Former Big 12 Stars Who Will Shine at the 2014 NFL Combine
With the 2014 NFL scouting combine just days away, it’s almost time to see the Big 12’s biggest stars strut their stuff on the national stage.
From Feb. 22-25, some of the conferences best players will strive to improve their stock before the draft. Some will succeed and some will fail.
All in all, it’s a good opportunity to get a closer look at some of the best the Big 12 has to offer.
Join B/R as we break down six of the players who are guaranteed to shine at the combine.
CB Demetri Goodson (Baylor)
Baylor is set to lose seven starters on the defensive side of the ball in 2014.
However, none of those players will be as missed as cornerback Demetri Goodson.
In 11 games last season, the Spring, Texas, native recorded 26 tackles and intercepted three passes. But Goodson was most active in making life tough for opposing quarterbacks, breaking up 13 passes on the year.
At 6’0” and 200 pounds, Goodson has the size that could help him succeed at the next level. He also has the speed and the intangibles that make him a pesky defender.
Expect a good performance from Goodson during the combine.
RB Charles Sims (West Virginia)
West Virginia didn’t have too many positives during the 2013 season.
However, running back Charles Sims has to be one of them.
In 12 games, the Houston, Texas, native rushed for 1,095 yards and 11 touchdowns on 208 carries. That includes rushing for 90 yards or more in seven times while finding the end zone in all but four games.
But what makes Sims stand out is his ability to contribute in the passing game. He proved to be a worthy pass-catcher out of the backfield, racking up 401 yards and three touchdowns on 45 receptions.
Over four seasons in Morgantown, Sims has accumulated 3,465 yards and 40 touchdowns on 592 carries. He’s certainly not a running back to sleep on during the combine.
WR Tevin Reese (Baylor)
Tevin Reese was one of the most explosive receivers in the Big 12 last season.
In just seven games, the senior hauled in 38 passes for a whopping 867 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s good for an incredible average of 22.8 yards per catch.
As consistent as they come, Reese topped the century mark five times in 2013 and found the end zone in all but one game.
Not only is Reese a talented receiver—he has 3,102 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns over his career—but he’s also amazingly fast. Reese has been known to run a 40 time as low as 4.26.
This is one guy who will dominate during the combine.
CB Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State)
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better defensive back prospect than Justin Gilbert in this year’s class.
In 13 games, the Huntsville, Texas, native recorded 42 tackles, seven passes broken up and seven interceptions. He returned two of those picks back to the house for touchdowns.
Furthermore, Gilbert contributed in the return game, taking back 18 kicks for 453 yards and a touchdown.
At 6’0” and 200 pounds, Gilbert has the size and physicality to match up with any wide receiver he faces. But as he’s displayed over his career in Stillwater, he also has the explosiveness and speed to contribute at other facets of the game.
The future is bright for Gilbert.
WR Jalen Saunders (Oklahoma)
Jalen Saunders made plays for Oklahoma all over the field in 2013.
Whether it was catching passes, taking hand offs in the backfield or returning kicks, the Elk Grove, Calif., native was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. Saunders finished last season with 61 receptions for 729 yards and eight touchdowns, while returning 20 punts for 308 yards and two scores.
That includes a stellar performance during the Sooners thrilling upset of Alabama in last season’s Sugar Bowl, catching five passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns.
Ever since bursting on the scene as a sophomore—he recorded 1,065 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns with Fresno State—Saunders has been Oklahoma’s go-to guy in the passing game.
Whichever NFL team grabs him will be getting a gem. Expect Saunders to strike home that point during the combine.
TE Jace Amaro (Texas Tech)
After playing sparingly during his first two seasons in Lubbock, tight end Jace Amaro exploded onto the scene in 2013.
In 13 games, the San Antonio, Texas, native hauled in 106 passes for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns. That includes topping 80 yards of receiving or more nine times on the season.
A unanimous All-American last season, Amaro was certainly deserving of the honor after setting the FBS record for most receiving yards and yards per game by a tight end. For his efforts, he was also a semifinalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award—given to the top receiver in college football.
With the talent he possesses, the combine should only further establish Amaro prospects as a future NFL star.