Birmingham Bowl NOON ESPN
Auburn vs. Memphis
Location: Legion Field Birmingham, AL
- Auburn struggled to gain any traction in their 2015 season due to a very inconsistent offense that saw terrible play and injury for its quarterbacks. The defense wasn't the greatest in the world, either. It wasn't 2013 bad but the defense failed to improve even under defensive guru Will Muschamp's watch. Muschamp has since departed for South Carolina's head job. The Tigers have yet to name a successor despite reaching out to many candidates. Memphis had a stellar run but faltered late in the year. Former HC Justin Fuente parlayed the Tigers success into being named Virginia Tech's new HC. Memphis has tabbed Arizona State OC Mike Norvell as Fuente's replacement.
Auburn prospects to watch
1. Montravius Adams 6'4 296 DT Junior
- Adams sticks out like a sore thumb along Auburn's front, wearing number one on his 6-3, 300 pound frame. He's able to fire off the ball quickly, which will catch you by surprise. Consistency issues have plagued Adams during his time at Auburn, but he could turn into a nice depth or rotational player in the NFL.
2. Carl Lawson 6'2 260 EDGE Sophomore
- Injuries doomed much of Lawson's 2015 season, but he was able to finally hit the field in November against Ole Miss. Lawson exploded back onto the scene, winning a few one on one matchups with the SEC's best offensive lineman, Laremy Tunsil. Lawson's injury history (torn ACL, 2014) will hurt him, but you can't deny his explosion off the line of scrimmage and natural pass rushing ability. He'll have plenty of chances to get after Memphis' Paxton Lynch today.
Memphis prospect to watch
1. Paxton Lynch 6'6 230 QB RS Junior
- Lynch is probably the most physically gifted QB in the class. Arm talent is without question. The level of competition is a concern as Memphis doesn't play the strongest schedule. Helped lead a Tigers squad that was in contention for the AAC title most of the year until faltering late.
Belk Bowl 3:30 PM ESPN
NC State vs. Mississippi State
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
- The Bulldogs travel to Charlotte to take on a Wolfpack squad playing a de facto home game. This game will feature two under the radar QBs facing each other in NC State’s Jacobby Brissett and Miss State’s Dak Prescott. Both are playing their final snaps in their college careers. NC State has a 7-5 record while Miss State has an 8-4 record. Expect a shootout between these two teams.
NC State prospect to watch
1. Jacoby Brissett 6'4 240 QB Senior
- Think Cam Newton but a much more refined passer with Big Ben's athleticism and you get Brissett. He transferred in from Florida a couple of years ago after losing the competition there.
Miss State prospects to watch
1. De'Runnya Wilson 6'4 215 WR Junior
- Wilson's best feature is something that can't be taught: size. His 6-5, 225 pound frame is imposing to defenses and certainly gives him an edge in the draft process. However, Wilson lacks the downfield speed that would make him lethal. He is however a guy that knows how to use his frame to gain an edge. He can wins in the intermediate game and offers a quarterback a large target. He will be an interesting evaluation going forward.
2. Chris Jones 6'6 308 DL Junior
- A former basketball player, Jones offers size and length along the defensive front. At 6-5, 300, Jones has the physique that the NFL is looking for. He shows some above average acceleration off the line of scrimmage and appears to be athletic enough to make it in the NFL. He's still learning the game, but the tools are there.
3. Dak Prescott 6'2 230 QB Senior
- Prescott isn't the cleanest quarterback prospect you'll ever run across, but he's come a long was as a passer. He's a far superior player than he was when he arrived on the scene in 2013. I'm not sure the accuracy is there, but the velocity is. You'll hear a lot of Tim Tebow comparisons with Prescott, but I think Dak is much further along than Tebow ever was as a passer. Prescott should make someone a nice day three project.
