The 2014 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl offers draft-eligible seniors a chance to impress NFL scouts, and the college football All-Star game features a some names most fans will likely recognize.
Founded by the National Football League Players Association in 2012, this year's contest kicks off on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 6 p.m. ET at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., where the weather is almost always spectacular.
Former Super Bowl winner with the St. Louis Rams Dick Vermeil will coach the National team for the third straight year, while former NFL head coach Dennis Green will take his first stab at commanding the American team.
Here's a look at both rosters, followed by a closer examination of the top NFL prospects set to play in the All-Star game.
|40||Chad||Young||FB||San Diego State|
|90||Jimmy||Staten||DL||Middle Tennessee State|
|26||Brandon||Dixon||DB||NW Missouri State|
|29||Brian||Dixon||DB||NW Missouri State|
|37||Sammy||Seamster||DB||Middle Tennessee State|
|46||Ray (Jr.)||Agnew||FB||Southern Illinois|
|21||Martin (Jr.)||Bayless||WR||Central Methodist|
|10||Dustin||Vaughan||QB||West Texas A&M|
|81||Asa||Watson||TE||North Carolina State|
|16||Albert (II)||Wilson||WR||Georgia State|
|41||Kavon "Mark"||Joyce||DB||Southern Florida|
|31||T.J. (III)||Lee||DB||Eastern Washington|
Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Connor Shaw had a stellar career at South Carolina, but it remains to be seen if he has a future in the NFL. He put together his finest campaign as a senior, passing for 2,447 yards with 24 touchdowns and one interception while running for 558 yards and six scores.
While Shaw's passing numbers don't jump out, his ability to manage the game does. He was efficient all year long, making big play after big play when his team needed him the most while taking care of the football.
Therefore, it's not surprising that he's running the first-team offense during practice, as ESPN's Matt Barrie pointed out on Jan. 14:
Nobody should expect Shaw to come off the board early when the 2014 NFL draft kicks off in May, however. While he's been terrific in college, it appears he may have already hit his ceiling. That said, Shaw could be selected in the middle rounds, and he has a chance to become a solid backup at the next level.
Kenny Guiton, QB, Ohio State
Anyone who watched Kenny Guiton shred opposing secondaries for Ohio State while Braxton Miller was hurt this past season will tell you he's an intriguing prospect.
Completing 68.8 percent of his passes for 749 yards with 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions, he led the Big Ten in passer efficiency, as noted by Marcus Hartman of Fox Sports Ohio:
Just noticed this but Kenny Guiton finished as Big Ten passing efficiency leader for 2013. Braxton Miller No. 3— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) January 10, 2014
After making the decision to play in this upcoming All-Star game and take his talents to the pros, Guiton talked about his goals, via Doug Lesmerises of the Northeast Ohio Media Group via Cleveland.com:
I'm going to try to see what I can do, see if I can get a chance to play at the next level. I've got to take advantage of opportunities, so I have to go out there and show what I can do against some top level competition.
If Guiton can impress scouts this week in practice and then show up big in the game, then he'll certainly gain some valuable momentum heading into the combine.
Jeremiah George, LB, Iowa State
Iowa State inside linebacker Jeremiah George came on strong in his senior season for the Cyclones, racking up 133 total tackles (83 solo), 12 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
He's going to be all over the field when these two teams kick things off on Jan. 18.
Unfortunately for George, he's a bit undersized, as Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com details. Rang also notes his instincts and quickness, though, which could make up for that lack of size:
Nice open field tackle by Iowa St's Jeremiah George. B12's leading tackler. Undersized- 5-11/219- but surprisingly stout. Quick, instinctive— Rob Rang (@RobRang) October 26, 2013
It will be interesting to see how George performs when he's engaged by some of the big boys up front in the running game. If he can shed those blocks and make plays, along with showing up well in coverage, then there's a chance he could be picked up in the latter rounds of the 2014 NFL draft.
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