Another day of Bowl Season! Despite some players sitting out and getting an early start on NFL Draft preparation, there is still plenty of future pro-talent out on every field. Here are some names to watch. All listed times are EST.
Camellia Bowl, 12 PM on ESPN
Marcus Fuqua, Safety, Buffalo: Marcus Fuqua’s seven interceptions are enough to lead the country this year. The junior safety is a smart and rangy player whose playmaking has been integral to Buffalo’s defense this year. Fuqua and the Bulls take on a Georgia Southern team today that is unafraid to air the ball out. Fuqua could have some shots at more big plays to pad his stat sheet.
First Responder Bowl, 3:15 PM on ESPN
Xavier Cullens, Linebacker, Memphis: Xavier Culls is a unique defender who might not have great size at the linebacker position, but a combination of speed, tenacity and instincts make him a playmaker. Cullens is an adept coverage defender who can also blitz and attack the run. Utah State loves to run the football so Cullens will be on display for four quarters.
Calvin Tyler Jr, Running Back, Utah State: Calvin Tyler had a breakout season with the Aggies this season. The 5’8”, 210 pound running back saw the bulk of carries and proved himself as a punishing and consistent runner. He may not be the fastest, but his combination of vision and hard running style makes him a great option in the backfield.
Hunter Reynolds, Safety, Utah State: The Aggies have a handful of solid defenders in their secondary, but Hunter Reynolds stands out as the most NFL ready. At six foot and 200 pounds, the Michigan transfer has the size and speed of an NFL safety. Factor in physicality and instincts and he is an exciting player in that defensive backfield. He is worth a watch.
Birmingham Bowl, 6:45 PM on ESPN
Jerrod Clark, Defensive Tackle, CCU: Coastal Carolina has had defensive lineman drafted in each of the last two drafts. That is a serious feat for such a small program and a testament to the kind of coaching they have down there. Jerrod Clark could be the player to follow in the footsteps of Tarron Jackson and Jeffrey Gunter. Clark is a stout nose tackle with NFL strength and surprising twitchiness for a man of his stature. Eastern Carolina fields a balanced and explosive offense, so Clark will need to dominate passing and rushing plays.
Lance Boykin, Cornerback, CCU: Lance Boykin is an intriguing defender in the CCU secondary. He has great size and NFL athleticism, flashing impressive ball skills at times. He is a bit inconsistent, but NFL teams will take notice of his talents. Boykin will have his hands full with ECU’s pass catchers today but it will be a great showcase for his upside.
Isaiah Winstead, Wide Receiver, ECU: Isaiah Winstead is one half of ECU’s talented wide receiver duo. Winstead has a great frame at 6’4” and over 210 pounds, with soft hands to help him reel in all sorts of passes. ECU is smart to run their passing offense through such a dependable pass catcher.
CJ Johnson, Wide Receiver, ECU: While Winstead is the steady chains-mover, CJ Johnson is a bit more of a big play threat. Johnson has a unique build at 6’2” and over 220 pounds, looking more like a linebacker than a receiver. He is muscled up with great speed, making him a danger after the catch. Johnson is a less polished player than his running mate, but is an exciting prospect.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl, 10:45 PM on ESPN
Jason Taylor II, Safety, Oklahoma State: Today, the two biggest programs facing off are definitely Wisconsin and Oklahoma State in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. Even with lots of NFL talent in the transfer portal or sitting out to prepare for the draft, there are some really exciting players to watch. Jason Taylor II is one of the best defensive backs in the country, a legit playmaker in the Cowboys secondary. Taylor is deployed in a variety of ways due to his versatile skill set, with the range to cover deep but the physicality to play close to the line of scrimmage. His abilities will be on full display against a pro-style Wisconsin offense that loves to run the ball.