112 college football seniors from around the country are ready for one more chance to impress scouts in Pasadena, Calif. for the 8th installment of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
For many NFL hopefuls, the 2019 NFLPA all-star game presents one more game to compete in front of NFL Scouts before the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.
The last two game MVPs Lorenzo Jerome and Troy Apke both made names for themselves in this game which carried them into the Senior Bowl and eventually an NFL roster. Other notable NFL alumni from this game include Bears running back Tarik Cohen, Lions tight end Luke Wilson, Seahawks defensive back Shaquill Griffin and more. Last year’s edition held 19 prospects who would get drafted in the middle and late rounds.
The Collegiate Bowl is a little different than similar All-Star weeks like the East-West Shrine game because players are put through NFL-styled practices as well as classes about maintaining professionalism when taking the next step. NFL players like Lamar Jackson and Richard Sherman have appeared to share knowledge with the NFL hopefuls.
Previously, former Rams Head Coach Mike Martz has dominated this game. He’s been the head coach of every team that has ever won this game. However, this is the first game Martz won’t be coaching.
Instead, former NFL head coaches Mike Tice and Chuck Pagano will lead the two teams. Tice holds the head coaching spot for the National team and his staff features NFL alumni like Alge Crumpler, Chris Claiborne, Akili Smith and Bertrand Berry.
Pagano’s American team coaching staff is also filled with NFL legends including Ed Reed, Andre Johnson and Jackie Slater. Many coaches are not only sharing their own experience but also auditioning for NFL coaching gigs.
Who should you watch in this game?
Texas tackle Calvin Anderson (American Team) – NFL size at six-foot_five and starting experience at Texas is enough to get NFL attention.
Washington QB Jake Browning (National Team) – Infamous for helping Washington get into the CFB playoff a few seasons ago as well as a Rose Bowl this year. Browning is one of most decorated passers with in school history with 12,296 career passing yards and 94 total touchdowns.
East Carolina WR Trevon Brown (American Team) – Finished each of the last two seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards. The six-foot-two receiver also had 9 touchdowns last year.
Nevada LB Malik Reed (American Team) – A six-foot-two hybrid edge player with 22 sacks and 38.5 tackles across four starting seasons at Nevada. He’s rumored to have interviewed with most of the NFL while here practicing.
Cal LB Jordan Kunaszyk (National Team) – 264 career tackles, 7.5 career sacks, 4 career interceptions and six forced fumbles is great for a middle linebacker with three years starting experience in the Pac-12.
Nebraska LB Dedrick Young (National Team) – Another linebacker with an impressive resume including four years starting experience and over 80 tackles in each of the last two years.
Wyoming RB Nico Evans (National Team) – Nine touchdowns and 1,325 rushing yards last season is enough to get him consideration as a punt returner in the league despite being five-foot-nine.
Michigan CB Brandon Watson (American Team) – Mostly a special teamer but came on strong last year with more playing time. Finished the year with three interceptions and two of them went for touchdowns.
USC DE Malik Dorton (National Team) – Dorton is a linebacker and defensive end with 2.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons.
Vanderbilt QB Kyle Shurmur (National Team) – Son of Giants head coach Pat Shurmur.
Notre Dame K Justin Yoon (National Team) – Finished his career with 367 points at Notre Dame.
USC RB Aca’Cendric Ware (National Team) – Didn’t get the ball a lot at USC but averaged 6.6 yards per carry in 2018 and registered six touchdowns for the Trojans.
Otherwise, there are plenty of other experienced players who will hope to make a name for themselves. They’ll hope to garner attention in the middle to late rounds or catch onto a team as an undrafted free agent.
Where can you find the game?
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is live on FS1 at 2 p.m. PST on January 19, 2019 at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium in California. This is the game’s second installment at the Rose Bowl. Previously, it was held at the StubHub venue in Carson, Calif. where the Chargers currently play.
Follow @PeteCertified on twitter for live coverage from the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. The FPC Raiders writer and co-host of Touchdowns and Tangents is covering the game for the third consecutive season.