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2020 Conference USA Preseason Summer Scouting Preview

2020 Conference USA Preseason Summer Scouting Preview
Credit: UAB Athletics

As we begin to wrap up my 2020 Preseason Summer Scouting series, let’s take a look at a conference that will play football as scheduled starting this week — Conference USA. While not loaded with talent compared to other college football conferences, Conference USA does possess some prospects that will be selected in the 2021 NFL Draft next April.

2020 Preseason Summer Scouting Series
AAC | ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | C-USA | MAC | MW | Pac-12 | SEC

All of the teams in Conference USA are now live. To view my grades and projected draft rounds for Conference USA draft-eligible prospects, scroll to the end of the article.

Page 1: Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall
Page 2: Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice
Page 3: Southern Mississippi, UAB, UTEP, Western Kentucky

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2020 Conference USA Preseason Summer Scouting 

Charlotte 49ers

Charlotte had an all-time draft last April when a pair of players were selected in the third and fourth rounds, but the program is likely to be shut out during the 2021 event.

Aaron McAllister is a hard-charging ball carrier who is almost solely effective as a downhill runner. He displays solid strength in his ball carrying with the ability to pick up yardage off initial contact, but he’s one-dimensional with limited versatility.

Florida Atlantic Owls

FAU did well under Lane Kiffin, both on the field and in NFL war rooms. The program has had three second-day picks since 2015 and placed a tight end into the fourth round of last April’s draft. Kiffin left for Ole Miss after last season, and it’s unlikely FAU has a player selected in next April’s draft.

John Mitchell is the only player from FAU with a chance of being drafted in 2021, but he needs to elevate his game.

Related | Hodgkinson’s 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft

Mitchell is a tall, relatively athletic pass catcher who finished the 2019 campaign third on the team with 38 receptions. He has upside, but he must match production with potential to have any chance of being selected next April.

Reminder: To view my grades and projected draft rounds for Conference USA draft-eligible prospects, scroll to the end of the article.

Florida International Panthers

FIU’s contributions to the NFL Draft have been solid, if not spotty. For the most part, they have been middle and late-round prospects from the program, which won’t change any time soon.

Rishard Dames is a terrific cover man with next-level ball skills. He’s explosive and fierce, and he works hard to cover the pass and defend the run. What Dames lacks is size, which limits his next-level appeal, but he has the tools necessary to line up in dime packages and play special teams on Sundays.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Players from Louisiana Tech have been selected in each of the past five drafts, including a pair this past April. That’s likely to end next year unless there is an injection of underclassmen talent from the program.

Redshirt junior Milton Williams is an athletic defensive lineman who makes plays behind the line of scrimmage as well as laterally. Williams is quick and fundamentally sound, but he needs to get stronger.

Related | Driscoll’s 7-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft

Receiver Adrian Hardy impressed me as someone with a next-level future early in his career, but he never progressed as I thought possible. Hardy is a solid pass catcher, but his play has seemingly leveled off and he lacks next-level speed.

Reminder: To view my grades and projected draft rounds for Conference USA draft-eligible prospects, scroll to the end of the article.

Marshall Thundering Herd

For the past half-dozen years, Marshall has produced primarily late-round picks. There’s a good chance that changes in 2021.

The next-level prospect of note on the Marshall depth chart is Josh Ball, a Florida State transfer. He’s an athletic tackle with outstanding length and strength. Ball can slide out in pass protection and get to the second level to take out linebackers blocking in motion, and he shows excellent strength as a run blocker. Ball was rotated into the lineup last season, as Marshall had a pair of established starters, but this year he’s penciled in with the first team.

Related | NFL Draft 2021: The top 10 offensive tackle rankings

Ball has big upside, and there are some scouts who feel he could end up as a second-day selection. But I’m also informed there are character red flags with Ball that need close inspection.

Page 1: Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall
Page 2: Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice
Page 3: Southern Mississippi, UAB, UTEP, Western Kentucky

Pages: 1 2 3

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