Zach's Draft Corner: Heisman Fallout/Bowl Game Week 1 Preview

December 20, 2019

 

    Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports

  

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Zach’s Draft Corner, where it’s always amateur hour.

 

 

As everyone expected, Joe Burrow won the 2019 Heisman Trophy.  Once the finalists were announced, the odds were as low as negative-50000 that Burrow would be taking home the big trophy.  These odds were reflected in the voting, where Joe Burrow broke multiple records.  He received the highest percentage of first place votes ever (90.7 percent), the highest percentage of possible points (93.8 percent), and the highest percentage of ballots that included his name (95.5 percent).  What should be most surprising is that 4.5 percent of the voters did not even include Burrow in their top-three, meaning that there are 4.5 percent of voters who either need to lose their vote or are such big Alabama homers that they refuse to vote for a player from LSU.

 

Now what?  There are a few trends in recent history that we can glean from how the voting shook out.  If these trends hold true, then the following should all happen.

 

Joe Burrow Will be a Top Two Pick

Since 2010, of the eight quarterbacks who have won the award, six were taken with the first or second overall pick.  The only exceptions were Johnny Manziel and Lamar Jackson, who both were still first-round draft picks.  With the merging of ideas from the college game to the pros, the days of a quarterback winning the Heisman and getting taken in the fifth round, à la Troy Smith, are over.

 

LSU Will Not Win the National Championship

Since 1998, only five of the twenty-one Heisman winners also held up the National Championship at the end of the season.  Of those five, two were running backs, meaning that only three of the sixteen Heisman winning quarterbacks also won the National Championship.  The odds are not in Burrow's favor.

 

Clemson Will

In that same span, since 1998, only eleven of the twenty-one National Champions had a player in the top three of the Heisman voting.  The breakdown is that five Champions had the Heisman, three Champions had the runner-up, three Champions had the third place vote getter, and ten Champions didn't have a top-three finisher at all.  The odds are in Clemson's favor.

 

Justin Fields Will Win the Heisman Trophy in 2020

It is rare that an underclassman is a Heisman finalist, meaning there is a small sample of players who were a Heisman finalist and then returned to school.  However, as recently as 2016 into 2017, we have seen players finish third place in the voting only to jump up and win the trophy the following year when Baker Mayfield accomplished the same thing.  He's not the only one, either.  Doc Blanchard (1944-45), John Lujack (1946-47), Doak Walker (1947-48), Howard Cassady (1954-55), Billy Cannon (1958-59), Doug Flutie (1983-84), and Danny Wuerffel (1995-96) have done the same thing.  This may not seem like enough to be a trend, but when you consider the rarity of a player returning to school after being a Heisman finalist, it is actually much more likely.  At worst, Fields is the favorite going into 2020.

 

TV Guide

The sheer amount of college games on at any given time can be completely overwhelming.  Every week, in the TV Guide section of my column, I will choose the top two games at any given time slot and outline the various prospects you can watch in those games.  That way, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and hit the “Previous Channel” button on your remote to toggle between games chock full of pro prospects.  Here is your guide for the first week of bowl games (all times Eastern, playoff rankings in parentheses).

 

As a reminder, we have a new format for the TV Guide this season.  I’m going to list all of the draft eligible players that will impact the games themselves, meaning the lists will be pretty long.  Then, I'll summarize each team by showing the players seriously in contention to be drafted at this point in time.  However, it's important to know that one exceptional season can cause an impactful player to become a draftable player, so these names are still good to monitor.

 

Friday, December 20

 

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl in Nassau, Bahamas - University of Buffalo vs. University of Charlotte, 2 PM, ESPN

 

Buffalo

Kayode Awosika, Junior Tackle, #73

Evin Ksiezarczyk, Senior Tackle, #67

 

There’s a theme you’ll notice in a lot of the early bowl games:  they don’t have the most talent.  But hey, it’s football, so go watch a guy named Kayode play for Buffalo in the Bahamas.

 

Charlotte

Benny LeMay, Senior Running Back, #32

Cameron Clark, Senior Tackle, #71

Alex Highsmith, Senior Defensive End, #5

Tyriq Harris, Senior Defensive End, #10

Jeff Gemmell, Senior Linebacker, #34

Ben DeLuca, Senior Safety, #28

 

Highsmith is the best prospect in this game, but he’ll likely only catch a camp as an undrafted free agent.  LeMay might as well, but he has a bit more of an uphill climb.

