Every year, college football fans can count on pass catchers to make memorable contributions to the highlight reel. Here are a number of the guys we anticipate making big plays:
Charleston Rambo – Miami – WR
As a three-year producer for the Oklahoma Sooners, new Hurricane wide receiver Charleston Rambo brings a ton of experience playing in big-time games along with a very well-rounded skill set. Boasting a tall, athletic frame and the speed to take the ball to the house, the Cedar Hill, Texas product has proven to be dangerous at all three levels of the field and even factors into the run game with his block effort. With impressive ability to track and adjust to the flight of the ball, Rambo catches the ball easily while providing quarterback D’Eriq King and co. another explosive weapon for NFL evaluators to keep track of.
Austin Williams – Mississippi State – WR
After two seasons as a part-time offensive contributor, Austin Williams exploded in 2020 under new head coach Mike Leach’s tutelage, starting nine games and quadrupling his reception total from the preceding year. In this Mississippi State system, the redshirt senior Williams typically aligns in the Slot while playing a hybrid WR/TE position that takes advantage of his 6-3, 200-pound frame and his willingness to do the dirty work as a blocker. In the pass game, the Ocean Springs, Mississippi native provides reliable hands, has a knack for finding the open spots in zone, and threatens defenses vertically with his size.
Cade Otton – Washington – TE
With a very competent ability to block inline, align across the formation, catch the ball outside of his frame, and drive a defender into the dirt, Cade Otton is the modern tight end. With 63 receptions and eight touchdowns in his career entering his senior season, the 2020 John Mackey Award Semifinalist is very productive in the pass game where his advanced understanding of route running and subtle moves enable him to regularly separate from defenders. And at 6-5, 250 pounds, Otton possesses the frame to align at either ‘Y’ or ‘F’ in the NFL with the demeanor and quickness to latch and win as a blocker.
Daniel Bellinger – San Diego State – TE
For the second consecutive year, San Diego State’s Daniel Bellinger was named to the John Mackey Award Watch List, which annually recognizes the nation’s most outstanding tight end. Also for the second consecutive year, Collegiate Bowl scouts are anxious to evaluate the 6-6, 255 pounder after the Las Vegas native stood out with his impressive blend of blocking and receiving production. In the mold of a traditional “Y” tight end who typically aligns inline and is asked to block defensive linemen, Bellinger is an excellent blocker who the Aztecs enjoy running behind due to his ability to latch onto targets and sustain his blocks with his proficient footwork and bend. No slouch in the receiving game, the 24-consecutive game starter provides a very reliable target for the quarterback due to his soft hands and then knows how to pick up extra yardage after the catch with his athleticism and physical playstyle.
The Big Board is filling up every day! Make sure you keep checking our website and social channels to see more featured players before the full release on August 27th.
Where would football be without the explosive running backs that we have grown to love throughout the years? Read on to see who we expect to have breakout seasons this year:
Shaun Shivers — Auburn
As a true senior, Shaun Shivers has been an offensive and special teams contributor all three years at Auburn. While playing running back in the vaunted Southeastern Conference is no easy task, the shorter-statured and nimble-footed rusher from Fort Lauderdale utilizes his lack of size as an asset, escaping both defenders’ vision and grasp. With natural hands to catch the ball away from his frame and the willingness to face-up blitzers in pass protection, Shivers projects as a third-down back at the next level, and his added value as a kickoff returner won’t be overlooked by NFL talent evaluators.
Stephen Carr — Indiana
After earning his degree and participating for four seasons with USC, Stephen Carr took the COVID exemption and transferred to Indiana for his final season of college eligibility. Transferring with him to the Hoosiers is a well-rounded skillset that saw the now graduate student rush for over 1300 yards and catch 57 passes during his time with the Trojans. With a patient running style, Carr runs with very good vision to find open rushing lanes, maintains great body-lean to keep his pads low, and finishes his runs physically, typically by lowering his shoulder on a defender while churning his legs. With production as a rusher, pass catcher, pass protector, and kickoff returner, the Gardena, California product is a true three-down prospect who NFL clubs will be sure to pay attention to this Fall.
Hassan Haskins — Michigan
With rare size and excellent strength for the position, Hassan Haskins is a load to bring down. The 6-1, 223-pound bruiser from St. Louis played in three games as a freshman but truly burst onto the scene as a sophomore when he averaged an impressive 5.1 yards per carry. During the shortened 2020 season and while splitting time in the deep Wolverine backfield, Haskins displayed his foot quickness and ability to break tackles to the tune of 6.1 yards per carry and a team-leading six rushing touchdowns. While NFL scouts would like to see him more involved in the passing game in 2021, Haskins’ eagerness to play on special teams the past couple of years speaks to his toughness and unselfish nature – two aspects NFL teams covet from the running back position.
Pierre Strong — South Dakota State
The play of Pierre Strong Jr. is a big reason for South Dakota State’s success over the past three seasons and a catalyst for their 2020-21 trip to the FCS national championship game. At 5-11, 204 pounds, the 2020 FCS first-team All-American is a great combination of size and speed, and routinely exploits creases with his vision, balance and foot quickness. What’s more, the Little Rock, Arkansas product demonstrates his football intelligence by flanking out wide to factor in the passing game – one of the many reasons why Strong has caught the attention of NFL evaluators.
That’s just the beginning! Keep checking back all week to see more of our Big Board featured players, leading up to the full release on Friday, August 27th.
