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Prospect Preview: 5 Bowl Games Today

Parks and I split duty today. Instead of making predictions I'm going to focus solely on draft prospects in my games: Here's Parks' write-up:

It’s New Years Eve and the bowl season continues to heat up. Five games are on tap today starting at noon with Texas Bowl at noon on ESPN featuring Texas A&M (6-6) versus Northwestern (6-6). At 2PM the Sun Bowl kicks off on CBS between Georgia Tech (8-4) and Utah (7-5). A pair of games kicks off at 3:30, on ESPN you can catch the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl between Illinois (6-6) and UCLA (6-7); while on ABC the Liberty Bowl will be kicking off featuring Vanderbilt (6-6) andCincinnati (9-3). Finally the last game of the day will be the Chic-fil-a Bowl in Atlanta with a matchup between Virginia (8-4) and #25 Auburn (7-5).

Georgia Tech Pro Prospect

Omoregie Uzzi, G, 6’3, 300 lbs: The Yellow Jackets do not have much NFL talent this year, especially with NT T.J. Barnes having a down year and likely not declaring. Nevertheless two teammates have submitted paperwork to the NFL advisory committee, WR Stephen Hill and Uzzi. Uzzi is an ACC first-teamer who is known for athleticism as a lineman. He seems to think he is a first rounder, but the second or third round may be more likely.

Utah Pro Prospect

Tony Bergstrom, OT, 6’5, 315 lbs: Bergstrom is an all Pac-12 performer, but he’ll also be 26 years of age at the start of the 2012 season. He is best known for his quick hands, but needs to build a stronger base to be successful in the NFL. Currently he is a 4th round prospect.

Parks’ Prediction: Georgia Tech’s triple option is always the wild card, the Utes have had plenty of time to prepare for it but I think the Yellow Jackets still come out on top. 35-23.

Vanderbilt Pro Prospect

Casey Hayward, CB, 5’11, 188 lbs: Hayward’s stock has risen all season long at Vandy. He is a three year starter and has been labeled an interception machine with 13 in his career in Nashville. Hayward also plays a lot bigger than he is and specializes in big wide receivers. He’s a very physical corner, which can get him some penalties from time to time but he’s also a very intelligent player. I see Hayward coming off the board in the late 3rd round.

Cincinnati Pro Prospect

Isiah Pead, RB, 5’10, 200 lbs: Pead is one of the nation’s most underrated runningbacks and has racked up over 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns in his time as a Bearcat. Pead is more of a finesse back and also excels in the passing game. He could be a solid fit for Mike Shanahan’s one cut system.

Parks’ Prediction: Vanderbilt takes it 26-17.

Virginia Pro Prospect

Chase Minnifield, CB, 6’0, 185 lbs: I’ve been preaching the gospel of Chase Minnifield all year. UVA has seen some impressive corners come through the past couple of years in Chris Cook and Ras-I Dowling, both of whom were taken in the Top 35 of the draft. However, Minnifield is better than both Dowling and Cook. He excels in zone coverage and has incredible body control. Minnifield has also spent time as the Cavs’ punt returner. Minnifield won’t be on the board for long, he’ll likely go in the late first round or early second round.

Auburn Pro Prospect

Brandon Mosley, OT, 6’5, 305 lbs: Auburn was a haven for pro prospects last year, but this year the Tigers’ lack eligible NFL talent. Junior College transfer Brandon Mosley may be the best bet for the War Eagles. Mosley is very athletic for the position, he’s a converted tight who also played linebacker and punter in high school, where he was also all-state in basketball. In my opinion he’s a late third round prospect and better player than Lee Ziemba who currently plays for the Carolina Panthers.

Parks’ Prediction: Man, this is a tough one and I think this is going to be a really good game. Auburn star RB Michael Dyer is suspended and Mike London will have the Wahoos ready to play; but I think Auburn finds a way to pull this off in Gus Malzahn’s last game as the offensive coordinator. 23-17.

Texas A&M Pro Prospects:

Ryan Tannehill, QB, 6'4", 222 lbs: Tannehill is one of the top QB's available in the draft, and has among the highest upside among signal callers this year. He's a former WR, but has been the Aggies QB since mid last season. He's still a bit raw as a QB overall, but he's shown himself to be a fast learner. This has been a bit of a disappointing season for Texas A&M and Tannehill, but a strong bowl game and post season should have him in the late first round mix.

Jeff Fuller, WR, 6'3", 215 lbs: Fuller came into this season as A&M's top target and a potential top 50 pick, but a season filled with injuries and ineffectiveness has his stock falling. Fuller's 40 time and post season work will be the most important, but he could reclaim some of his draft status with a good game today. He is A&M's all-time leading receiver and offers intriguing size and strength. Fuller could go as high as the mid-third round, but is a safer bet in the 4th-5th round range.

Coryell Judie, CB, 5'11", 190 lbs: Judie is a former JUCO prospect, who has blossomed nicely at Texas A&M. His numbers are down this season, as he's missed a good part of this year with injury, but when healthy Judie shows exceptional speed and quickness, and pretty advanced ball skills. He's also been an effective return man and could help out in that area as a rookie. Judie is set to go today, and a strong game could put in him the 3rd round range, but with all the missed time he's probably more of a 4th rounder.

Northwestern Pro Prospects:

Northwestern doesn't have many draftable prospects, but expect a few of these guys to be UDFA's, including FB/TE Drake Dunsmore, who plays superback (yes that is an actual position) for the Wildcats, but profiles as a FB or TE at the next level. He excels at receiving, but needs to get stronger. Could be a really intriguing Practice Squad guy for a year. QB Dan Persa is listed as 6'1" on the Northwestern website, but most scouts seem to think he'll come in under 6'0", his height will kill his NFL chances, but he's a leader and a hard worker, and will get a look by some team.

UCLA Pro Prospects:

With SS Tony Dye ruled out for the game, most of UCLA's players are UDFA type guys, but one other draftable prospect has emerged:

Nelson Rosario, WR, 6'5", 212 lbs: Rosario was considered an intriguing prospect with nice size and strength, but was an afterthought given his limited production. That changed this season as Rosario caught 61 balls for over 1,100 yards and an 18.11 ypc average. Rosario doesn't have great speed or quickness, but he's played a lot smoother this season, which has helped him create more separation. Right now he looks to be a 7th rounder, but with a strong Bowl game, and offseason he could move in the 5th-6th round discussion.

Illinois Pro Prospects:

Jeff Allen, OT, 6'5", 315 lbs: Allen has played both right and left tackle for Illinois and is a 3 year full-time starter. He flashes the potential to be a good starter in the NFL (likely on the right side). While consistency will keep Allen from being a higher pick, is size, leadership and potential would make him a good choice in the 4th round.

A.J. Jenkins, WR, 6'0", 210 lbs: Considering that Illinois isn't much of a passing team Jenkins season this year is outstanding, he accounted for 40% of all receptions, 54 % of all receiving yards and over 50% of receiving TD's, as he caught 84 balls for 1,196 yards and 7 scores. Jenkins has developed into a nice receiver. He's really sure-handed and runs good fluid routes. He doesn't have great size and his speed isn't exceptional, but he looks to be a guy who can develop into a starter in a couple years. Right now he profiles as a late 3rd to early 4th round pick, in what looks to be a very deep receiver class.