The first Saturday of bowl season features six games with a handful of underrated squads from around the country. Just because some of these low ranking or mid-major schools lack name recognition doesn’t mean the team lacks talent. Here is the most intriguing 2020 NFL Draft prospect for each team playing today.
New Mexico Bowl, 2 PM ET on ESPN
Sean Adesanya, EDGE, Central Michigan: The Chippewas’ senior pass rusher is pacing their team in sacks. He has a high motor and excellent snap anticipation. In what should be a more defensive game, expect Adesanya to be a factor.
Luq Barcoo, Cornerback, San Diego State: In his first year staring, Luq Barcoo became one of the premier ballhawks in the country. The 6’1” former JUCO wide receiver is second in the country with eight interceptions and has also knocked away 16 passes. The talented cover corner is also a factor against the run. He is a well-rounded defender who could put on a show on national television.
Cure Bowl, 2:30 PM ET on CBSSN
Antonio Gandy-Golden, Wide Receiver, Liberty: Antonio Gandy Golden has been one of the most consistent producers in college football. He is on his third straight thousand yard season but has massively upticked his efficiency, averaging over 18 yards a catch this year. Liberty has a chance to be among the few teams ever to win a bowl game in their first year of eligibility. The new FBS program will have those hopes riding on the talents of their 6’4”, 220 pound playmaking pass catcher.
Monquavion Brinson, Cornerback, Georgia Southern: The GSU defense has struggled to stop the pass this season despite having talented senior cornerback Monquavion Brinson. The 5’11” defender is a pure cover corner who will need to bring his A-Game today against a potent Liberty passing game.
Boca Raton Bowl, 3:30 PM ET on ABC
Patrick Nelson, Safety, SMU: While SMU has quite a few draft prospects, Patrick Nelson is the most intriguing in this bowl game. The senior safety has 10 sacks this year and 17 tackles for a loss. You read that right. 10 sacks and 17 TFLs for a six foot, 217 pound safety. Nelson plays all over the SMU defense from linebacker to nickel cornerback to single high safety. He is an athletic, hard hitting player who can be deployed in a multitude of ways. He should go out on a bang against FAU.
Harrison Bryant, Tight End, FAU: Dealing with Patrick Nelson will most likely be FAU’s talented tight end, Harrison Bryant. The senior pass catcher has gone over the 1,000 yard mark this year, a serious achievement for a tight end. He is an athletic mismatch machine and he’ll get a lot of looks in a game that’s bound to have a lot of fireworks.
Camellia Bowl, 5:30 PM ET on ESPN
Teair Tart, Interior Defensive Lineman, FIU: Teair Tart had an unorthodox and tumultuous path to football and yet he has become a fixture on the FIU defense. The Philadelphia native is a fantastic run defender and causes problems for opposing offenses on every down. It took a long way to get to Tart’s final college game and I expect him to put on quite a performance.
Omar Bayless, Wide Receiver, Arkansas State: After never eclipsing 600 receiving yards through his first three seasons, Omar Bayless exploded in his senior year for over 1,400 receiving yards and sixteen touchdowns. The 6’3” receiver is a red zone nightmare who uses his size and determination to outmuscle defenders consistently. Keep an eye on him today.
Las Vegas Bowl, 7:30 PM ET on ABC
Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State: The first ranked team to play this bowl season features one of the highest impact defenders in college football. Curtis Weaver has been a ferocious and productive pass rusher since his freshman year and he will turn up the heat against Washington in his last game before he likely heads to the NFL.
Elijah Molden, Cornerback, Washington: Elijah Molden is a scrappy defensive leader on the Washington defense. He is a tough pass defender, willing and high impact run defender and an all around fun player to watch. It is up in the air whether he’d make the jump to the NFL after his junior season, but maybe a huge bowl performance swings him towards the NFL.
New Orleans Bowl, 9 PM ET on ESPN
Shaun Jolly, Cornerback, Appalachian State: It’s rare that a redshirt sophomore from a small school would make an NFL jump. However, Shaun Jolly could go pro after being the top defensive playmaker on a ranked App State team. The athletic cornerback had five picks this year and ballhawks are always in high demand. It is unlikely, but he is definitely a player to watch when the Mountaineer defense takes the field.
Austin Watkins Junior, Wide Receiver, UAB: Austin Watkins Junior had a breakout season for the blazers. Watkins, cousin of Kansas City Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins, has averaged almost 20 yards a catch this season. The highly athletic junior might not make the jump due to only having a single productive season under his belt, but intrigue will be high considering talent and family connection to the league.