 

Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl in Frisco, Texas - Utah State University vs. Kent State University, 7:30 PM, ESPN2

 

Utah State

Jordan Love, Junior Quarterback, #10

Gerold Bright, Senior Running Back, #1

Caden Anderson, Junior Defensive Tackle, #94

Tipa Galeai, Senior Defensive End-Outside Linebacker, #10

David Woodward, Junior Linebacker, #9

D.J. Williams, Senior Cornerback, #7

 

This game will give you your final opportunity to check out Jordan Love before the Senior Bowl. He has been as inconsistent as any top quarterback in this class, but a national stage can really open some eyes.  Ultimately, Woodward and Tipa might actually turn out to be the better pros, but they are going through the process with a lot less hype.

 

Kent State

Antwan Dixon, Senior Wide Receiver, #10

Mike Carrigan, Senior Wide Receiver, #11

Bryce Gibbs, Senior Guard, #64

Nate Warnock, Senior Center, #54

Matt Bahr, Senior Linebacker, #6

Jamal Parker, Senior Cornerback, #7

 

Nothing like a school named after some random dude to know you’re scraping the mediocre part of the barrel.  Kent State has an explosive offense, but nobody good enough to get drafted.

 

Saturday, December 21

 

Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia - Alcorn State University vs. North Carolina A&T University, 12:00 PM, ABC

 

Alcorn State

De'Shawn Waller, Senior Running Back, #3

 

Steve McNair is no longer wearing an Alcorn State jersey, so there is nobody to watch here.

 

North Carolina A&T

Elijah Bell, Senior Wide Receiver, #13

Marcus Pettiford, Senior Guard, #73

 

Nobody on this side of the ball either.  It’s almost like the NCAA and the NFL didn’t want big games going against one another…

 

New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, New Mexico - Central Michigan University vs. San Diego State University, 2:00 PM, ESPN

 

Central Michigan

Qunten Dormady, Senior Quarterback, #12

Jonathan Ward, Senior Running Back, #5

Clay Walderzak, Senior Tackle, #78

Steve Eipper, Senior Center, #60

Sean Adesanya, Senior Linebacker, #2

Devonni Reed, Redshirt Sophomore Safety, #5

 

Reed is the best prospect to keep an eye on here, but he absolutely should return to school to keep improving his game.

 

San Diego State

Juwan Washington, Senior Running Back, #29

Chase Jasmin, Junior Running Back, #22

Parker Houston, Senior Tight End, #82

Daishawn Dixon, Senior Guard, #79

Keith Ismael, Junior Center, #60

Kyahva Tezino, Senior Linebacker, #44

Tariq Thompson, Junior Safety, #14

 

There’s really only one player to watch here, and that’s Kyahva Tezino.  He doesn’t have great athleticism, which may limit his ceiling as a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker, but he is an incredibly smart player.  Those types of players can always find a home somewhere.

 

FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida - Liberty University vs. Georgia Southern University, 2:30 PM, CBS Sports Network

 

Liberty

Buckshot Calvert, Senior Quarterback, #12

Frankie Hickson, Senior Running Back, #23

Josh Mack, Junior Running Back, #34

Antonio Gandy-Golden, Senior Wide Receiver, #11

Dontae Duff, Senior Guard, #56

Jesse Lemonier, Senior Defensive End, #11

Solomon Ajayi, Senior Linebacker, #14

Bejour Wilson, Senior Cornerback, #20

Elijah Benton, Senior Safety, #31

 

The most interesting prospect of maybe the entire day is Gandy-Golden, the big, fast receiver who has torn up bad competition.  Some prospects might get by on name (Lemonier is the brother of 49er legend Corey, and Ajayi is the brother of Jay), and some are interesting because of their names (I mean, come on, Buckshot Calvert!?).  Gandy-Golden is the one to watch, though.

 

Georgia Southern

Raymond Johnson, Junior Defensive End, #92

Kindle Vildor, Senior Cornerback, #20

Monquavion Brinson, Senior Cornerback, #4

Donald Rutledge, Jr., Senior Safety, #24

 

It is tough to get a read on Vildor, but I think he is more likely to be a Day 3 or undrafted guy rather than a highly touted prospect.  Maybe I should turn up the brightness?  This joke has been brought to you by our Amazon Overlords.

