ON THE ROAD AGAIN: WEEK 8
For the eighth consecutive week, our Reese’s Senior Bowl scouting team will be on 10-plus college campuses around the country. Follow @JimNagy_SB on Twitter all day Saturday to see up-close field-level videos on the following players and many more (all times ET):
Indiana at Rutgers | Noon | Big Ten Network
Indiana CB Tiawan Mullen: Mullen is an undersized slot player (5-foot-8, 175) but he doesn’t play little. Like most smaller cover guys that end up making it at the next level, Mullen is a feisty competitor that isn’t afraid to throw his body around. Of all the cornerbacks in this year’s senior class, Mullen might have the most explosive closing ability of the group. He has shown a ball-hawking knack over his IU career, and our staff is excited to get a first live look at him. Hoosiers LB Cam Jones is another guy we were looking forward to seeing, but unfortunately he’s still out with an injury.
Cincinnati at SMU | Noon | ESPN
Cincinnati WR Tre Tucker: Anyone who follows us regularly knows this year’s wide receiver class has an inordinate number of smaller slot receiver types. Tucker is in the conversation for being the most dynamic in that group. Most projected NFL slots fall into the quicker-than-fast category, but Tucker, who was 100-meter and long jump champion in high school, is both. NFL teams ideally want guys Tucker’s size (5-8, 175) to be starter-level returners, and he’s been explosive on kick returns over his Bearcat career with 25.3 return yards on average and two touchdowns.
Richmond at Hampton | 3 p.m. | Flo Sports
Hampton WR Jadakis Bonds: We love it when coaches reach out to us on behalf of their players, and Hampton head coach Robert Prunty shoots us frequent texts about Bonds. Aside from having one of the coolest names in college football, Jadakis Bonds has been one of the most productive FCS receivers in the nation over the past four seasons. At 6-4, Bonds is a size mismatch at the small-school level, and he’s one of our top-graded HBCU prospects this year. Our staff is excited to get an up-close look at the former three-star recruit (offers from West Virginia and East Carolina out of high school).
Campbell at Jackson St. | 3 p.m. ET | ESPN+
Campbell OT Mike Edwards: Whenever our staff is at a game on Saturdays we always ask NFL scouts about any potential small-school “sleeper” types who might be in that area of the country. One name that has come up a few times this fall is Campbell’s Edwards. The Wake Forest transfer was on our radar this summer based on having next-level size, and today’s matchup against a good Jackson State defense, led by Missouri transfer LB Aubrey Miller Jr., will be one that NFL scouts will be watching.
Ole Miss at LSU | 3:30 p.m. ET | CBS
LSU EDGE Ali Gaye: If there was such thing as an All-“First Off The Bus” team in college football this year, Gaye would be on it. There’s no doubt NFL scouts would like to see more disruptive production from Gaye, who only has one sack and two tackles for loss this year, but he has a great-looking frame and everyone in the building raves about the kind of person he is, so teams are going to be open-minded about his developmental upside as a pro. The fact that the Minnesota Vikings’ Danielle Hunter had many similarities coming out of LSU and has grown into a high-level NFL player is something some NFL front offices will discuss in draft meetings.
Youngstown St. at Western Illinois | 5 p.m. | ESPN+
Youngstown State RB Jaleel McLaughlin: This isn’t a great year for small-school prospects, but the Penguins’ star running back has gotten our attention with his explosive playmaking ability. McLaughlin, who is averaging 8.1 yards per carry, only needs 146 yards against Western Illinois to reach 1,000 yards on the season, and he’s a true big-play threat out of the backfield, as well. While he lacks the size (5-8, 180) to be an every-down back at the next level, McLaughlin does have the speed to be a nice change-of-pace and sub-downs guy as a pro. Also, love his Twitter handle, @Speedkills2K_.
Miss. College at West Florida | 5 p.m. | ESPN+
West Florida WR David Durden: Durden has been on our radar for a couple of years now, since many NFL scouts would stop by Senior Bowl HQ last year while driving from nearby Pensacola after checking out Durden to see eventual third-rounder Jalen Tolbert at South Alabama. When it comes to HWS (height, weight, speed) receivers at the D-II level, Durden is probably the top NFL prospect. NFL scouts measured Durden at just under 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds two years ago, and he ran a blazing 4.37 40-yard dash. Durden currently leads the Argos in all three major receiving categories (59-501-5).
Boise State at Air Force | 7 p.m. | CBS Sports Network
Boise State DS Tyreque Jones: Most avid draft fans already know the name of Boise State safety J.L. Skinner (and he’s one of Senior Bowl’s top-graded defensive backs), but Jones has been gaining traction with NFL scouts on the west coast during the first half of this season. Jones, who does his best work in the box and around the line of scrimmage, is a physical and aggressive player with good buildup speed. He has good size (6-1, 207) and length (33 ¾ arms) to match up with tight ends, and he projects as an immediate core special teams player as a rookie.
Mississippi St. at Alabama | 7 p.m. | ESPN
Alabama TE Cameron Latu: Alabama doesn’t have too many players who fall into the “overlooked” category, but one guy who should be getting more draft buzz is Latu. Latu, who got off to a slow start this year due to injuries, set the Tide’s single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end last year with eight, and he has found the end zone in each of the past two games. One thing that will work in his favor when NFL teams start stacking (i.e. ranking) this year’s tight end class is that his defensive background — Alabama converted him from outside linebacker to tight end after his freshman year — will give him the edge when it comes to his projected special teams value.