Nothing boosts the Christmas spirit quite like a wonderful slate of bowl games. There are plenty of young devy and draft prospects playing today. Make sure to take the time to enjoy the games while we have them, because the off-season is right around the corner and before we know it, we will be begging to watch some football.
Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Temple Owls vs. Duke Blue Devils
ESPN 1:30 pm EST
The Temple Owls come flying into their bowl game against the Duke Blue Devils with an overall record of 8-4 (7-1) having won five of their last six games, two of which came against the Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats.
On the other hand, the Duke Blue Devils 7-5 (3-5) come into the matchup having lost four of their last six, with only 13 total points scored in their last two games.
Senior Bryant Ventell led the Temple Owls in receptions and receiving yardage in 2018. He should make a case to be a late-round pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft. In his career at Temple, Ventell has caught 170 passes for over 2,300 yards and ten touchdowns. With a strong showing against the suspect Blue Devil defense, the senior could catch the eyes of some NFL scouts and land himself in a position battle come training camp in the fall.
From a devy perspective, keep an eye on redshirt sophomore receiver Branden Mack who at 6’5”, 215 pounds leads the Owls in touchdowns (five) while averaging over 13 yards per reception. This bowl game could hold the potential for Mack to break into a terrific junior season in 2019 and boost his draft stock moving forward. Look for Mack to have another strong off-season and emerge as the Owls primary receiver.
On the other side of the field, the Blue Devils feature a prolific offense, which has struggled to execute and score points in their final two games of the season. Junior quarterback Daniel Jones has drawn interest from NFL scouts this season and could forgo his senior season to enter the draft in 2019 with the huge need for quarterbacks currently in the NFL.
He has dealt with injuries this season, but has still thrown for over 2,200 yards in each of his three seasons, finding the end zone no less than 14 times in each of those years as well. At 6’5”, 220 pounds, Jones has not only great size, but also a tremendous ability to run the football and use his mobility in the pocket. He rushed 98 times for 325 yards this season. While those numbers don’t boast the talent of Lamar Jackson, it will prove to scouts how comfortable he is moving and eluding defenders in the pocket.
He currently ranks sixth at quarterback in DLF’s 2019 devy rankings, and many predict him to be a first-round selection if he declares for the 2019 draft. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land with a team like the Jaguars or Giants, looking to quickly develop a young quarterback.
Sophomore running back Deon Jackson should be a name you familiarize yourself with in regards to the highly talented running back class of 2020. This season, Jackson increased his carries by more than five times, while also proving he can be an every-down back with over 20 receptions out of the backfield. At 6’0”, Jackson may appear to be undersized at first glance, but his 220-pound frame gives him more than enough power in the trenches.
The Blue Devils also feature two speedy senior wide receivers in T.J. Rahming and Jonathan Lloyd, but it would appear that each does not possess the size or skills to make an impact at the professional level.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Miami Hurricanes
ESPN 5:15 pm EST