It’s bowl season, which means it’s time to get your last look at players eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft and your first look at promising young prospects. Team RotoViz will be bringing you previews of all bowl games with the players to watch at the fantasy-relevant positions. If you want to see the previews for other college bowl games, be sure to check out the 2014-15 RotoViz College Bowl Games Playbook. Also, if you want to hear discussion about some college bowl games and NFL draft prospects, be sure to listen to upcoming episodes of RotoViz Radio. Without further adieu, let’s look at the . . .
Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl
December 26, 8:00pm ET, ESPN
UCF (9-3, 7-1 in the American)
Following in the footsteps of fellow UCF alumnus Brandon Marshall, Breshad Perriman is another big-bodied receiver with NFL potential. Standing arppximately 6’3 and 214lbs, the 21 year old junior has been a steady contributor in Orlando, going for 388, 811 and 906 yards in his three seasons. More importantly, he’s seen his role in the offense steadily grow, climbing from 14.9% of receiving yards to 24.9% and 32.7% this year. Looking at his age-adjusted score, he’s remained consistently in the 1.4 – 1.7 range, indicative of a solid, but unspectacular prospect, akin to maybe a Mohamed Sanu, Jermaine Kearse or Leonard Hankerson. Take a quick look below to get an idea and be sure to keep an eye on him in the game.
Another player to watch for is sophomore RB William Stanback. He stands 6’1 225lbs, enjoys touchdowns and bulldozing people. In his last 17 games he has seven multi-touchdown outings. To get a sense for this bruiser, watch this video and laugh at what youre seeing, hearing and reading in the comments. My favorite comment comes at the 21-second mark.
NC State (7-5, 3-5 in the ACC)
Once upon a time Jacoby Brissett was the #3 ranked dual-threat quarterback prospect in America behind #1 Braxton Miller, #2 Brett Hundley and just ahead of #6, some guy named Teddy Bridgewater. After originally committing to Florida, Brissett transferred to NC State and made his debut in 2014. For the season he’s showed off that dual-threat ability, accumulating 2344 pass yards and 498 rush yards. With great size (6’4 230lbs) and a record of limiting turnovers, I could envision Brissett being a top-50 draft pick in 2016. Although eligible, I doubt he’ll declare for 2015.
David Grinnage is arguably the most NFL-interesting weapon at Brissett’s disposal. In his 20 year old, redshirt sophomore year, the 6’5 270lb tight end has accounted for 14.8% market share of receiving yards and five touchdowns, both of which are respectable figures for a tight end. For reference, NFL counterparts like Zach Miller, Jared Cook, Dwayne Allen and Austin Seferian-Jenkins had similar performances at that age. I think he’ll be a quality addition to the talented 2016 tight end draft class. Take a look at him in the touchdown reception. He starts on the near side of the OLine.
I became aware of RB Shadrach Thornton because he posted 968 yards from scrimmage in 10 games as a freshman, falling just shy of the 100/g threshold I use as an imperfect filter. Never really a true workhorse, Thornton has been a consistent contributor for three seasons now, amassing more than 2200 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards for his career. What stands out to me is the multi-faceted way in which he is used, both as a back, wildcat QB and pass catcher. With a year of eligibility left, I’d say he has a decent shot to get to 90 reception for his career, a feat which only 26 college backs have accomplished since 2000. Off the top of my head, I’d say he’s maybe a Shane Vereen or Ahmad Bradshaw type player who could carve out a role in an NFL offense.
Jon’s Game Prediction
UCF is a 2.5 point favorite in this game and 72% of bets are being placed on the Knights, but I contend that the wrong team is favored. After winning the Fiesta Bowl last year, I think UCF is getting more credit than they deserve. NC State, on the other hand, played very well down the stretch and have a better road/neutral grade. I’ll call for NC State to win outright in a 26-17 kind of game.