Texas State’s 2023 NFL Draft prospects led by Marcell Barbee, Kyle Hergel

The PFN Draft Preview takes a deeper look into the potential 2023 NFL Draft prospects set to hit the field for Texas State this season.

It’s fair to say that the Texas State Bobcats haven’t been a regular and significant producer of talent to the NFL. Just three players have made the journey from San Marcos to the summit of the professional game. Will those Bobcats’ numbers be bolstered in the 2023 NFL Draft? Who are the top Texas State prospects to watch out for in the upcoming college football season?

Texas State prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft

Craig Mager. David Mayo. Fred Evans. Those three former Texas State players comprise the program’s draftees to the NFL. There have been zero offensive players selected from San Marcos in Bobcats history. Yet, an early look at Jake Spavital’s team reveals that their best chances of a selection in the 2023 NFL Draft may come from that side of the ball.

As the team looks to build on their most successful season since 2014, who are the players who could elevate their 2023 NFL Draft stock while returning Texas State to winning ways?

Marcell Barbee, WR

A former JUCO standout for Iowa Western, Marcell Barbee tallied 1,052 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns for the Reivers. Since transferring to Texas State ahead of the 2020 season, Barbee’s been one of the Bobcats’ leading receivers in consecutive seasons. He’s tallied 1,104 yards and 15 touchdowns in two years, and his play has caught national attention with a place on the Shrine Bowl 1000 watch list.

At 6’2″ and 195 pounds, Barbee boasts brilliant size to be a competitive ball player at the NFL level. He’s a reliable target in contested-catch situations who boasts sure, strong hands. In addition to his size, the Texas State WR has showcased decent speed and acceleration, giving him the ability to separate with relative ease. With a knack for finding open space, Barbee has a well-rounded profile worthy of selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Kyle Hergel, G

Continuing the offensive prospect potential in the 2023 NFL Draft is interior offensive lineman Kyle Hergel. Having earned FCS Independent Newcomer of the Year honors for North Dakota in 2019 and started every game in his final two seasons for North Dakota, the fifth-year offensive lineman impressed as a 12-game starter in his debut season for Texas State. He was credited with allowing just one sack on 477 pass protection plays, earning attention as one of two Bobcats players on the Shrine Bowl 1000 watch list.

At 6’2″ and 300 pounds, Hergel isn’t the biggest interior offensive lineman in the 2023 NFL Draft class. Yet, that shouldn’t detract from his candidacy. He plays much bigger than his size, possessing that nasty demeanor that is a requisite for interior line success.

Hergel showcases violence in his hands, routinely putting his opponent in the dirt. He isn’t just a vicious menace, however. Hergel boasts some intriguing athleticism, working to the second level with fluidity. Meanwhile, he flashes high football IQ to round out an alluring profile.

Layne Hatcher, QB

While Layne Hatcher has arguably failed to live up to the promise of his 2019 season with Arkansas State, the former Red Wolves quarterback offers Texas State an upgrade under center for the upcoming campaign.

At 5’11” and 211 pounds, Hatcher’s size may ultimately be held against him as a potential 2023 NFL Draft prospect. However, he’s showcased impressive accuracy during his career — particularly in the short and intermediate areas — and has enough mobility to manipulate the pocket and scramble for additional yardage.

Calvin Hill, RB

With 713 rushing yards last season, running back Calvin Hill is Texas State’s top returning yardage producer from last season. The diminutive fourth-year rusher might measure in on the small side (5’7″, 185 pounds), but he’s more than capable of making big plays for the Bobcats.

As a 2023 NFL Draft prospect, Hill offers speed and the ability to be elusive to create yardage. Meanwhile, he’s active in the passing game, taking pitch plays and dump-offs, and turning them into significant gains and picking up first downs with regularity.

Javen Banks, WR

While Barbee receives national attention, his wide receiver stablemate Javen Banks returns as the team’s most productive pass catcher having snagged 548 yards and five touchdowns at 15.2 yards per catch last fall.

The 6’2″, 175-pound fifth-year WR has showcased the ability to win off the line with good release and first step quickness. Banks uses his size to be combative at the catch point and displays the ball-tracking ability that allows him to make some unthinkable catches. An under-the-radar 2023 NFL Draft prospect for the Bobcats.

Dalton Cooper, OT

While boasting a slender frame at 6’6″ and 300 pounds, Dalton Cooper has established himself as one of the top offensive tackles in the Sun Belt. Can he parlay that into a selection in the 2023 NFL Draft?

The fourth-year LT has allowed just four sacks on almost 1,000 snaps over the past two seasons. As you’d expect from a man of his frame, Cooper’s an agile pass protector who is able to mirror even the most athletic pass rushers. Meanwhile, he’s more than adept at acting as a roadblock at the second level in the ground game.

Jarron Morris, CB

If Texas State is to replicate previous defensive success with this 2023 NFL Draft class, it’s likely to come in the form of Jarron Morris. The fifth-year cornerback was a huge loss for the Bobcats last fall when he ultimately suffered a season-ending injury against Baylor.

The Texas State CB is the epitome of “it’s not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog,” as he frequently overcomes his diminutive stature (5’9″, 170 pounds) to make physical plays both at the catch point and in the run game. Morris combines excellent ball tracking and football intelligence to put himself in position to make a play and boasts an impressive athletic profile honed as a multi-sport standout at West Orange Stark HS.

Kordell Rodgers, CB

A high school quarterback and the son of former NFL player Jeff Rodgers, Kordell Rodgers became an immediate fixture in the Texas State secondary in 2017. Heading into his sixth season with the Bobcats, he’s the most productive Texas State DB after tallying seven pass breakups last fall. As a 2023 NFL Draft prospect, Rodgers possesses the play recognition and closing burst to be able to jump routes and make a play on the ball.

Jordan Revels, OLB

It comes as no surprise to anyone that watched Texas State football last year that Jordan Revels has earned a spot on the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list, honoring the best defensive player in the nation. Revels put together an impressive stat line last year — 59 tackles (7.5 for loss), three sacks, and a forced fumble.

What’s more impressive as it relates to the 2023 NFL Draft is how he did it. The Texas State pass rusher played with a combination of explosion and power, while showcasing the pass-rush moves that would enable him to win at the next level. After shedding 15 pounds this offseason, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Revels emerge as an even more explosive force in the upcoming months.

Issiah Nixon, OLB

Having established himself on special teams in 2020, Issiah Nixon earned a starting role in the Texas State defense. The former high school running back repaid Spavital’s faith with a team-high four sacks. Meanwhile, he led the Sun Belt with four forced fumbles.

Likely to be considered undersized as an EDGE player in the 2023 NFL Draft at 6’0″ and 230 pounds, Nixon’s speed, play recognition, strength, and the ability to lay the boom with physicality in the open field should garner him some national attention with another impactful season.

Other potential Texas State prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft

  • Jahmyl Jeter, RB
  • Julian Ortega-Jones, WR
  • Nico Ezidore, DE
  • DeJordan Mask, CB/KR
  • Tory Spears, S
  • Kevin Anderson, S
  • London Harris, LB
  • Sione Tupou, LB

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter: @ojhodgkinson.

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