Franklin American Mortage Music City Bowl 7 PM ESPN
Texas A&M vs. Louisville
- Texas A&M is coming into the Music City with a major headache on their hands. Both of their top two quarterbacks have since transferred. This paired with a "down" season has left HC Kevin Sumlin with a seat that’s on fire right now. A loss in Nashville would only intensify the heat, especially with the news of Chip Kelly’s departure from Philly. Louisville, on the other hand has stabilized their QB situation after rotating through several guys early on in the year. The Cardinals ended the regular season with a victory over the hated Kentucky Wildcats.
Texas A&M prospects to watch
1. Germain Ifedi OT 6'5 325 RS Junior
- Ifedi received a second round grade last season from the NFL Advisory Board. He returned to College Station for one more year of college ball instead. Ifedi is one of the thicker tackle prospects in this class. His 6-5, 330 pound frame makes him a candidate to move inside to guard. The book on Ifedi is that he struggles with power and is inconsistent. The size is there, but Ifedi will need to be coached up at the next level. He could make a nice project for a team that can afford to wait.
2-3. Christian Kirk 5'11 200 WR Freshman and Myles Garrett 6'5 260 DE Sophomore
- Okay so I'm cheating a little here, but the Aggies are severely lacking in draft eligible talent this season. However, they have two young studs that should find the first round in the next two respective drafts. Myles Garrett will be a top option in 2017. The 6-5, 260 pound edge rusher has 11.5 sacks on the season. Watch him get after Louisville today off of the edge. Christian Kirk has been outstanding this season as a true freshman and should get to 1,000 yards on the season today. Kirk lacks some size, but makes up for it with explosion.
Louisville prospects to watch
1. Devonte Fields 6’4 254 DE RS Junior
- Fields is an interesting name that transferred to Louisville after being forced to play at the JUCO level after being dismissed from TCU for a domestic violence issue. He was dominant during his freshman season, putting up 10 sacks en route to Big 12 DPOY honors. However, the off field issues will haunt him if and when he goes pro. Has two years left to play.
2. Sheldon Rankins 6’1 303 DE/DT Senior
- Lorenzo Mauldin who? Rankins was the leading tackler and sacker for the Cardinals last year. He’s a versatile lineman that can play both inside and outside. Better suited for tackle given his ability to occupy multiple blockers and limited athleticism. Has the potential to be Jurrell Casey 2.0 given their similar dimensions and production.
National Funding Holiday Bowl 10:30 ESPN
#25 USC vs. Wisconsin
Location: Qualcomm Stadium (home of the San Diego Chargers)
- OK, the old and decrepit stadium has one more football game left to host. The Trojans have gone through some drama themselves as former HC Steve Sarkesian was relieved of his duties because of alcohol issues. In his place, USC made interim coach Clay Helton the full time boss. The men of Troy did finish strong however by defeating crosstown rival UCLA. Wisconsin went 9-3 on the year but they made it ugly, even by Wisconsin standards. Not to mention, their best player, RB Corey Clement, got into an altercation in which he swung first. Instead of bowl gifts, these two programs should wish for a scandal free 2016.
USC prospects to watch
1. Max Tuerk OL 6'5 285 Senior
- Tuerk could have argued that he was the best lineman in the country while he was healthy. He's position versatile as he's played center and tackle along with guard. Best position could be center. Long arms of a tackle and hands of a guard. Anchor and footwork is very good. Football IQ is good.
2. Su'a Cravens 6'1 225 OLB Junior
- Cravens is arguably the best defender in the Pac-12. Position versatile as he originally started out at safety before converting to linebacker last year. Athleticism is very good as the hips are fluid and footwork is impressive. Instincts are great as well. Finds the hole in the offensive scheme and attacks it. Pass defense is underrated as he shows an uncanny ability to always find the ball
3. Cody Kessler 6’1 215 QB RS Senior
- He’s limited athletically as a prospect but is more of a game manager type. Pocket awareness is above average as well as footwork. Arm strength is a concern as he lacks it to make the big league throws to the outside. Needs a great finish to 2015 to even merit consideration in the fourth round. I'd have him borderline 7th/UDFA based on his production so far and what I've seen on tape.