We are now late enough in the annual football season that everyday we have football on television. This is a good thing for college football, as it often times allows lesser-known programs to get on national television and show us what they have. Often times, there are a few NFL Draft diamonds in the rough that are found.
This week will be no different, as the MAC has offered the NFL some viable talent over the last couple of years. Think of first overall pick in 2013, OT Eric Fisher; WR Corey Davis, RB Kareem Hunt, WR Tyreke Hill, and QB Ben Roethlisburger are just a few names that come to mind when thinking of former MAC players offering the NFL exceptional talent.
Here are the games on the slate before Thursday:
11/5 7:00PM ET Kent State @ Toledo (CBSSN)
11/5 8:00PM ET Ball State @ Western Michigan (ESPN2)
11/6 8:00PM ET Miami (Ohio) @ Ohio (ESPN2)
Let’s get into these must watch players now, shall we?
5. QB Nathan Rourke, Ohio
Nathan Rourke has been an underdog his entire life. Starting his high school career in Canada, Rourke and his family moved to Alabama in his senior season to give Rourke an opportunity to be viewed by division one schools. Not one school offered him out of high school. It took a prolific season in JUCO to get the attention of a few MAC schools, and Rourke took his chance.
Nathan Rourke has put together an impressive college career together, being a solid dual threat quarterback producing big numbers. Rourke scored 39 touchdowns as a sophomore, and 38 as a junior. Currently, he sits at 19 this season, but as Ohio gets deeper into conference play, that number can drastically rise.
— #MACtion (@MACSports) October 19, 2019
Rourke performed at the Manning Acadamy camp this off-season, allowing some all-time greats to hone into his game. He has ample arm strength, and can be valued as a project prospect in the league. He is a must watch this week while on national television.
4. TE Giovanni Ricci, Western Michigan VS LB Christian Albright, Ball State
Giovanni Ricci is a pass catching tight end with good athleticism. In this league, a pass-catching tight end is valued over blocking types. Ricci appears to struggle with pass blocking, but has the power to block on smaller EDGE and linebackers on run plays. He’s undersized for a tight end, listed at 6’3″ and 240 pounds, Ricci appears to be 230 pounds at the very most. He’s got good hands, he just needs to put on a little bit of weight before he will be considered a legitimate NFL-caliber tight end.
Game Note (in case you didn’t know)
— WMU Football (@WMU_Football) September 28, 2019
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On the other side of the ball, we have arguably the most underrated linebacker in the group-of-five, Christian Albright. A smart, heady player with a nose for the football, Albright has a hard hitting style that makes him a likable prospect. The 6’2″ 234 pound junior linebacker from Kennesaw, Georgia, Albright is now in his second full season as a starter and has already been more effective behind the line of scrimmage. He’s a passionate leader, and plays well in pass coverage.
This being said, this is a big match-up to watch on Tuesday night as these two go at it all night. The winner of the match-up will undoubtedly receive more attention in NFL Draft circles.
3. IDL Doug Costin, Miami (Ohio)
Doug Costin has some good quickness to his game. At 6’2″ 295 pounds, Costin started his Miami (Ohio) career playing as a defensive end before putting on some weight and switching to defensive tackle.
Doug Costin showing why he is one of the best defensive tackles in the league pic.twitter.com/6mZyNa8upx
— Miami Football (@MiamiOHFootball) October 4, 2018
Costin has produced in the MAC, which is a good start to the evaluation process. His first step is nasty, but sometimes gets caught up against better offensive linemen because of his inconsistent hand usage.
2. S Javon Hagan, Ohio
At 6’1″ and 210 pounds, Javon Hagan looks like a linebacker while on the field. The redshirt-senior from Jacksonville, Florida, has a lot to prove with his hard hitting style and lack of national attention. He’s a strong safety type for certain, with a lot of hit power, punch and great athleticism.
Ohio Safety Javon Hagan
— College Football Rankings ™ (@CFBRanking) February 16, 2019
Hagan is a strong person, and a strong individual. He has 281 career tackles entering Wednesday night, and 6 interceptions. Hagan won’t get much attention because of the conference he played in, but if he puts up good measurable numbers, he could be an early day three pick.
1. RB LeVante Bellamy, Western Michigan
LeVante Bellamy is a speed back, who reportedly runs a 4.28 forty yard dash. His running style shows this, as he has a nose for space. Bellamy looks for pockets of space downfield while picking his way through defenders with his quick feet, and relies on his speed to get him to the next pocket.
— Greg Brandt (@devywarehouse) September 21, 2019
It’s worked out for him pretty well, I’d say. He’s already gathered his second consecutive season with over 1000 yards rushing, and has scored a career high 17 touchdowns this season. Bellamy will be on national television for the second time this season, and has a chance to really show NFL Draft scouts just how far he is out of his league.