Bowling For Dollars; Saturday; December 16th

December 15, 2017

TROY (10-2) by 5 vs. NORTH TEXAS (9-4)
The Troy football program has become like a basketball mid-major powerhouse in the FBS. The Trojans won 10 games in 2016 and have a chance to better that record this season with a win in this contest. QB/BRANDON SILVERS #12 has been an effective leader or them offensively and has a solid chance to be in an NFL Training Camp as an URFA next summer. RB/JORDAN CHUNN #38 leads their strong running attack, but has a propensity for fumbling the ball. That bad habit is going to severely limit his perceived pro potential. Defensively, they are stingy and are led by S/KRIS WEATHERSPOON #3. Troy has a legacy in the past decade of turning out NFL caliber DB. NORTH TEXAS was a surprise team after a 5-8 season in 2016. RB/JEFFREY WILSON #26 is a solid run threat who has a nose for the end zone. He also is a good receiver out of the backfield. WILSON is a bit thin by NFL standards at 6’/195 but may be able to add 10 lbs. without slowing down. Going into this Bowl game he has rushed for 1215 yards at 6.5 ypc, while scoring 16 TD. He also has 24 catches for another 2 TD. The Mean Green Defense is led by prospect KISHAWN McCLAIN/FS #6 who roams the deep secondary, but also excels at playing in the box and supporting the Run-D. He has 88 tackles, and 1 INT and 2 PD for the season. Keep an eye out for the N. Texas Kicker, TREVOR MOORE/#30. He does not have a booming leg, but is very accurate. He goes into Bowl action with 109 total points after going 52/52 on Xtra Points and 19/21 on field goal attempts during the regular season. That kind of accuracy gets the attention of NFL scouts.

CURE BOWL; Orlando, 2:30 PM ET; CBS Sports Network
All too often this is the kind of match-up we often end up with in the early pre-Holiday Bowls. Going .500 and getting a Bowl bid often ends up looking like a participation trophy. But then again, if the team match-ups are fairly even, like this one, then a tight game can break out. The big watch here for Draftniks (like us) will be WKU QB/MIKE WHITE #14, the big (6’4/225), strong armed ex-USF QB, who has an NFL arm and size. He also has some mobility to extend plays. WHITE has already accepted an invite to play in the Senior Bowl. #1, NACARIUS FANT is the Hilltoppers leading receiver, but will have to show well at the Combine, or Pro Day at only 5’9/185. Add him to your list of mighty-might prospects. The leader of their D is SS/MARCUS WARD #8, who at 6’3/220 looks like a strong candidate for an NFL training Camp next Summer as that Nickel-LB type player. GA STATE is an interesting school trying to emerge in big time football competition. They are rated as having the highest academic admission standards of any school in the Sun Belt Conference. Their Offense lacks any immediate NFL prospects, but their best overall pro-prospect just happens to line up at CB and will try to make life challenging for QB/WHITE. His name is CHANDON SULLIVAN #10, who measures 5’11/195. He is currently listed on the Senior Bowl acceptances list. So watch him carefully if you are a scouting enthusiast. He recorded 42 tackles this past season with 1 INT and 5 PD. I do expect MR. WHITE to light things up with the Hilltoppers Offense.