College football is back, and that means it’s time for the rollout of our 2022 Big Board! Starting at the quarterback position, here are a few of the guys we’re excited to watch this season:
Clayton Tune – Houston
Given the keys to the Cougars’ franchise after the departure of D’Eriq King in 2019, Clayton Tune is an excellent combination of pocket passer and scrambler who orchestrates this high-flying, Dana Holgorsen offense. While showcasing great poise and toughness from the pocket, Tune routinely spreads the ball around to his many different pass catchers, displaying his quick release and decisiveness once he sees his receiver coming open. What you like about the Carrollton, Texas native is his readiness to take vertical shots to make the defense defend the whole field, and he’s a deceptively fast athlete who’s very capable of both extending plays with his legs and racking up yardage when the defense isn’t looking.
Sean Clifford – Penn State
At 23 years old and with 20 career starts already under his belt, Sean Clifford is one of the more seasoned senior quarterbacks in this year’s class. Showing command at the line of scrimmage, changing plays based on the defensive formation, and ensuring he gets his offense’s best player (WR Jahan Dotson) the ball regularly are all aspects of Clifford’s game that demonstrate his maturity and degree of preparedness for the next level. In addition to his smooth set-up, delivery and ability to scan the field, the redshirt senior from Cincinnati is a capable runner who’s already third all-time among PSU quarterbacks in rushing yards. After a disappointing 2020 campaign that saw the Nittany Lions fall under .500, NFL teams are eager to see if Clifford’s experience will elevate his performance against a tough Big Ten schedule, beginning September 4 at Wisconsin.
Anthony Brown – Oregon
After starting for 2.5 years at Boston College, Anthony Brown transferred to Oregon in 2020 where he played in the Ducks’ final two games of the season, entrenching himself as the team’s signal-caller going forward. With a tall, athletic frame, the 6-foot-3, 226-pound New Jersey native is the next dangerous dual-threat quarterback for the notoriously high-powered Oregon offense. With the build and speed of a wide receiver, Brown displayed in last year’s bowl game vs. a stout Iowa State defense the ability to move the ball efficiently with both his arm and his legs. NFL talent evaluators want to see Brown remain healthy for a full starting season – something he’s done only once to date – but a projected 3.5+ years of starting experience at the collegiate level will certainly bode well for his NFL chances.
Holton Ahlers – East Carolina
Standing at 6-3, 231 pounds, Holton Ahlers is no small man. The soon-to-be four-year starter possesses good NFL size for the position and frustrates many would-be sackers with his strength to break tackles. What’s impressive about the southpaw (and hometown hero for ECU) is that he looks to throw the ball downfield rather than run, and he isn’t afraid to thread the needle with his pass while putting trust in his receivers to make a play. NFL evaluators appreciate his ability to come off his primary read to find secondary targets, and he displays his veteran savvy by looking off safeties prior to throwing over the middle of the field.
Check back throughout the coming days to see the Big Board fill out at the other positions!
Hue Jackson is coming home. The Los Angles native will serve as head coach of the American Team at the 2020 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, marking the latest chapter in a coaching career that’s spanned more than 30 years.
Since beginning as an offensive assistant at his alma mater Pacific in 1987, Jackson has ascended to become a well-respected coach at the collegiate (California and USC) and NFL levels (Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals). In 2011, he took the reins as head coach of the Oakland Raiders for one season, and in 2015, he was named PFWA NFL Assistant Coach of the Year while with the Bengals.
We caught up with Jackson to talk about the wisdom he has to offer the next generation of players.
Why did you want to coach the Collegiate Bowl?
This is going to be these guys’ first intro to the NFL and having coached in the league in a lot of different places, I think I can give my guys advice to prepare them for that next step and providing professional instruction. Maybe one day, when they are looking back on their careers, they will say the coaching staff that Coach Jackson had during the Collegiate Bowl really helped me.
What do you recommend the athletes know going into the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl to prepare them for the week?
I hope they are in shape, that the foundation is ready because that is where it starts, and to be smart about it. Come in and compete and give it their all.
What advice can you offer guys trying to get to the next level?
To be in great shape, be coachable, be always interested in learning. There are different ways of doing things in football and it may be a bit different than the college game, but if they are ready to learn and really allow the staff to coach them, they will be in a good position moving forward.
What’s one thing you hope players know going into the week to set themselves apart?
I think the most important thing to know is that this will be a little more different and challenging than in college. I would hope they would be willing to do anything and everything, including contribute on special teams, to set themselves apart and to show to the scouts of why they were chosen to be on the team.
What advice would you give to the current upcoming generation of players that you have learned from coaching at the pro level?
Just always finding new ways to adapt and always looking for ways to get better. The good players are football-IQ smart. They work at their craft. They spend their time studying and they do spend the time.
The biggest thing I see for those players who want to avoid being labeled difficult is to never repeat those mistakes made by others that came before them. Whether it is preparing for that game to off-the-field decisions, they must make an opportunity to be drafted.
What would you say to the guys who don’t end up getting drafted?
It doesn’t mean it’s the end of your story. Your story is just beginning. It also doesn’t mean it’s the end of the opportunity. There are so many ways to make it into the football league. You never know how your story will unfold.
How do you feel about coaching against your friend Marvin Lewis in the Collegiate Bowl?
Just competing against him is always fun. It’s somebody that I really respect and someone I have a close relationship with. But when it’s time to play the game, we are both competitive and we want to win.