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NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Saturday Bowl Games

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What to watch for.

NCAA Football: Hawaii at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Birmingham Bowl: Memphis v. Wake Forest, 12 PM ET, ESPN

  • Patrick Taylor Junior, Running Back, Memphis: With Darrell Henderson sitting out of the bowl, Patrick Taylor Junior has a tremendous chance to shine on a big stage. The 6’3”, 225 pound is a behemoth running back and he has had a great season in spell of Henderson. Taylor eclipsed one thousand rushing yards on less than 180 carries and has scored an impressive 15 touchdowns. Taylor is a powerful, athletic player and today could be his day to show off his NFL readiness.
  • Willie Yarbary, Defensive Tackle, Wake Forest: In order to stop Memphis’ big play running game, Wake Forest will need a big game from their senior defensive tackle. Willie Yarbary is a first-step specialist with a knack for big plays in the run game. His stats do not reflect how important to the defense he is, but today will be a good day to remind NFL teams that he is a real player.

Armed Forces Bowl: Army v. Houston, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN

  • Mike Reynolds, Cornerback, Army: Though a smaller cornerback at 5’10”, Mike Reynolds has come up big for the Black Knights during his senior year. He is a quick twitch, physical cornerback with an ability to find the ball. Team’s will be concerned with his size, but he’ll be able to show off his playmaking skills against a potent Houston offense.
  • Austin Robinson, Linebacker, Houston: With Ed Oliver not playing, Austin Robinson will be under the microscope on Houston’s defense. The 6’3”, 240 pound defender is a fantastic run defender with some pass rushing flare. Robinson’s last game against a triple option team (Navy) resulted in 21 tackles, 4.5 TFLs and 2 sacks. Robinson will finally be the star of the Houston defense for a day and it will be fun to see what he does as the centerpiece.

Dollar General Bowl: Buffalo v. Troy, 7 PM ET, ESPN

  • Anthony Johnson, Wide Receiver, Buffalo: One of the best kept secrets in college football, Anthony Johnson has been as productive as anyone in the last two years. After 14 touchdowns and over 1,300 yards last year, Johnson has 11 touchdowns through the air this year and is inching toward another thousand yard season. The 6’2”, 210 pound receiver is a fantastic route runner with dependable hands and he should put on a good show against a stingy Troy defense.
  • Cedarius Rookard, Safety, Troy: Tasked with limiting Buffalo’s big play receiver will be Cedarius Rookard. The 6’1” senior safety is a ball hawk with nine interceptions in the last three years. Rookard is athletic, cerebral and Troy will need big plays from him against a Buffalo offense that can run with anyone.

Hawai’i Bowl: Hawai’i v. Louisiana Tech, 10:30 PM ET, ESPN

  • John Ursua, Wide Receiver, Hawai’i: John Ursua was on his way to a productive 2017 before injury cut his season short. This season he came hot from hell, ranging for revenge with 89 catches, 1,343 yards and 16 touchdowns. Ursua might not look like much at 5’10”, 175 pounds, but he is a crafty and sure handed receiver. If you can stay up late for the Hawai’i Bowl , Ursua will be sure to impress.
  • Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech: Jaylon Ferguson might be the best defender you haven’t heard of it. With 42.5 career sacks in his four years, few players have been as productive as Ferguson during his time at LATech. The 6’5”, 262 pound prospect has great burst and a lot of power. It may be bold to say in such a crowded class, but Ferguson would be hyped as a first round pick in any other year. Hawai’i’s offense is extremely potent and Ferguson will be instrumental in stopping it.