnad was his usual, sideline-to-sideline stalker self, finishing with 12 tackles (nine solo) and a pass deflection. While his ability to cover was already well-known, what was most impressive about Strnad was his preparation, as he was constantly coaching his teammates and making pre-snap adjustments.
One player for Utah State who was sure to register on the NFL radar after his performance under the Friday night lights was defensive tackle Fua Leilua. Imagine blocking a 300-pound wrecking ball, that was the task at hand for the Wake Forest offensive line. While it might not show up in the box score (three tackles, one hurry), Leilua was a frequent disruptor in the backfield.
Ring'em in, bring'em in. Time for @WakeFB under some Friday Night lights!
Lots of NFL scouts on hand for their matchup with Utah State, the @NFLPABowl is out here looking for premier talent!
— Ric Serritella (@RicSerritella) August 30, 2019
AUG. 29 CAMPUS CONFIDENTIAL:
CHARLOTTE 49, GARDNER WEBB 28
In Will Healy’s coaching debut, Charlotte running back Benny LeMay, who showed off his inside run prowess, gained the tough yards after contact and racked up 120 rushing yards on 16 carries. LeMay ended the first half with an exclamation point, as he outran the Runnin’ Bulldogs defense for a career-long, 65-yard touchdown scamper. The senior finished with two scores on the evening, while sitting out most of the second half.
Name you need to know: @CharlotteFTBL RB Benny LeMay stretching out pregame. Expected to have a heavy workload tonight and a big season ahead.
— Ric Serritella (@RicSerritella) August 29, 2019
A big reason for the success of Charlotte’s run game was offensive tackle Cameron Clark, as he served up pancakes all night long against the Gardner Webb defense. Clark’s long wingspan was on display, stymieing defenders with his long reach and strong punch. He also showed good conditioning when Charlotte switched gears into its up-tempo offense.
Coach Healy has preached his Gold Standard mantra since taking over and defensive end Alex Highsmith is the epitome of that. With two sacks in the season-opener, Highsmith now ranks second all-time (eight) in school history. He also added a pair of quarterback hurries and finished with seven tackles on the night behind his relentless pursuit.