East-West Shrine Game 2012 Roster: Ranking the 5 Most Notable Names
Although the East-West Shrine game is one of college football's most coveted bowl games for NFL scouts to view prospects, there's quite a few players who come into the game unknown.
That being said, there are some rather notable players as well who are looking to increase their 2012 draft stock.
So, if you're unfamiliar with this Saturday's game, here are five players that you'll quickly recognize.
Click the link for a full view of the 2012 East-West Shrine Game Rosters
5. Keith Tandy: CB, West Virginia
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For anyone who watched Big East football the past few seasons as well as this season's Orange Bowl, chances are West Virginia cornerback Keith Tandy has been mentioned.
He's a red-shirt senior who's been one of the most consistent defensive backs since the 2009 season and has excellent lock down coverage.
Beginning with his red-shirt sophomore campaign, Tandy has recorded a total of 182 tackles, 13 picks, 37 defended passes and 121 interception return yards for his career.
Tandy has great field awareness and is solid against the run despite being somewhat undersized. Currently an expected fifth-round pick in a defensive back-heavy draft, Tandy could move up as high as round three with a good showing here, potentially at the NFL combine and his pro day.
4. John Brantley: QB, Florida
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Most simply know him as the quarterback who took over for Tim Tebow in Florida. And unfortunately for John Brantley, that's all he'll even be known for unless he shows up big in the East-West game.
A red-shirt senior, Brantley was Florida's starting QB during Urban Meyer's final season with the Gators but had to adjust to a new head coach in Will Muschamp in 2011.
He also has some durability concerns after missing two games in 2011. Brantley also only threw for 11 TDs in 11 games played.
His most concerning performance was throwing no TDs to three picks against Florida State, so it's imperative that Brantley play smart and aggressive on Saturday. He does have a strong arm, but with inconsistency concerns he'll be lucky to be a seventh-rounder by draft time.
Yet, he's quite well known because the Gators are always a team to watch for in the SEC East every year.
3. Tank Carder: LB, TCU
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The leader of the TCU Horned Frogs defense, linebacker Tank Carder has one of the best names ever for a defensive football player.
That being said, Tank garnered a lot of exposure playing in the 2010-11 Rose Bowl and earning the game's defensive MVP award. As a red-shirt senior in 2011-12, Carder earned All-American honors but is only a projected sixth-round pick.
Lacking in size, Carder makes up for it with excellent instinct, hard hits, being a consistent sure-tackler and a better than advertised coverage linebacker.
He's one of the more complete package backers in the 2012 NFL Draft, so whoever selects him will be getting steal in the mid or late rounds. With a lot of potential, Tank is arguably the most underrated prospect this spring.
2. Jarius Wright: WR, Arkansas
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The Arkansas Razorbacks leading receiver in 2011, Jarius Wright caught 66 passes for 1,117 yards and scored 12 TDs.
A deep threat to any opposing defense, Wright can also go across the middle and get solid yards after the catch. And when needed, although rare, Wright can act as a reserve return man which adds to his dynamic.
In an explosive offense like Arkansas, Wright was the main weapon this past season and has upped his draft stock to a fourth-rounder, despite being rather unknown and undersized compared to the rest of the receivers.
With a great season under his belt, the true senior has the potential to slip into the second-round by late April. Provided that Wright has a strong display this weekend as well as at the combine, his pro day will be cake to increase draft value.
1. B.J. Cunningham: WR, Michigan State
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Definitely the most notable and quite possibly the best draft prospect in the East-West Shrine game when it's all said and done, Michigan State receiver B.J. Cunningham finished ranked No. 12 in the nation with his 1,306 receiving yards.
He got there by catching 79 passes and scoring 12 TDs, both of which also rank him inside the top 30 among hundreds of receivers through 120 FBS schools.
Cunningham has great size for a possession receiver, is strong enough to quickly get past press coverage and is a viable deep threat.
Still, he's only slated as a fifth round pick (at best) so a good display on Saturday will surely build him confidence and momentum for the combine and his pro day. Worst case-scenario is that Cunningham remains overlooked and then proves the cynics wrong during training camp.
Otherwise he has the potential to be a third-rounder along with fellow Big Ten receiver Nick Toon of Wisconsin.
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