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Draft: One prospect to watch in bowl game on Saturday

Bowl season kicks off this weekend

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Cal at UCLA
Gabriel Murphy
Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’ve reached that point of the year where the Las Vegas Raiders are gearing up for the NFL Draft, and bowl season begins this weekend! We’re in for a packed Saturday with seven games and below is one prospect to watch from each team as well as a few notes on each player.

Something to keep in mind, especially with these early bowl games, a few players may opt out of the game late and won’t be suited up. The goal here is to keep that to a minimum but a few could fall under the radar.


Myrtle Beach Bowl

Game time and channel: 8 a.m. PT, ESPN

Georgia Southern

RB Jalen White

2023 stats: 10 games, 891 rushing yards (5.6 per carry), 10 total touchdowns

NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 455th overall (UDFA)

Scouting report via NFL Draft Diamonds (full link)

Jalen White began this season with his first collegiate start and had a breakout year as the Georgia Southern’s featured back. He carries solid height and weight with average top end speed. White possesses great vision and good COD, allowing him to quickly identify and switch running lanes. He displays above-average toughness and doesn’t shy away from contact. White boasts high end body control and sufficient contact balance to bounce off of weaker tackles. He shows good burst and acceleration to reach top speed quickly and effectively uses his play speed to maximize his YAC ability. White looks to fall forward and gain extra yards but does not consistently drive defenders backwards. He has average hands as a pass catcher and struggles to consistently secure his targets. White scans the field for the blitz in pass protection but can be slow to react and set his feet in time. He shows average effort with inconsistent hand attack as a downfield run blocker.

Ohio

WR Sam Wiglusz

2023 Stats: 11 games, 51 catches, 596 yards, 3 TDs

NMDD rank: 411th overall (UDFA)

Scouting report via NFL Draft Diamonds (full report)

Redshirt-senior from Brecksville, Ohio, Wiglusz transferred to Ohio University as a graduate student in 2022. Prior to transferring to Ohio, Wiglusz was a walk-on receiver at Ohio State University. The leading receiver for Ohio in 2022, Wiglusz also contributed as both a punt and kickoff returner. Wiglusz offers solid height, but is below-average in size which can be a concern against press coverage. Has solid speed and is able to win with his footwork and agility. He displays very good change of direction (COD) and footwork showing that he can accelerate to create separation. Solid route-runner, understanding how to maintain leverage and tempo in-and-out of breaks. Is able to close the gap and get on the defenders toes before accelerating or coming out of a break. Good football IQ, is able to distinguish man vs zone coverage and is able to find the gap in the zone. Very good hand-eye coordination is able to track the ball over his shoulder and displayed solid athletic ability when going up for a contested catch. Displays solid physicality when fighting for a 50/50 ball, playing bigger than his frame. His marginal size makes him a liability in the blocking game, safeties at the next level will be able to run through him. Must improve his ability to maintain leverage in the blocking game, against better competition (i.e. Penn State) they were able to exploit his weaknesses. Rarely faced press coverage. Limited route tree.


Celebration Bowl

Game time and channel: 9 a.m. PT, ABC

Florida A&M

No players rank within the top 800 prospects of NMDD’s consensus big board

Howard

OT Anim Dankwah

NMDD rank: 431st overall (UDFA)

Scouting report via NFL Draft Diamonds (full report)

Senior. Starts at LT. Big, mammoth-sized OT prospect with excellent size, thick lower body, and great arm length for the position. Has a lot to like from a height/weight standpoint but is very raw and needs development during his senior season. Average in pass protection, average as a run blocker. Flashes a strong and violent first punch which he uses to jolt defenders and needs to use more often. Is able to get good vertical push especially in short yardage situations. Has a good first step. Is a good puller and does a good job of reaching the second level, but struggles to latch onto defenders and drive them off the ball. Will overextend and bend at the waist at the second level. Needs to work on finishing better – allows defenders he blocks to get in on the play. In pass protection, he is average. Generally does a good job of keeping defenders aligned over him between his feet and playing with a wide base. Primary weakness is hand placement and timing. Tends to bear hug opposing DEs w/wide hands instead of keeping his elbows tight and striking at the breastplate. Struggles to mirror edge rushers aligned to his outside shade and needs to do a better job of sealing the corner/getting there in-time. Outside hand placement causes his chest to be exposed, which can get him walked into the backfield.


