The regular season in college football may be over, but the fun is just ramping up! The end of the regular season doesn’t mean the end of our coverage. Week 16 in college football kicks off bowl season, and Pro Football Network is here giving you all the breaking news and analysis you crave!
Tony Pauline and our trusted crew have done a great job all season long dropping great bits of knowledge and news. That continues this week, as we start our Bowl Season coverage. Pauline and Nick Farabaugh were joined by fellow PFN writer Bill Riccette for a wild day of bowl game madness.
If you missed anything throughout a great day of college football, the Pro Football Network Live Blog recap has you covered! As always, be sure to join Tony Pauline and Andy Herman on the Draft Insiders podcast to get even more NFL Draft breaking news and knowledge. Now, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from an action-packed Saturday.
Omar Bayless shines
One of the best things about Week 16 college football, is getting to watch small school studs. Many may not recognize the names called in the first few bowl games on the slate, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of talent. That talent was put on display Saturday in a big way, in particular from Arkansas State wide receiver Omar Bayless. Bayless was all over the field in the Camellia Bowl, and all over the PFN Live Blog. Here’s what Farabaugh had to say in the 6:30 PM update:
It is another Arkansas State game and another Omar Bayless touchdown is on the books in the early stages of the Camellia Bowl against Florida International. Bayless has really ramped up his hype recently after a breakout season that saw him become the most productive receiver in the nation this season. Bayless is big-bodied at 6’3″ and wins well above the rim, but Bayless can also run some really sharp routes and win in the short game as well as the deep passing game. Bayless does not have great athleticism, but with a good testing day, he could see his stock even rise more and land as a potential top-125 pick come April if his rapid ascent continues.
What does the performance mean for Bayless’ NFL Draft outlook? Here’s what Pauline had to say on the subject in the 8:25 PM update:
He’s already been invited to the Shrine Game and it will be interesting to see if he receives a combine invitation. The history has been players like Bayless who enter the season with a street free agent grade as he did, rarely get invited to the combine.
Bayless is a terrific pass catcher but his final draft grade and whether or not he slides into the late rounds, will depend how fast he runs prior to April.
Will they stay or will they go?
Now that we’ve hit the end of the regular season and have reached the bowl games, we’re going to be inundated with players making career-defining decisions. For some, that decision is going to be to declare for the NFL Draft, like Boise State duo Curtis Weaver and Ezra Cleveland. Here’s the latest on their decision, according to Pauline in the 7:40 PM update:
With the Las Vegas Bowl kicking off, it’s important to note something I’ve been saying for the past month- I expect this to be the final game for Boise State underclassmen Curtis Weaver, the pass rusher, and left tackle Ezra Cleveland.
I would expect an announcement from both by the end of next week. I presently grade both players as second day selections.
For other players, the decision is going to be another year in school. Some enjoy the college life and want to squeeze one more year out of it. Others have flaws in their game that need smoothing out. No matter the reason, there’s going to be a few big names who surprise us and go back to school, like Carlos Basham Jr. from Wake Forest. Here’s what Pauline has learned from the 8:10 PM update:
During the last episode of The Draft Insider podcast with Andy Herman, I mentioned word was Carlos Basham Jr. was leaning towards returning to school, and today he made that official. As I said for months, Basham’s decision would come down to his grade from the advisory committee; if he received a first or second round grade he would enter the draft otherwise he planned on returning.
I was told last week Wake Forest coaches were pushing hard for Basham to return and his mother also wanted him to return for his senior season. There are a number of area scouts and even some GM’s who openly said regardless of the grade he received from the advisory committee, they believed Basham had top 45 potential. I graded him as a 3rd round prospect off the 2018 film.
Week 16 college football FCS stars shine
With all the publicity the FBS bowl games get, it can be easy to overlook — or forget about entirely — the FCS playoffs. Lucky for you, we haven’t forgotten and are keeping a close eye on a couple of players who could be a factor in upcoming all-star bowl games. Players who could also hear their names called in April. James Madison had a chance to punch their ticket to the FCS championship, and Farabaugh was keeping an eye on their DB Rashad Robinson:
I am heavily keeping my eye on the Dukes cornerback Rashad Robinson. Robinson missed all of last year with an injury, but this year, he has rebounded nicely. He has great lateral agility and mirroring ability. Just watch him and you will see how fluid his transitions are and it allows him to use his good deep speed to get in position and make a lot of plays on deep balls. Robinson I believe is a sleeper Shrine Game invite down the line. And a strong performance tonight would help strengthen that case.
Robinson isn’t the only Dukes player who may hear his name called in the NFL Draft, either. Farabaugh gives us the low-down on the Dukes’ quarterback, Ben DiNucci, in the 8:35 PM update:
James Madison quarterback Ben DiNucci is having another terrific game as the Dukes have taken a big lead over Weber State 24-7 in the second IAA/FCS semi-final of the day. As of this posting DiNucci, a riser much earlier this season, has completed 15 of 21 passes for 205 yards with 3 TD’s.
I’m surprised DiNucci has yet to be invited to the Shrine Game- which he deserves. I think he absolutely deserves late round consideration as DiNucci has played lights out football the past two seasons.
North Carolina A&T has long been a powerhouse school in the HBCU ranks and has produced a number of high-quality NFL players. That tradition should continue this year, as the Aggies have a pair of players with true NFL potential. Riccette had his eyes on the Celebration Bowl on Saturday, as the Aggies took on Alcorn State. First up, he highlights Aggies CB Mac McCain III in the 1:30 PM update:
One player that has really flashed thus far in this game has been North Carolina A&T CB Mac McCain III. He has been showing excellent open-field tackling and quickness to get to the ball. PFN highlighted him during the summer and he has done nothing to darken that spotlight. He could be an intriguing nickel option on Day 3
On the other side of the ball, Aggies running back Jah-Maine Martin looks to join Tarik Cohen as A&T alums in the NFL. Here’s Bill on the Aggies RB in the 2:50 PM update:
North Carolina A&T RB Jah-Maine Martin has been having himself a terrific day today. As of now, he has 12 carries for 118 yards and a touchdown. The FCS leader in yards per carry has really made a name for himself today and could be in line to be a late-round choice and the fourth straight Aggie drafted into the NFL. Hopefully, he gets a chance to shine in some more postseason games and at the NFL Combine.
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