 

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Florida - Southern Methodist University vs. Florida Atlantic University, 3:30 PM, ABC

 

SMU

Shane Buechele, Junior Quarterback, #7

Ke'Mon Freeman, Senior Running Back, #2

Xavier Jones, Senior Running Back, #5

Reggie Roberson, Junior Wide Receiver, #8

James Proche, Senior Wide Receiver, #3

Delontae Scott, Senior Defensive End, #35

Richard Moore, Senior Linebacker, #14

Rodney Clemons, Senior Safety, #23

Patrick Nelson, Senior Safety, #2

 

This is such a fun pair of receivers.  Roberson and Proche have dominated the competition, and they will look to do the same thing to Lane Kiffin in his last game at FAU.  Roberson dominates the outside, while Proche is an elite slot weapon.

 

Florida Atlantic

B.J. Emmons, Senior Running Back, #4

Harrison Bryant, Senior Tight End, #40

Brandon Walton, Senior Tackle, #73

 

Lane Kiffin will be the new coach at Ole Miss here soon, and I can’t wait to see him back in the SEC.  He will stay on to coach this final game, but he’s leaving the cupboards pretty bare.  Bryant is the best bet to be drafted as of now.

 

Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama - Florida International University vs. Arkansas State University, 5:30 PM, ESPN

 

FIU

James Morgan, Senior Quarterback, #12

Austin Maloney, Senior Wide Receiver, #15

J.J. Holloman, Junior Wide Receiver, #4

Maurice Alexander, Senior Wide Receiver, #1

D'Antne Demery, Junior Tackle, #77

Teair Tart, Senior Defensive Tackle, #93

Sage Lewis, Senior Linebacker, #3

Tyson Maeva, Senior Linebacker, #58

Stantley Thomas-Oliver, Senior Cornerback, #21

Olin Cushion III, Senior Safety, #10

 

We haven’t seen much of the Owls on the TV Guide this season, but they do have a couple of players who will be really interesting to watch.  Morgan is a dark horse to become this year’s Kyle Lauletta as the guy every scout picks as his dark horse to be a great NFL quarterback.  He has a good receiver, too, in Holloman.

 

Arkansas State

Kirk Merritt, Senior Wide Receiver, #13

Dahu Green, Senior Wide Receiver, #4

Omar Bayless, Senior Wide Receiver, #7

Forrest Merrill, Senior Defensive Tackle, #92

Kevin Thurmon, Senior Defensive Tackle, #15

William Bradley-King, Junior Defensive End, #50

Darreon Jackson, Senior Safety, #34

B.J. Edmonds, Senior Safety, #3

 

While Arkansas State has a surprising amount of players that can impact a given game, Bradley-King is really the only draftable prospect at this point in time. 

 

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl in Las Vegas, Nevada - (19) Boise State University  vs. University of Washington, 7:30 PM, ABC

 

Boise State

John Hightower, Senior Wide Receiver, #16

CT Thomas, Junior Wide Receiver, #6

Ezra Cleveland, Junior Tackle, #76

Eric Quevedo, Senior Guard, #79

John Molchon, Senior Guard, #77

Garrett Larson, Senior Center, #67

David Moa, Senior Defensive Tackle, #55

Curtis Weaver, Junior Defensive End, #99

Kekoa Nawahine, Senior Safety, #10

 

Sometimes, everything just lines up perfectly.  Chris Peterson, the former coach of the Broncos, gets to square off against his old team to finish off what has been a great career.  The star of the Broncos is Curtis Weaver, who is sneaking into the end of the first round just as quickly as he sneaks into the backfield with a strong junior season.  Cleveland is also a Day 2 prospect at tackle.  Elsewhere, Hightower, Moa, and Nawahine are also draftable talents.

 

Washington

Jacob Eason, Junior Quarterback, #10

Salvon Ahmed, Junior Running Back, #26

Aaron Fuller, Senior Wide Receiver, #2

Andre Baccellia, Senior Wide Receiver, #5

Quinten Pounds, Senior Wide Receiver, #21

Hunter Bryant, Junior Tight End, #1

Cade Otton, Redshirt Sophomore Tight End, #21

Trey Adams, Senior Tackle, #72

Henry Roberts, Senior Guard, #59

Henry Bainivalu, Redshirt Sophomore Guard, #66

Nick Harris, Senior Center, #56

Levi Onwuzurike, Junior Defensive Tackle, #95

Josiah Bronson, Senior Defensive Tackle, #90

Benning Potoa'e, Senior Defensive End, #8

Ryan Bowman, Junior Linebacker, #55

Myles Bryant, Senior Cornerback, #5

Elijah Molden, Junior Cornerback, #3

Keith Taylor, Junior Cornerback, #27

Brandon McKinney, Junior Safety, #23

 

Adams and Bryant are sitting out, which is a shame, albeit an understandable one.  Eason is the main draw here to see if he can solidify a first round position.  Otton, and Harris are still good prospects on this offensive line, even without Adams.  They open plenty of holes for Ahmed. On defense, Onwuzurike and Molden are the top prospects, though the rest of the secondary is starting to improve.