New Orleans Bowl

Game time and channel: 11:15 a.m. PT, ESPN

Jacksonville State

No players listed on NMDD’s consensus big board

Louisiana

OT Nathan Thomas

NMDD rank: 380th overall (UDFA)

No scouting report is available for Thomas, but Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy did share the tweet below with some information on him.


Cure Bowl

Game time and channel: 12:30 p.m. PT, ABC

Miami (Ohio)

No players rank within the top 700 prospects of NMDD’s consensus big board

Appalachian State

No players rank within the top 700 prospects of NMDD’s consensus big board


New Mexico Bowl

Game time and channel: 2:45 p.m. PT, ESPN

Fresno State

No players listed on NMDD’s consensus big board

New Mexico State

No players listed on NMDD’s consensus big board


LA Bowl

Game time and channel: 4:30 p.m. PT, ABC

UCLA

EDGE Gabriel Murphy

2023 Stats: 12 games, 37 total tackles, 7 sacks, 15 TFL

NMDD rank: 143rd overall (5th round)

Scouting report via NFL Draft Buzz (full report)

Murphy has a wide base and a low center of gravity to hold his ground, as well as the upper-body strength to shed blockers.

Combines excellent power with initial quickness, but one of his best attributes are his violent hands, which Murphy uses with impressive precision.

He shows good quickness off the line of scrimmage and flashes the violent hands to win around the edge.

Murphy has the quickness and flexibility to consistently dip and bend around the edge.

Quick off the snap in the pass rush, he has violent hands and a good feel for working inside counter moves.

Has the pursuit skills to stay in the action. Anticipates the snap. Country strong and very physical; seeks contact.

Boise State

RB George Holani

2023 stats: 7 games, 610 rushing yards (5.2 yards per carry), 5 total touchdowns

NMDD rank: 404th overall (UDFA)

Scouting report via Pro Football Network (full report)

The bar to be a starting NFL running back is high enough that being critical about good but not elite athletes is fair. Holani is a good player stuck on a unit that hasn’t been overly strong around him. Despite this, Holani has consistently produced and carried the Broncos’ offense to respectability.

His quickness and ability to maximize rushing lanes between the tackles are defining and valuable. NFL offenses love jitterbugs who can be efficient in limited touches and help as pass catchers. We’ve seen more powerful offenses rotate specialists in favor of investing in expensive one-back systems.

Playing in a more open offense can help Holani be more dynamic and mitigate the weaknesses of playing in a conservative offense where he’s the focus. He should prove to be an early contributor thanks to his experience but has a late-round grade due to size and creativity limitations.


Independence Bowl

Game time and channel: 6:15 p.m. PT, ESPN

Texas Tech

S Dadrion Taylor-Demerson

2023 stats: 12 games, 66 total tackles, 1.5 TFL, 4 INTs, 6 PD

NMDD rank: 308th overall (UDFA)

Scouting report via Pro Football Network (full report)

Affectionately nicknamed “Rabbit”, Dadrion Taylor-Demerson could bounce into the 2023 NFL Draft conversation with another standout season at Texas Tech. The defensive back quietly hauled in three picks and 10 deflections in 2021, showing off natural playmaking ability and great zone awareness in space.

Taylor-Demerson is a little undersized, but he’s smart, fluid, and has impressive closing speed. The glue of the Red Raiders secondary, expect Rabbit to get more buzz down the stretch.

Cal

WR Jeremiah Hunter

2023 Stats: 12 games, 58 catches, 669 yards, 7 touchdowns

NMDD rank: 274th overall (UDFA)

Scouting report via Pro Football Network (full report)

Only a redshirt junior, there’s no guarantee Hunter will be in the 2024 class. Nevertheless, the team’s leading receiver returns with quite a résumé.

At 6’2″, 200 pounds, Hunter has averaged 16.7 yards per catch through two seasons, and in 2022, broke out with 965 yards and five scores.

Hunter pops off the tape, playing with great urgency and utilizing his size on the sideline. He’s a plus athlete with an effortless burst off the line of scrimmage, creating easy separation. He has all the physical tools to be a productive player at the next level.

Most of Hunter’s production came against zone due to how defenses played against a struggling Cal offense. With his ability to create with a well-rounded game and fierce mindset, Hunter will see his stock rise above a high Day 3 grade if he can prove to be effective against man coverage.