College football bowl season kicks off today with two games on the schedule. The Pro Football Network NFL Draft team will be here all bowl season long to provide you with what you should be watching for in every bowl game. While today’s start to the bowl schedule isn’t packed with next-level talent, there are still plenty of 2020 NFL Draft prospects to keep an eye on. Take a look at our 2019 College Bowl Preview: Bahamas and Frisco Bowls!
Bahamas Bowl: Charlotte vs. Buffalo
The Charlotte 49ers come into this game with a few players who could be future NFL players, especially pass rusher Alex Highsmith. Highsmith is one of the best small school prospects in the entire 2020 NFL Draft and is certainly an under-the-radar draft prospect. Highsmith doesn’t have imposing size, and he isn’t going to give you much against the run, but he can provide a ferocious pass rush. He can explode off the snap, and he’s quick and relentless in pursuit.
Another intriguing draft prospect from the Charlotte 49ers is running back Benny LeMay. In 2019, LeMay has averaged over 102 rushing yards per game, showing a good combination of balance and vision.
– Neal Driscoll, PFN NFL Draft analyst
The Buffalo Bulls come into this game with a very balanced attack. Both their offense and defense finished as top 50 units in the country. Their defense ranked 34th and was the top defense in the MAC. Their defense is led by defensive ends Taylor Riggins, Malcolm Koonce, and Ledarius Mack. Each player has accumulated 7.0 or more sacks, with Riggins accumulating the most with 8.5. Riggins is the best player on this defense but lacks above-average athleticism. Safety Tyrone Hill is also a fun name to watch, as he flies around but lacks great ball skills.
The Bulls’ offense is led by one of the most potent rushing attacks in the nation. They amassed a whopping 3,051 total rushing yards and 33 touchdowns. Their duo of running backs are Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks, both sophomores who rushed for over 1,000 yards this season. Buffalo’s best offensive draft prospects all hail from the offensive line. Evin Ksiezarczyk, Paul Nosworthy, and Tomas Jack-Kurdyla could all be viewed as camp bodies. Ksiezarczyk has the highest upside and is the most likely to be drafted.
– Matt Valdovinos, PFN NFL Draft analyst
Bahamas Bowl Prospects (via Neal and Matt)
Frisco Bowl: Utah State vs. Kent State
Kent State Golden Flashes
The Kent State Golden Flashes are enjoying their first bowl game bid since 2012. The team has bought into second-year head coach Sean Lewis and is ready to take on heavy favorites Utah State. The Kent State offense lives and dies by the play of QB Dustin Crum. While you can say that for most teams, it’s especially true when you recognize that Crum is not only Kent State’s leading passer but also the team’s leading rusher. Crum is a fun prospect, and right now, I would give him a draftable grade, but it feels as though he’s most likely to return to school for his senior season. If Kent State is going to score points, it will be via the arms and legs of Crum.
On defense, the Golden Flashes are led by standout linebacker Mandela Lawrence-Burke. Burke has accumulated 94 total tackles on the year, along with 4.0 sacks. He’s the leader on defense, but like Crum, he seems more likely set to return for his senior season. Kent State also possesses a quality duo of cornerbacks in Keith Sherald Jr. and Jamal Parker. These two cornerbacks will have to get their hands on a few passes if Kent State is to beat the Aggies in the 2019 Frisco Bowl.
– Matt Valdovinos, PFN NFL Draft analyst
Utah State Aggies
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love has had scouts raving about his potential for years now. With his declaration to the NFL set, Love has one last game at the collegiate level to impress NFL scouts before the offseason begins. A good showing in this game and Love can springboard off of that momentum into a quality draft season. Aggies senior running back Gerald Bright leads the team in rushing yards and touchdowns and projects nicely as a late-round receiving back. He’s undersized but shifty with good lateral agility and vision and has been an effective receiver during his time with the Aggies.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Aggies are led by junior linebacker David Woodward. Woodward is undersized at 6’2, 235, but is physical at the point of attack and is a sure tackler. Woodward can be a starting-caliber linebacker and key special teams player for a team at the next level. He’s coming off a season-ending injury, however, so Woodward will not play in this game.
Pass rusher Tipa Galeai leads the Aggies with 5.0 sacks on the season. He’s explosive off the edge with a dynamite first step and has very good bend in his pass rush. Galeai is a phenomenal athlete at the OLB position but needs to develop his technique as a pass rusher further, as he can be stalled if he can’t out-athlete the opposing tackle. He has off-the-field questions after being dismissed from the TCU program, but Galeai is a player whose stock will skyrocket after he blows up the NFL Combine. He’ll have to bring his “A game” to the bowl game if the Aggies want to win.
– AJ Schulte, PFN NFL Draft analyst
Frisco Bowl Prospects (via Matt and AJ)
|1st||Jordan Love||QB||10||Utah State|
|3rd||Tipa Galeai||EDGE||10||Utah State|
|4th||David Woodward||LB||9||Utah State|
|5th||Keith Sherald Jr.||CB||15||Kent State|
|6th||Dustin Crum||QB||14||Kent State|
|6th||Gerald Bright||RB||1||Utah State|
|7th||Mandela Lawrence-Burke||LB||28||Kent State|
|7th||Jamal Parker||CB||7||Kent State|