‘Tis the season for over 40 college bowl games sponsored by some very obscure companies to celebrate the mediocrity of 6-6 teams. Surely there is an angry old man somewhere waving his fist screaming about how “everyone gets a trophy” and “the Millennials are ruining everything.” At TOJ, we love bowl season. Maybe not for the games because watching two small schools battle for an irrelevant trophy is not very appealing, but it gives us a chance to watch some teams that we did not get a chance to watch this season and evaluate some prospects who may not have been regularly exposed to us.
Matchup: Marshall vs. South Florida
Time: 8:00 p.m.
1) WR Tyre Brady (6-foot-3, 201 pounds)
2018 Stats: 12 games, 66 catches, 914 yards, 9 TDs
Career Stats: 34 games, 137 catches, 1968 yards, 18 TDs
Brady began his collegiate career at Miami but nothing ever materialized for him at the “U.” He sat out a year per the NCAA’s transfer rules, and he has made a major impact at Marshall ever since. He has reached landmarks of 60 catches, 800 yards, and eight touchdowns each of the last two years as the downfield threat of the Thundering Herd. He is lanky with some speed a la Robby Anderson, and he is sure-handed. If the draft were held tomorrow, he would be on the border between the 5th and 6th rounds. He will have a chance to improve his stock at the Senior Bowl and throughout the draft process.
Projection: 4th-7th round pick
2) ILB Juwon Young (6-foot-2, 243 pounds)
2018 Stats: 10 games, 43 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 5.5 TFLs, FF
Like Brady, Young transferred to Marshall from Miami after playing sparingly for the Hurricanes. And like Brady, Young has made the most of his time with the Thundering Herd. The senior notched 43 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and a forced fumble this season and he has flashed certain tools that will translate well to the pro game. His size, experience, and skill set will have teams eyeing him on Day 3 of the draft. How early they decide to take him on that day will depend on how he performs over the next couple of months.
Projection: 4th-7th round pick
Other names to watch: NT Ryan Bee (7th round pick/undrafted free agent), WLB Chris Woolbright (7th round pick/undrafted free agent)
South Florida’s prospects:
1) TE Mitchell Wilcox (6-foot-5, 245 pounds)
2018 Stats: 9 games, 40 catches, 506 yards, 2 TDs
Career Stats: 29 games, 69 catches, 942 yards, 6 TDs
Wilcox will be a name discussed often throughout the draft process. He has prototypical size for the position, good hands, and his best attribute may be his ability to run clean, crisp routes. The Bulls have relied on his playmaking ability for two years and he has been a matchup nightmare — too big for the defensive backs to handle, too quick for the linebackers to cover. There is a chance Wilcox stays in school because this tight end class is loaded, but he is certainly ready to make the jump if he chooses.
Projection: 3rd-5th round pick
2) WR Tyre McCants (5-foot-11, 240 pounds)
2018 Stats: 12 games, 58 catches, 607 yards, 3 TDs
Career Stats: 40 games, 126 catches, 1841 yards, 16 TDs
McCants is not a very sexy NFL prospect, but I have been a big fan of his over the last couple of years. He is a couple of inches shorter and a bit heavier, but McCants reminds me a lot of Quincy Enunwa. He has that bulldog mentality that Enunwa brings to the table. Once the ball is in McCants’s hands, it is tough to bring him down. As draft season comes closer, I’l dive into the film on McCants a bit more and put together a breakdown, but I think his best football is ahead of him and he can be had for a late round pick since he is not a very attractive prospect at the moment.
Projection: 6th round pick-undrafted free agent
Other names to watch: RB Jordan Cronkite (5th-7th round pick), QB Blake Barnett (7th round pick-undrafted free agent)