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Two defensive sleepers set to shine in Gasparilla Bowl

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College football prospects to watch.

Marshall v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Marshall Thundering Herd and the USF Bulls are set to face off tonight at 8 PM on ESPN. The two young football teams were able to fight their way to eight and seven win seasons, respectively. Despite their overall youth, the team’s don’t lack talent worth draft interest, and that interest comes on the defensive side of the bell.

USF senior linebacker, Josh Black is one of the Bulls’ premier players and leaders. The 6’2”, 255 pound pass rusher is a do-it-all defender down in south Florida. He is an adept pass rusher with great physicality and ability to play the run. Black doesn’t have jaw-dropping numbers, but his play should warrant some NFL attention.

Marshall has even less senior talent than USF, but one underclassmen warrants serious NFL consideration. Cornerback, Chris Jackson has four interceptions and 25 pass break ups over the last two years. He is a very cerebral corner who finds the ball on a regular basis. The six foot corner has an NFL frame but could stand to add more weight. He is not overly physical, which could have something to do with his lack of build. Jackson is a cover corner to his core, and his instincts will be sought after by NFL teams. Of course the question comes down to whether or not Jackson wants to enter the NFL as a relatively under the radar underclassmen, but his play over the last two years definitely deserves some recognition.