There are many offensive players at the collegiate level who can run fast, throw deep, jump high, catch, block and are athletic. At this collegiate level, several can translate their skill set to professional competition. As for the lower division talents, only a few can reach that goal.
The NFL Regional Combine is a great asset platform for athletes to showcase their expertise. With the lack of RC trials, the exposure for the offensive talent has decreased.
Nevertheless, these athletes can not be ignored. The sport of football is growing with the CFL and the two new football leagues that are about to commence in the Alliance of American Football (AAF, which kicks off in 2019) and the XFL, which launches in 2020.
Clearly, the NFL is the biggest prize as the league that stands alone as the absolute best.
During the 2018 campaign, 82 Division II talents graced NFL fields, just eight shy from a season ago. The once grand exposure of RC stage helped motivate countless unknown gems and gave hope.
Instead of being flagged with doubt, the capable lower level skilled players look to keep the challenge a yard at a time because when they cross the goal line, it will be a celebration to remember.
Out of the 82 Division II talents, 42 players influenced the offensive side of the ball.
No quarterback from the Division II level made a roster spot during the regular. However, former Texas A&M Commerce signal caller Luis Perez was on the Los Angeles Rams roster during the preseason.
Perez is still playing football professionally as he was selected in the first round (fifth-overall) of the AAF Quarterback Protect and Pick Draft. He will eventually make it to the NFL.
But there were plenty of wide receivers (13) and offensive linemen (15), with Kansas City Chiefs superstar receiver Tyreek Hill (West Alabama) and NFL Regional Combine pioneer, and Minnesota Vikings leading wideout, Adam Thielen (Minnesota State-Mankato) – who broke a long standing NFL history record of being the first wide receiver to receive at least 100-plus yards in the first eight games to start a season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen and Oakland Raiders Denzelle Good are starters.
There are three kicking specialists in the mix, including Rams Pro Bowl kicker Greg Zuerlein.
Tight ends (nine) and running backs (five) rounded out the rest with standout pass catcher Delanie Walker (Central Missouri) and Pro Bowl running back Chris Ivory (Tiffin University).
Four teams–the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers–have the most Division II players with six, while the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins and New England Patriots had no player from the lower Division on their rosters.
With the solid pool of talent gearing up for the 2019 season, there will be a tremendous number of athletes for NFL teams to build a championship team – including some of those from the Division-I rankings as well.
-AMIR HALL (BOWIE STATE) – 6-4, 180-pounds dual threat – Calculated runner, not fast, but can get to his spot, decent release, smart, strong arm, strong. A 2018 Harlon Hill finalist, HBCU Gameday Player of the Year winner. Completed .650 percent of his passes (354 out of 545 attempts) and threw for the most yards in the country (4,152), including 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Averaged 319.4 passing yards and 27.23 completions per game.
-LAYTON RABB (MSU TEXAS) – 6-4, 211-pounds, pro-style quarterback – Gunslinger, accuracy on the run, good touch, moves well in the pocket. A 2018 Harlon Hill nominee. D2CCA All-Super Region Four. Completed 214 passes out of 369 attempts for 3114 passing yards, including 29 touchdowns and six interceptions.
-BARRETT RENNER (SOUTHERN ARKANSAS) – 6-3, 215-pounds, Play-action quarterback – Quick-read ability, recognizes coverage, good instinct, great touch over the middle, accuracy throwing deep, mobile. Completed 222 passes out of 330 attempts for 2804 yards, including 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Led all seniors in completion percentage at .673.
-BART WILLIAMS (GVSU) – 6-6, 225-pounds, pure pocket passer – Strong arm, throw receivers open, great in the redzone, manipulates the pocket, patience, calm. A 2018 Harlon Hill nominee. Completed 165 passes out of 306 attempts for 2556 yards, including 21 touchdowns and six interceptions.
-CHANCE STEWART (HILLSDALE) – 6-6, 244-pounds – Solid arm, can make all the throws, commands the pocket, good feet, hard to bring down, athletic. A 2018 Harlon Hill finalist. Hillsdale’s all-time leader in passing yards (10,064). Completed 245 passes out of 396 attempts for 3588 yards (third most in the nation), including 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
-EASTON STICK (NORTH DAKOTA STATE) – 6-2, 221-pounds – Confident, great pocket presence, athletic, poised, great feet, accuracy, smart, strong arm, good touch and vision. Finished with 2,554 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and five interceptions. Also ran for 11 touchdowns.
