2020 NFL Draft (MAC Football): Nathan Rourke and crew make MACtion exceptional

Non-Power 5 conferences don't always get their due, but MAC Football has a good amount of NFL Draft prospects to offer for 2020. Here's a look at a few of them.

My favorite time of the season every year is when it starts getting cold outside. That doesn’t just mean that winter is coming; it means MACtion is coming. The Mid-American Conference starts playing MAC Football games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in November when the cold weather begins brewing. Rain, sleet, hail, snow: MACtion has played through it all. For just a couple of weeks every year, we get football every day of the week, and it’s glorious. Now let me give you some players that could go from MACtion to NFL action.

Nathan Rourke, QB, Ohio

The man they call “Air Canada” has the Bobcats soaring ever since he took over the reins as starting quarterback. Nathan Rourke is a genuine dual threat with an arm that spins a beautiful spiral, and the moves and speed as a runner that would rival your favorite scrambling quarterback.

The senior from Oakville, Ontario, started his high school career in Canada but moved to Alabama for his senior year, in an attempt to gain exposure from NCAA Division I schools. Rourke led Edgewood Academy to its 6th straight state championship, but still received no offers from D1 programs and played his first season of college football at Fort Scott Community College. After a prolific season at Fort Scott, Rourke took one of his few offers to Ohio, of MAC Football, and has flourished.

In 2 seasons in Athens, Rourke has passed for over 2,000 yards twice in a heavy run-first offense and has rushed for over 850 yards in both seasons as well. And if you won’t believe the Rourke hype from me, he’s been invited to the Manning Passing Academy this year. Rourke has also been the only winner of the Cornish Award 2 years running, an award given to the most outstanding Canadian in NCAA football.

While Rourke will need to be more consistent in MAC Football this year to move up NFL draft boards, he most certainly has the eye of the CFL, and that will always be an option for him.

Riley Miller, WR, Ball State

One of the leading receivers in MAC Football is coming back to Muncie, Indiana for one last ride. Riley Miller, a former walk-on, redshirted his freshman year and played the next season sparingly before earning a scholarship and a starting spot in 2017. In other words, Miller has worked for everything he has.

At 6’1, 196, Miller runs fluid, crisp routes and is the Cardinals’ most reliable receiver. Miller takes advantage of off-coverage by eating up space and jabbing quickly at the top of his routes. Miller is not a good blocker on the outside, though. He is also not the best athlete and can be stiff in the hips at times.

But when Ball State faced Notre Dame, Miller made some plays because of his routes and his hands. Because of the departure of quarterback Riley Neal, Miller may not have the same production, but another solid year could have Miller find his way onto a practice squad next season.

Alvin Davis, Jr., DB, Akron

First of all, I didn’t know we were still naming children Alvin. He’s a junior, so it makes sense. But Alvin Davis, Jr. is the type of centerfield safety that teams are going to look for. Davis, Jr. is a fast, explosive safety that plays one and two high for the Zips. Davis, Jr. can also thump with the best of them.

Being from perennial Florida high school powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, Davis, Jr. was only a 2-star recruit. As athletic as Davis is, his slight size (5’9, 175) will most likely be held against him if it already hasn’t been. Davis needs to add weight to his frame to be able to keep dishing out those big hits that he likes. And if teams don’t like Davis at safety, he can play cornerback, and is an electric returner.

With another good year and some bulking up, Davis, Jr. could be a steal.

Other MAC Football Players to Watch:

Ball State: LB Christian Albright Miami (OH): DL Doug Costin

Northern Illinois: LB Antonio Jones-Davis/Kyle Pugh

Ohio: S Javon Hagan

Western Michigan: OL Luke Juriga, LB Najee Clayton, RB Levante Bellamy

P.J. Green is a writer for PFN covering the NFL Draft and non-Power 5 conference college football.