In our first three game set of bowl games, now we’re in full bowl game mode. While we’ll only see one game with a currently ranked team, we get to see three great match-ups with great storylines and great prospects.
Ralph Fridgen will coach his final game against the sporadic offense of East Carolina in what should be a very emotional finish. Also, Art Briles and Robert Griffin lead the once Big 12 South leading Baylor Bears against the Fighting Zook’s and Illinois.
The finally of the day will be a chance to see two of the best offenses in the country. Justin Blackmon, Kendall Hunter, and Brandon Weeden could be playing their final game together, while Nick Foles and the Arizona Wildcats will try to keep up with the OK State Cowboys.
East Carolina Pirates vs. Maryland Terrapins – Military Bowl
Alex Wujciak, ILB, Maryland
One of the top linebackers in Maryland history and maybe the top ACC, production-wise, linebacker over the past three years, Wujciak has improved each year with his range, zone coverage ability, and blitzing ability. He’ll need to showcase those improvements with a very versatile, passing offense of ECU.
Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland
Scott impressed me last season with his tough running ability to break tackles at the second level and get up field. However, he’s dealt with minor injuries, lack of great second level blocking, and an inability to break off numerous big plays this year. He’ll need to control the ball if coach Ralph Fridgen hopes to end his Maryland career with a win.
Dwayne Harris, WR, East Carolina
Junior quarterback Dominique Davis has really helped Harris’s draft prospects by giving him numerous deep ball plays and really helping him get open with throws. Harris seems much more comfortable in deep and mid range routes, and has become a more reliable ball grabber.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Baylor Bears – Texas Bowl
Danny Watkins, OT, Baylor
An athletic tackle that has shown off his movement all season, Watkins has been huge this year in his ability to block on the move and allow quarterback Robert Griffin to both develop as a pocket passer as well as give his run game some extra support. He could play left tackle in the right system in the NFL, and could be a mid round pick because of it.
Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
Another lineman who has improved over the season, Taylor has shown that he can both absorb two blockers as well as take advantage of one on ones to get in the backfield. He isn’t a dynamic athlete and will need to improve his moves if he hopes to be a starter at the NFL level.
Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois (JR)
One of the top prospects coming out of high school, some off the field and injury issues have derailed what could have been a future 1st round pick dream. Still, Wilson’s athletic ability and movement in space means that if he declares, he could be a mid round pick who could develop in the pros. Most scouts, however, likely hope he stays for another season.
Nate Bussey, OLB, Illinois
Not as athletically gifted or consistent as Wilson has been over his career, Bussey has been a consistent threat on the outside, both with his tackle-to-sideline range and his blitzing off the edge skills improving. He’ll struggle to make the NFL, but he will be crucial in keeping Robert Griffin of Baylor in the pocket.
OklahomaState Cowboys vs. Arizona Wildcats – Alamo Bowl
Justin Blackmon, WR, OklahomaState (RS SO)
Coming into the season, Blackmon was ready to take over for Dez Bryant as the team’s new feature receiver and a receiver with a bright future. Now, however, after having one of the most productive season’s in college football history as a receiver and return man, he’s eyeing Dez Bryant as being the higher of the two when it comes to draft area. If he declares, he could be looking at the middle to latter part of the 1st round.
Nick Foles, QB, Arizona (JR)
While he’s already come out and said it’s very unlikely he’ll declare for the draft, he’d be a solid 2nd rounder if he did. Foles has become a very solid pocket passer with improved deep touch and confidence in the pocket. He does have trouble moving to his left side as well as making something out of good pass rush, both of which he’ll likely have a shot to prove wrong in this one.
Kendall Hunter, RB, OklahomaState
Hunter would have been considered to be a mid rounder last year if he declared if it wasn’t for an early season injury that kept him out much of the year, he has shown his NFL speed and quickness that could still make him a mid round pick thanks to a very productive season this year.
Colin Baxter, C, Arizona
One of the better, more consistent centers in the country and over his career, Baxter has been known to be a team leader in the locker room and has contributed to the development of Adam Grant as well as the defensive lineman for this team. He moves well on the move, but his struggles against bigger nose tackles as well as his inconsistent blocking against blitzers.
Brandon Weeden, QB, OklahomaState (JR)
Check out our article on Weeden HERE. While based on his play this year and his remaining year of eligibility, he should stay in college, things are unique for Weeden because of his age. Still, if he does declare, he could be a middle to late round pick, and should be able to utilize his weapons on offense enough, as he’s done all year, to lead his team to a victory in what could be the big three’s final game.
Adam Grant, OT, Arizona
A likely right tackle or guard at the next level, he’s very similar to a lesser version of former Arizona tackle Eben Britton, currently in the NFL. He doesn’t have great feet for pass blocking, but he can get the job done, and can run block well with good leverage. He’ll likely have to focus on the pass rush in this game that likely will be a shootout.
Ugo Chinasa, DE, OklahomaState
Quite a productive defensive end over his career, he’s been the reason over his career why many teams can’t keep up with the Cowboys and their offense. He’s a bit undersized to be a standard NFL defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, but could be a good pass rusher at the next level, and should be a good match-up against Adam Grant in getting to quarterback Nick Foles.