Bowl Projections 2012: Players Whose Draft Stock Will Rise in National Spotlight

Michael MillSenior Analyst IIIDecember 30, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03:  Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs the ball in the fourth quarter against the Michigan State Spartans during the Big 10 Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

We've already had many exciting Bowl Games in the 2012 season that have gone unnoticed by much of the nation.

Now, one day away from New Year's Eve, we are starting to get to the games that will garner much more attention from media and fans across the country.

In these games are many seniors that will be playing their last games in college football.

Some will go on to be businessmen and journalists. Others will try their luck in the 2012 NFL draft.

For some, their performance this weekend could have a huge impact on the possibility for success at the professional football level.

With the national spotlight on them, these three players will step up to the challenge and greatly improve their draft stock.


RB Montee Ball (Wisconsin Badgers)

Montee Ball just finished off one of the greatest seasons ever for a running back in college football.

There are many, including myself, who feel he was unfairly overlooked in the Heisman voting.

We are talking about a running back who managed 1,759 rushing yards and 38 total touchdowns this season. Both marks are the best in the nation.

Despite this, many sites, like CBSSports, rank Trent Richardson, Lamar Miller, David Wilson, Chris Polk and Doug Martin all higher than Ball as a potential NFL pick.

We are talking about a player who has scored at least two touchdowns in every single game this season.

The knock on him may be his size and speed, but it's not enough for him to drop that far.

He'll show everybody in the Rose Bowl why he deserves to be one of the top three running backs mentioned in this class.


QB Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M Aggies)

If Texas A&M had a bit of a better defense, it's likely the Aggies would have had the opportunity to play a much better team than Northwestern in their bowl game.

However, it may work out to benefit quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Currently, Tannehill is discussed as an early to mid-second-round pick by most experts.

With a big game against the Wildcats, he could get enough attention for some to mention him as a possible late first-round selection.

The Northwestern secondary is anything but great. Tannehill should have the opportunity for a big day.

If he shows up and puts up some gaudy numbers, it could get the attention of teams like Denver, Baltimore or even the New York Jets, who may be considering a quarterback.


QB Russell Wilson (Wisconsin Badgers)

Running back Montee Ball isn't the only player on the Wisconsin Badgers team that has been overlooked all season.

North Carolina State transfer Russell Wilson has also been overlooked by most people across the country.

Wilson has had an unbelievable year, posting a nation-high 191.6 quarterback rating. He has thrown for 2,879 yards along with 31 touchdowns to just three interceptions.

No matter what Wilson does in the Rose Bowl, he still isn't going to get too much respect.

Physically, he doesn't fit the mold of an NFL quarterback. He stands just under six feet tall and weighs a little over 200 pounds.

A fantastic performance could boost him into a second-round spot instead of the third.

Then he can become the next Drew Brees and prove everybody wrong.