 

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana - (20) Appalachian State University  vs. University of Alabama-Birmingham, 9:00 PM, ESPN

 

App State

Zac Thomas, Junior Quarterback, #12

Marcus Williams, Junior Running Back, #26

Darrynton Evans, Junior Running Back, #3

Jalen Virgil, Junior Wide Receiver, #11

Keishawn Watson, Senior Wide Receiver, #13

Corey Sutton, Junior Wide Receiver, #2

Collin Reed, Senior Tight End, #87

Victor Johnson, Senior Tackle, #75

Jordan Fehr, Senior Linebacker, #59

Akeem Davis-Gaither, Senior Linebacker, #24

Noel Cook, Senior Linebacker, #20

Josh Thomas, Senior Safety, #7

Desmond Franklin, Senior Safety, #6

 

Appalachian State has been impressive ever since they received the bump from FCS to FBS in 2014.  While they may be at the top of their new conference, they still only have one prospect to consider:  Akeem Davis-Gaither, a Day 3/undrafted linebacker.

 

UAB

Spencer Brown, Junior Running Back, #4

Garrett Marino, Senior Defensive Tackle, #1

Fitzgerald Mofor, Senior Linebacker, #52

 

I love the Dragons unique logo and color scheme, but I don’t love their prospects.  Well, the lack thereof.

 

Monday, December 23

 

Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa, Florida - University of Central Florida vs. Marshall University, 2:30 PM, ESPN

 

UCF

Brandon Wimbush, Senior Quarterback, #3

Greg McRae, Junior Running Back, #30

Adrian Killins, Senior Running Back, #9

Marlon Williams, Junior Wide Receiver, #6

Tre Nixon, Junior Wide Receiver, #16

Gabriel Davis, Junior Wide Receiver, #13

Trevor Elbert, Senior Tackle, #79

Josh McMullen, Senior Tackle, #60

Jake Brown, Senior Tackle, #77

Cole Schneider, Redshirt Sophomore Guard, #65

Jordan Johnson, Senior Center, #72

Brendon Hayes, Senior Defensive Tackle, #6

Malik Barrow, Junior Defensive Tackle, #95

Nate Evans, Senior Linebacker, #44

Nevelle Clarke, Senior Cornerback, #14

Brandon Moore, Junior Cornerback, #20

Richie Grant, Junior Safety, #27

Jordan Hayes, Senior Safety, #11

Antwan Collier, Junior Safety, #3

 

Davis has been a huge surprise for UCF this year, including a very impressive showing against the Stanford stud Paulson Adebo at the beginning of the season.  Schneider continues to look strong along the offensive line, and Grant and Collier have limited the amount of big plays on defense. UCF may not be the undefeated next-five juggernaut they’ve been the past couple of seasons, but they still have talent.

 

Marshall

Tyler King, Junior Running Back, #3

Obi Obialo, Junior Wide Receiver, #7

Levi Brown, Senior Center, #61

Channing Hames, Senior Defensive Tackle, #94

Chris Jackson, Senior Cornerback, #3

 

I wouldn’t be surprised if Marshall did not have a player drafted this year.  King and Brown have the best chance, but they are late round picks at best.

 

Tuesday, December 24

 

SoFi Hawai'i Bowl in Honolulu, Hawai'i - University of Hawai'i vs. Brigham Young University, 8:00 PM, ESPN

 

Hawai'i

Cole McDonald, Quarterback, Junior, #13

Dayton Furuta, Running Back, Senior, #7

JoJo Ward, Wide Receiver, Senior, #9

Cedric Byrd II, Wide Receiver, Senior, #6

J.R. Hensley, Guard, Senior, #57

Samiuela Akoteu, Defensive Tackle, Senior, #91

Kaimana Padello, Defensive End, Senior, #34

Soloman Matautia, Linebacker, Senior, #27

Rojesterman Farris II, Cornerback, Senior, #4

Kalen Hicks, Safety, Senior, #3

Ikem Okeke, Safety, Senior, #22

 

The clock has all but struck midnight on the quarterback Cinderella in Cole McDonald, but there’s still hope.  His wide receivers, Ward and Byrd, are also decently strong prospects in their own right, with Byrd being a perfect fit in the slot for modern offenses. 

