December 22nd Bowl Prospect Preview

The second weekend of Bowl season has about everything you want out of a day of bowl games. Not only do we get to see some talented NFL Draft prospects that could go in the early day two range but we also get a good prospect battle and one of the most underrated games in the entire Bowl season. The December 22nd Bowl Prospect Preview takes a look at all the 2019 NFL Draft Prospects that are playing into today’s bowl games.

December 22nd Bowl Prospect Preview

Memphis Tigers vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons
11:00 CST on ESPN

Memphis Prospects
RB Darrell Henderson (Not Playing)
LT Trevon Tate
LB Curtis Akins
CB Tito Windham

Wake Forest Prospects
WR Greg Dortch
LG Phil Haynes
C Ryan Anderson
CB Essang Bassey
FS Cameron Glenn

Add running back Darrell Henderson to the list of NFL Draft prospects not playing in the bowl game but even without the explosive runner the Tigers will still be able to keep their offense in tack as junior Patrick Taylor also eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing on the season. Memphis was fourth in the nation in rushing yards (only behind the three triple option offenses) and a big reason for that was the play of their offensive line. The top Memphis lineman is left tackle Trevon Tate (6’4 298) who has played both left and right tackle for the Tigers but his future in the NFL is at guard. At linebacker for Memphis also has an athletic linebacker in Curtis Akins who has good speed to chase down the ball from sideline to sideline. For Wake Forest they have some talent but their top guys are underclassmen. Both receiver Greg Dortch and cornerback Essang Bassey have been rumored to leaving early. Greg Dortch may lack good size at 5’9 but he is a dynamic playmaker with good burst and change of direction ability. Bassey is a solid sized cornerback who has good ball skills who lead the ACC in combined breakups and interceptions in 2017. Rounding out the Wake Forest prospects is free safety Cameron Glenn who likely moves to strong safety in the NFL. Glenn is at his best playing close to the line of scrimmage and playing the run.

Houston Cougars vs Army Black Knights
2:30 CST on ESPN

Houston Prospects
OLB Emeke Egbule
CB Isaiah Johnson

Army Prospects
FB Darnell Woolfolk

It should come to no surprise that Ed Oliver is not playing in this game deciding to focus on the NFL Draft. Not only will this game not benefit him in his stock, but he’s also been dealing with injury issues. As for the prospects playing in this game the focus turns to Houston cornerback Isaiah Johnson who is a popular name within the draft community. Johnson is a former receiver who has transitioned to defense. Johnson is a big corner at 6’4 203lbs and with good speed he has the makings of a press man corner. Unfortunately we won’t get to see much of Johnson in coverage as the Black Knights lead the nation in fewest passes thrown. This will give us the opportunity to see how Johnson does in the run game, an area he has struggled with. Most service academies don’t have much for NFL Draft talent but that isn’t the case as Army has a running back in Darnell Woolfork that is getting some buzz. Woolfork lead the Black Knights with 14 touchdowns on the season and is a punishing runner. A move to fullback is a likely option for Woolfolk which is always a position NFL teams are turning over rocks to try and find.

Buffalo Bulls vs Troy Trojans
6:00 CST on ESPN

Buffalo Prospects
QB Tyree Jackson (#15 QB)
WR Anthony Johnson (#5 WR)
C James O’Hagan
DE Charles Harris
LB Khalil Hodge (#11 LB)

Troy Prospects
WR Deondre Douglas
WR DAmion Willis
CB Blace Brown
FS Cedarius Rookard

Outside of the New Year’s 6 Bowls, this is arguably one of if not the best bowl game out there as both teams won at least nine games and have explosive offenses. This game not only gives us some good prospects but we get a solid receiver vs corner battle to boot.  Buffalo has a trio of prospects that all could see their names drafted on day two. At quarterback Tyree Jackson is big, fast and has a strong arm. He is still a bit raw with his accuracy and anticipation skills but teams will look at him as a project with a good ceiling and take a chance on him early. His top receiver Anthony Johnson has provided big time plays throughout the season and given Jackson a reliable weapon that he can just throw the ball up to and know Johnson will make a play. Johnson will have trouble separating consistently from defenders because of a lack of speed but makes up for it with a good catching radius and body control. Throughout this game Johnson will be matched up with Troy cornerback Blace Brown. Brown is still recovering from a torn ACL in 2017 but has started to regain his athletic ability but he has shown the ability to play the ball well in the air and has 12 career interceptions. With Johnson not being a great separator in his routes we should see these two battle at the catch point throughout the game. While that battle will be fun to watch I’m also watching how Cedarius Rookard does against this Buffalo passing attack. The NFL is always looking for good safeties and Rookard has four interceptions on the season. For Buffalo’s defense the player to watch is linebacker Khalil Hodge. Hodge isn’t the greatest athlete but thrives attacking forward and is a tackling machine accumulating over 120 tackles in each of the past three seasons.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
9:30 CST on ESPN

Hawaii Prospects
WR John Ursua
LB Jahlani Tavai (injured)

Louisiana Tech Prospects
WR Teddy Veal
LT O’Shea Dugas
RT Michael Rodriguez
DE Immanuel Turner
DE Jaylon Ferguson (#9 Edge)

Easily one of the best prospect that has played in the bowl season to this point is going to be Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson. Ferguson has about everything that you want out of an edge pass rusher with size 6’5, burst off the line and the ability to bend the edge which helped him generate 15 sacks on the season which lead the nation. Ferguson is a lock to be drafted on day two, but a strong bowl game and Pre Draft Process he could work his way into the end of the first round. The Bulldogs also have an offensive lineman that is a draftable prospect in left tackle O’Shea Dugas. Dugas has played well at tackle for the Bulldogs but his 6’5 344lb frame and lack of good feet means he’s likely moving inside to guard. But with Dugas’ upper body strength he should be a good fit there. Hawaii doesn’t have much for prospects as receiver John Ursua is the only one worth looking out for as he is your typical quick slot receiver. Hawaii did have a talented linebacker in Jahlani Tavai who was a tackling machine, but a shoulder injury ended his season.

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