Developing Assets Bowl Week Two, Part Three

Ryan McDowell

It’s another day with some fun bowls and great prospects to check out. Here’s my preview of the three main games today. After you watch, please share what you noticed about the players I mention, or anyone else that stood out to you.

December 31st Bowls

V100 Bowl (12:30, ESPN)
Arizona vs. Boston College 

williamsWith so much draft and devy preparation focused on the wide receivers as of late, this game will be all about the running backs. Both teams are among the top twenty FBS teams in rushing yards per game, while falling outside of the top one hundred passing teams.

Boston College is led by senior Heisman finalist Andre Williams, who led the nation is rushing yards per game with a whopping 175. Williams has had a solid college career, totaling between 400 and 600 rushing yards in each of his first three seasons before exploding for over 2,100 yards this year under new head coach Steve Addazio. He’s clearly proven to be a reliable power back, but I wonder if he can translate that talent to the NFL. Hopefully Williams is fully recovered from the shoulder injury that limited him to only nine carries against Syracuse in the season finale. As a senior, Williams will obviously be part of the NFL draft in May. Expect him to be a day three pick and a likely second round rookie pick in dynasty leagues.

While Williams displays his power back skills, we’ll see a different type of back in the Arizona backfield. Ka’Deem Carey leads the Wildcats with over 1,700 rushing yards, but he has also added another 173 as a receiver for a total of 1,889 after totaling over 2,200 yards from scrimmage last season. Carey did miss the team’s opening game due to a suspension for his involvement with an off-season domestic violence issue. All of the charges were eventually dropped and Carey has reportedly stayed out of trouble since. There are some character concerns, but hopefully Carey has put those issues behind him. Some NFL scouts have compared Carey to Reggie Bush and most think Carey, a junior, will declare for the draft. If he does, expect him to land in the first round of rookie drafts.

Sun Bowl (2:00, CBS)
Virginia Tech vs. UCLA

If the day’s opening game is focused on the running backs, then when the Sun Bowl kicks off, it will be time to turn your attention to the quarterbacks. Logan Thomas, who was considered one of the top quarterback prospects in college following a solid sophomore season, leads the Hokies of Virginia Tech. His past two years have not lived up to the hype and he has taken plenty of criticism, mostly due to his inconsistency. Some have even suggested that Thomas will require a position change to be successful in the NFL. As a senior, this will be your last chance to see Thomas in game action. Hopefully for him, he ends on a high note.

The quarterback of the Bruins, Brett Hundley, has had two impressive seasons in a row as the starter for each of his two years at UCLA. While his passing yards are down significantly from his freshman year, he did add nearly 600 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns to go along with his passing totals this season. Hundley is just a sophomore, but he did redshirt his first season, so he is eligible to declare for the draft, should he choose to do so. Soon after the conclusion of the regular season, there were many rumors that Bruins head coach Jim Mora could be in the market for a new position, which led to more rumors of Hundley’s potential early departure for the NFL. Instead, Mora has squashed those rumors and Hundley’s future is uncertain. The quarterback class of 2015 is stacking up to be a strong one, so Hundley may be better off to leave school following this game, but e will have to wait for his official decision.

Along with Hundley, UCLA also features one of the most unique prospects to come along in a while. Freshman Myles Jack doubles as both a linebacker and a running back for the Bruins and had such a great season that he was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year on both offense and defense, despite not playing running back until the ninth game of the season. Jack totaled just thirty-seven carries on the season, but scored seven touchdowns. It’s difficult to project Jack’s future as a pro, but he will be a fun player to watch over the next couple of years.

Finally, although I’m somewhat IDP illiterate, I know talent when I see it and UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr has plenty of that. Barr is projected as a top five pick overall and will likely be one of the top two defensive players selected in rookie drafts.

Chic-fil-A Bowl (8:00, ESPN)
Duke vs. Texas A&M

Even though the Duke Blue Devils had one of the best seasons in their history, they have few NFL prospects at the skill positions and many think they will be overmatched by the Aggies of Texas A&M. The one player to watch for Duke is undersized wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who set Duke single season records for both receptions and receiving yards. He could have a big day against a below average A&M defense. I don’t expect the junior to leave early for the draft, but when he does hit the league, he’s an ideal slot wide receiver type at 5’9” and 175 pounds.

While Duke lacks big name NFL prospects, Texas A&M sports two of the biggest in quarterback and former Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and his top wide receiver Mike Evans. Both players are just sophomores, but both have already announced their intentions to declare for the NFL draft. Expect both players to land in the first round of the draft and Evans can be considered a lock as a first round rookie pick in dynasty leagues. In fact, I’ve heard many dynasty owners say they consider Evans the top overall player. Both players have had back-to-back amazing seasons, but neither is the prototypical prospect for their position. Manziel has plenty of doubters, not only due to the off-the-field controversy he’s dealt with, but his lean frame as well. Evans, on the other hand, some seem to consider Evans too big to play the wide receiver position. At 6’5” and over 225 pounds, a switch to tight end has been suggested. I think that’s a long shot. I see Evans having Anquan Boldin potential if he lands in the right situation.

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