With Christmas over we turn our attention back to the College Bowl State and today’s collection of games do not disappoint. Whether it is Boston College’s loaded defense against an Boise State’s offense, a depleted Minnesota team against in transition Georgia Tech squad or even a defensive slug fest between Cal and TCU, there is plenty to see. The December 26th Bowl Prospect Preview shows you all the prospects playing in these bowls so jump start your NFL Draft preparation.
December 26th Bowl Prospect Preview
Boston College Eagles vs Boise State Broncos
12:30 CST on ESPN
Boise State Prospects
QB Brett Rypien (#12 QB)
RB Alex Mattison
WR AJ Richardson
DE Jabril Frazier
CB Tyler Horton
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) August 14, 2018
Without a doubt this is the most NFL Draft talent rich bowl game so far as Boston College has three prospects that could easily go on day two of the draft while Brett Rypien is a popular name in the draft community. Rypien may not have any elite traits but he demonstrates good ball placement and can throw with touch and anticipation. Rypien likely doesn’t become a franchise quarterback but he has the traits to become a Colt McCoy level backup. Boston College has plenty of NFL Draft talent on their defense which means Rypien is going to need his weapons to step up. At running back Alex Mattison is a decisive runner who has good burst and runs with good contact balance. Looking to stop the run the Eagles have an elite edge run defender in Zach Allen. Showing good strength and understanding leverage Allen is impossible to move off his spot and has the lateral agility need to shed blocks. As a pass rusher Allen uses his lateral quickness and technique to take on offensive lineman, but a lack of good speed makes it tough for him to win around the edge on a consistent basis. Keep an eye on BC strong safety Will Harris who excels playing down in the box accumulating 158 tackles the past two years.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) May 31, 2018
At receiver AJ Richardson has proven to be the deep threat this offense likes showing speed and ball tracking skills to win down the field. While Boston College’s cornerbacks are underclassmen but they do have two quality safeties in free safety Lukas Denis and the previously mentioned Will Harris. Harris is more of a traditional box strong safety but shows a good feel for zone coverage while Denis is a swiss army knife of a defender showing the ability to cover receivers out of the slot while also playing back as a single high safety. Denis’ ball production was down this year but as a junior he had 7 interceptions and 10 passes defended. A couple of other Boston College prospects to watch during this game include defensive end Wyatt Ray who is more of a speed pass rusher while right guard Chris Lindstrom is a mauler of a run blocker and has thrived since moving inside to guard.
Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
4:15 CST on ESPN
WR Tyler Johnson (JR)
LT Donnell Greene (Not Playing)
C Jared Weyler
DE Carter Coughlin (JR)
OLB Blake Cashman (Not Playing)
Georgia Tech Prospects
QB TaQuon Marshall
DE Anree Saint-Amour
Up until this year it was mainly just the high profile names that were skipping out on bowl games to prepare for the NFL Draft, but this game is a prime example of the new trend we are seeing. Minnesota doesn’t have much for NFL Draft prospects but both left tackle Donnell Greene and linebacker Blake Cashman are sitting out of this game. Greene is coming off meniscus surgery and wants more recovery time while Cashman simply wants to prep for the draft. Neither are considered big time prospects, so you wonder if playing in the game with all the eyes on them would be helpful. Without their top two senior prospects playing in this game the focus for the Gophers will be on juniors Tyler Johnson and Carter Coughlin. Tyler Johnson is the go to receiver for the Gophers reeling in 74 catches for 1,112 yards and ten touchdowns. Working both inside and out Johnson is a smooth route runner with run after the catch ability. Defensive End Carter Coughlin excelled this past year moving down down from linebacker finishing with seven sacks on the season. For Georgia Tech they are a young team but have a couple of prospects that are hoping to be priority free agents and make a NFL camp. Running the Yellow Jackets triple option attack, quarterback TaQuon Marshall is hoping to follow Jerrick McKinnon’s path of transiting to running back in the NFL. Marshall doesn’t have great size at 5’10 185lbs but is fast and in today’s NFL backs his size are having some success. Anree Saint-Amour has good length and can showcase some explosive movement skills but hasn’t been productive throughout his career.
California Bears vs TCU Horned Frogs
8:00 CST on ESPN
RB Patrick Laird
LT Patrick Mekari
ILB Jordan Kunaszyk
DE Ben Banogu
DE LJ Collier
MLB Ty Summers
— NFL Draft Geek (@NFLDraftGeek) August 15, 2018
In a deep pass rushing class there is going to be plenty of good value throughout the draft and one of those prospects could be TCU’s Ben Banogu. Banogu wins with good lateral quickness that allows him to get to the edge of the offensive lineman getting into the backfield but also in the run game to prevent tackles from latching on. Banogu profiles as a rotational pass rusher in a 3-4 defense, but he has the traits to carve out a role on a team. On the opposite side of Banogu the Horned Frogs have another draftable defensive end in LJ Collier whose much bigger at 6’4 275 and has experience playing both tackle and end and finished the season with five sacks. Rounding out the TCU defenders is middle linebacker Ty Summers who shows good instincts for the ball but he’s dealing with an undisclosed injury and is not a lock to play in the game. While Summers may not play, if you want to watch an inside linebacker then you may want to look to the Cal Bears and Jordan Kunaszyk. Kunaszyk (6’3 235) really burst out this past year to the tune of 129 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks and lead the nation in five forced fumbles. While those stats are impressive Kunaszyk is known for being one of the best tacklers in college football. On offense the Bears top rated prospects is running back Patrick Laird who runs with good vision who can also be used in the passing game with 98 career catches. Don’t expect Laird to be drafted till maybe the last couple rounds but his do it all ability will be appealing to NFL teams.