December 27th Bowl Game Scouting Guides

December 22, 2016

logoArmy Black Knights (6-5) vs North Texas Mean Green (5-7)
11:00 CST on ESPN

Army Prospects
#11 LB Andrew King

How often do we see a service academy in a bowl game and they are the team that has the only draftable player on the roster? Well North Texas may be young, but this Army team is having a tremendous season and it’s only fitting that they can get a bowl win too. That player is linebacker Andrew King who has been making plays all over the field this year with 88 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles. While it’s not a forgone conclusion that King will be drafted but he has the talent to make an NFL team and he’ll at least be fun to watch in this game.

mb-75Temple Owls (10-3) vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-6)
2:30 CST on ESPN

Temple Prospects
#5 RB Jahad Thomas
#66 LT Dion Dawkins
#50 DE Praise Martin-Oguike
#58 DE Hasson Reddick
#15 CB Nate Hairston

Wake Forest Prospects
#53 DE Duke Ejiofor
#40 DT Josh Banks
#26 LB Thomas Brown
#8 LB Marquel Lee
#25 CB Brad Watson

This is a sneaky good match between two teams that don’t get a ton of attention but will provide us with an entertaining game with some prospects that have the chance to make an impact in the league. The top guy in this game is Temple DE/OLB Hasson Reddick who is used in a variety of ways. The 6’1 230lb Reddick plays both on the edge as an end and as a stacked linebacker. He shows the burst and acceleration to make plays in the backfield and the agility and quickness to play back in coverage and react to the ball. He’s been compared to Leonard Floyd and Kamelei Correa but is probably somewhere in between. Wake Forest must account for him each play or he’s going to wreck their plans.

On offense Temple wants to run the ball and they have a talented back to do so. Jahad Thomas isn’t at the same level as the top backs in this class but Thomas is explosive and gets up in the hole quickly. He’ll be running behind left tackle Dion Dawkins who is a violent hitter and uses his strong upper body to steer defenders in the run game.

Wake Forest doesn’t have a ton of prospects but their one true pick in defensive end Duke Ejiofor which provides us with a good prospect battle between him and Dawkins. Ejiofor is completely under the radar but was one of the most productive defensive ends to start the season using a combination of speed and power to penetrate into the backfield. While Ejifor has played against some quality tackles in the ACC, facing off against Dawkins in the only game at this slot will get a lot of eyes on him.

nf-holiday-bowl-logoMinnesota Golden Gophers (8-4) vs Washington State Cougars (8-4)
6:00 EST on ESPN

Minnesota Prospects
#7 QB Mitch Leidner
#82 WR Drew Wolitarsky
#79 RT Jonah Pirsig
#5 CB Jalen Myrick
#7 S Damarius Travis

Washington State Prospects
#4 QB Luke Falk
#9 WR Gabe Marks
#21 WR River Cracaft
#73 RG Eduardo Middleton
#18 FS Shalom Luani

This game has already been interesting since Minnesota started a boycott and almost got to a point where the Holiday Bowl had to make a decision, luckily everything is back on track and we get this interesting matchup. The storyline draft wise for this game has to be the two quarterbacks. Mitch Leidner made headlines this summer when he got put into the first round in Todd McShay’s first 2017 mock draft, but has struggled throughout the year with accuracy and a lack of true arm strength. Luke Falk on the other hand has a quick release, good accuracy and enough arm strength to win, but gets knocked for the Air Raid system and could be getting some of the Jared Goff blowback. Many are saying that this quarterback class is awful, but both players are hoping for a big game here to get people’s attention and make them go back and rematch tape.

After the quarterbacks there are a few additional prospects that should get your attention. Gabe Marks isn’t a first or second round wide receiver but is a power route runner that could develop into a good commentary receiver. Minnesota cornerback Jalen Myrick is a cornerback that is a good athlete and is able to use his kick return skills at the cornerback position. Also keep an eye on the Gophers right tackle Jonah Pirsig who is a monster of a man and could be a priority free agent to a team that runs a man blocking scheme.

indexBoise State Broncos (10-2) vs Baylor Bears (6-6)
9:15 on ESPN

Boise State Prospects
#82 WR Thomas Sperbeck
#73 LG Travis Averill
#66 RT Mrio Yakoo
#51 LB Ben Weaver

Baylor Prospects
#9 WR KD Cannon
#8 WR Ishmael Zamora
#55 C Kyle Fuller
#20 LB Aiavion Edwards
#11 LB Taylor Young
#9 CB Ryan Reid
#29 S Orion Stewart

At the end of last year if you were told that Boise State and Baylor were facing off against each other it wouldn’t be out of the realm that it would be in a New Year’s Six Bowl game. Instead with Baylor’s issues we get it in the Cactus Bowl but that shouldn’t take away what could be an explosive game. The player to keep an eye on here is Baylor receiver KD Cannon who I’m shocked isn’t getting more attention. Last year Corey Coleman was everybody’s favorite and while Cannon is just a hair slower but is also bigger and can actually go up and win at the catch point.  Quarterback play has hurt him, but he is criminally underrated.

While Boise State tends to always put guys in the draft, this year they could take a step back from that their senior prospects are all seven round or undrafted free agent type of prospects.

Other than Cannon the Bears do also have a sure fire draft pick in center Kyle Fuller who is a good zone blocking center who uses his quickness to seal off defenders.  While both Ishmael Zamora and Taylor Young should stay in school and continue to develop, with the drama going on in Waco and a new coaching staff coming in it would surprise me if both players enter the draft.

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