 

BYU

Ty'Son Williams, Senior Running Back, #5

Aleva Hifo, Senior Wide Receiver, #15

Matt Bushman, Junior Tight End, #89

Thomas Shoaf, Senior Tackle, #59

Tristan Hoge, Senior Guard, #69

Zayne Anderson, Senior Linebacker, #23

Dayan Ghanwoloku, Senior Cornerback, #5

Troy Warner, Senior Cornerback, #1

Austin Lee, Senior Safety, #2

 

Bushman was the top receiving tight end last season, but has seemingly regressed a little this season.  Williams is another Day 3 linebacker.  The most interesting player may be Troy Warner, but only because he is the younger brother of 49er star Fred.  He’s not as talented, unfortunately.

 

Thursday, December 26

 

Walk-On's Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana - Louisiana Tech University vs. University of Miami, 4:00 PM, ESPN

 

Louisiana Tech

J'Mar Smith, Senior Quarterback, #8

Jaqwis Dancy, Senior Running Back, #23

Malik Stanley, Senior Wide Receiver, #15

Gewhite Stallworth, Senior Tackle, #77

Ethan Reed, Senior Guard, #61

L'Jarius Sneed, Senior Cornerback, #1

Amik Robertson, Junior Cornerback, #21

Darryl Lewis, Senior Safety, #4

James Jackson, Senior Safety, #10

 

Another bowl game, another team with nobody important to watch.

 

Miami

Tate Martell, Quarterback, Redshirt Sophomore, #18

DeeJay Dallas, Running Back, Junior, #13

Jeff Thomas, Wide Receiver, Junior, #4

K.J. Osborn, Wide Receiver, Senior, #2

Michael Irvin II, Tight End, Junior, #87

Navaughn Donaldson, Guard, Junior, #55

Jonathon Ford, Defensive Tackle, Senior, #96

Pat Bethel, Defensive Tackle, Senior, #93

Trevon Hill, Defensive End, Senior, #94

Jonathan Garvin, Defensive End, Junior, #97

Jaelan Phillips, Defensive End, Redshirt Sophomore, #95

Shaquille Quarterman, Linebacker, Senior, #55

Michael Pinckney, Linebacker, Senior, #56

Zach McCloud, Linebacker, Senior, #53

Trajan Bandy, Cornerback, Junior, #2

Robert Knowles, Safety, Senior, #20

Romeo Finley, Safety, Senior, #30

 

Trevon Hill and Jonathan Garvin are sitting this one out, which is surprising given the lack of attention they are receiving.  For the players playing, the names to know here are DeeJay Dallas, Shaquille Quarterman, and Michael Pinckney.  Dallas, Quarterman, and Pinckney are all likely mid-round picks, as Miami has some good depth but lacks the top-end talent we are used to seeing in the Hurricanes.  Tate Martell was a highly touted transfer from Ohio State, but he lost the battle for the starting job at Miami to N’Kosi Perry.  However, there’s a chance we see Martell in this one, so keep an eye out.

 

Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, Michigan - University of Pittsburgh vs. Eastern Michigan University, 8:00 PM, ESPN

 

Pitt

Kenny Pickett, Junior Quarterback, #8

Taysir Mack, Junior Wide Receiver, #11

Maurice Ffrench, Senior Wide Receiver, #2

Nolan Ulizio, Senior Tackle, #70

Jalen Twyman, Redshirt Sophomore Defensive Tackle, #97

Saleem Brightwell, Senior Linebacker, #9

Kylan Johnson, Senior Linebacker, #28

Dane Jackson, Senior Cornerback, #11

Jason Pinnock, Junior Cornerback, #15

Damar Hamlin, Senior Safety, #3

 

Ffrench (not misspelled, and yes, it looks really odd on a jersey) is a big play waiting to happen, and is the best player on the Pitt offense.  On defense, Jackson and Hamlin will get themselves drafted out of this Panther secondary, and Twyman is getting there.  Being a redshirt sophomore, Twyman might do well to return to school.

 

Eastern Michigan

Mike Glass, Senior Quarterback, #9

Arthur Jackson, Senior Wide Receiver, #89

Sidy Sow, Redshirt Sophomore Tackle, #62

Steve Nielsen, Senior Tackle, #74

Kevin McGill, Senior Cornerback, #4

Vince Calhoun, Senior Safety, #3

Brody Hoying, Senior Safety, #24

 

The matchup between Ffrench and McGill, the only draftworthy talent on this squad, might be the one-on-one matchup of the week.  Sow has potential, but should really utilize at least one of his two remaining years of eligibility

 

 

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