LAS VEGAS BOWL: #25 Boise State (10-3) vs Oregon (7-5); 3:30 PM ET; ABC … It will be the battle of the Northwest when 25th ranked Boise State plays Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday in what looks like one of the better early games on this year’s bowl schedule. It is also one of the better early games this year in terms of prospects for the 2018 draft. Oregon, in particular, has at least one player with at least early second-day potential in LT Tyrell Crosby (#73, 6-5, 320) who has bounced back nicely this fall from a serious leg injury last year. Oregon would actually have had a second top 50-10 prospect in RB Royce Freeman (#21, 5-11, 240), but he decided to skip the bolw and get an early start on draft prep. Oregon also has a pretty good little possession receiver in Charles Nelson (#6, 5-8, 170), while the defense has several late-round or free agent prospects including S Tyree Robinson (#2, 6-3, 205), CB Arrion Springs (#1, 5-11, 205), MLB Jimmie Swain (#18, 6-2, 240) and DE Henry Mondeaux (#92, 6-3, 280), while PK Aldan Schneider (#41, 6-3, 235) is a solid veteran kicker. For its part, Boise State has an underrated receiving prospect in WR Cedrick Wilson (#1 6-2, 190), a big-play threat who averaged almost 18 yards per on 73 receptions this fall, and could get some mid-to-late consideration this coming April, while TE Jake Roh (#88, 6-3, 230), RT Archie Lewis (#74, 6-3, 300), C Mason Hampton (#59, 6-3, 295) and SSLB Gabe Perez (#33, 6-3, 250). For the most part, though, Boise State is a relatively young team that could be a bigger factor on the field in the next couple of years with junior QB Brett Rypien (#4, 6-2, 210) leading the offense, while junior WLB Leighton Vander Esch (#38, 6-3, 240), the Mountain West DPOY after posting 129 tackles including 3 sacks and 3 picks, and freshman All-America DE Curtis Weaver (#99, 6-3, 255) who led the team with 9 sacks.

NEW MEXICO BOWL: Marshall (7-5) vs Colorado State (7-5); 4 PM ET; ESPN … Anyone needing a reason to tune in the otherwise unremarkable New Mexico Bowl between Marshall and Colorado State need not look any farther than CSU WR Michael Gallup (#4, 6-0, 200), one of those proverbial ‘best players in the country no one has seen’. However, while Gallup hasn’t gotten much – well not any really – national exposure, pro scouts are well aware of his skill set after he caught 94 passes for almost 1,400 yards this fall; and everthing else being equal, Gallup figures to get plenty of second-day attention this coming April. Colorado State actually has its own version of the ‘three amigos’ with veteran QB Nick Stevens (#7, 6-2, 215) and RB Dylan Dawkins (#1, 5-9, 185), both of whom have been very productive, although neither is overly big and are considered to be late-round type prospects. Same story for TE Dalton Fackrell (#30, 6-3, 230), OT Zach Golditch (#61, 6-5, 295), OG Trae Moxley (#60, 6-4, 330) and OLB Evan Colorito (#43, 6-3, 245). Meanwhile, Marshall is one of the younger teams with just two nominal senior starters in TE Ryan Yurachek (#85, 6-2, 240) and safety C.J. Reavis (#1, 6-0, 210), neither of whom is considered to be more than a fringe prospect. In fact, the Herd’s best prospect for 2018 may be P/PK Kaare Vedvik, who averaged almost 45 yards per punt this year, while the team’s best player is junior MLB Chase Hancock (#37, 6-2, 240).

CAMELLIA BOWL: Arkansas State (7-4) vs Middle Tennessee (6-6); 8 PM ET; ESPN … Normally a match-up between a 6-6 CUSA team and a 7-4 Sun Belt crew would never qualify as must-see TV; however, these are not normal times and folks really want to check out Arkansas State Ja’von Rolland-Jones (#11, 6-2, 245), an explosive edge rusher who had 12 sacks this past season. How dominant is Rolland-Jones; he’s a two-time Sun Belt Player of the Year; and that’s not DPOY, it’s the conference’s POY period. MTSU also has a dynamic playmaker in WR Richie James, but he won’t play as he missed the back half of the season with a broken collarbone. Unfortunately, Rolland-Jones and James are far and away the two best prospects on the two rosters. However, ASU does have several late-round/free agent type prospects in CB Blaise Taylor (#1, 5-9, 170), MLB Kyle Wilson (#15, 6-0, 235), NT Dee Liner (#25, 6-2, 335), and DE Caleb Caston (#54, 6-2, 240), TE Blake Mack (#16, 6-3, 230), OT Jay Philpert (#55, 6-5, 310) and SB Chris Murray (#14, 5-9, 195). On the other hand, MTSU’s best players are sophomore WR Ty Lee (#8, 5-9, 165) and LB/S Khalil Brooks (#16, 5-11, 200) and while the Blue Raiders have several senior starters none is more than a fringe prospect.