-ISAAC HARKER (COLO. SCH. OF MINES) – 6-0, 195-pounds – Loves to extend plays with legs, athletic, but runs as a third option, rifle arm, quick release, good feet, moves well in the pocket. Honorable Mention All-America. Completed 280 passes out of 421 attempts for 3,858 yards (second most in the nation), while averaging the second most yards at 321.5 per outing. Led the country in touchdown passes at 39 (12 interceptions) and finished fourth in the nation for completion percentage at .665.
-BRAXTON MARSHALL (EMPORIA STATE) – 6-2, 205-pounds, play-action quarterback – Instinctive, mobile, quick feet, good touch, commands the pocket, agile, gutsy, elusive. A 2018 Harlon Hill finalist. Completed 274 passes out of 448 attempts for 2,734 yards, including 24 touchdowns and six interceptions.
-BLAKE GIMBEL (SOUTHWEST MINN. ST.) – 6-4, 210-pounds – Always throwing down hill, strong sideline thrower, great touch, especially over the middle, good vision, physical, strong, confident. Completed 293 passes out of 470 attempts for 3,381 yards, including 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
-AJEE PATTERSON (NEW HAVEN) – 6-2, 210-pounds – solid intermediate passer, strong, extremely athletic, strong arm, extends plays with his legs, accuracy deep ball passer, smart, eyes always down field, runs only when necessary, does not take big hits. A 2018 Harlon Hill nominee. Set all-time school record for passing yards (10,128), third in Northeast-10 Conference history to surpass 10,000 yards mark. Completed 216 passes out of 336 attempts for 2,878 yards, including 29 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
-JAKE SULLIVAN (SOUTH DAKOTA MINES) – 6-0, 195-pounds – Will continue to play football, but in Germany as he furthers his education.
– IOSUA OPETA (WEBER STATE) – 6-3, 305-pounds – Athletic, agile. Former defensive tackle. Played in 37 career games. Helped form a balanced line which propelled Weber State into the FCS playoffs for two straight seasons.
– TYLER DROB (WEST CHESTER) – 6-3, 280-pounds – Quick, elusive, great run blocker, solid pulling guard, understands defensive coverage. Led an offensive line that empowered West Chester to rank in the top ten of major offensive categories.
– TREY PIPKINS (SIOUX FALLS) – 6-7, 300-pounds – great feet and hands, smart, agile – Preseason All-American.
– JEREMY KING (VALDOSTA STATE) – 6-1, 315-pounds – A 2018 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award finalist. Started 44 career games. Anchored a Blazers team that went 10-0 this season with a Gulf South Conference title
-STEVE GAVIGLIA (SLIPPERY ROCK) – 6-3, 290-pounds – Was a part of an offensive line that ranked in the top ten in passing and fourth down conversions.
-MICHAEL FLEMING (EAST STROUDSBURG) – 6-4, 300-pounds – leadership, anchor.
-JAMIE COLON (SHEPHERD) – 6-2, 285-pounds – Earned First-Team All-MEC honors last year for anchoring an offensive line that produced 45.56 points per game.
-DEVON JOHNSON (FERRIS STATE) – 6-7, 315-pounds – loves to impose his will on the inside and quick to get out to the perimeter to pave the way.
-QUENTIN STANFORD (WEST GEORGIA) – 6-4, 312-pounds – solid pass protector and run blocker.
-TRAPPER WARD (MINNESOTA-DULUTH) – 6-5, 295-pounds – Always in attack mode on the turf, humanitarian.
-JASON ANDERSON (MINNESOTA-DULUTH) – 6-3, 294-pounds – Good feet, smart, very strong.
-WES HILLS (SLIPPERY ROCK) – 6-2, 225-pounds – Elusive for his size, light on his feet, strong, powerful stiff arm, quick in the open field, not a bruising runner, but can be. Finished third in the country, but led all seniors in rushing yards with 1,714 off 246 carries and 17 touchdowns.
-MARCUS JONES (GANNON) 5-11, 225-pounds – Extremely athletic, solid pad level, fast, great in the open field, power. Finished third in the country in average rushing yards per game, but led all seniors (155.3). Finished with 1,708 rushing yards off 277 carries and 21 touchdowns.
-JAKE MAYON (NORTHERN MICHIGAN) – 5-9, 200-pounds – Shifty, patience, decent hands, runs good routes, good speed, great feet and vision, solid. A 2018 Harlon Hill nominee. Finished with 1,541 rushing yards off 263 carries and 14 touchdowns.
-DEVONTAE JACKSON (WEST ALABAMA) – 5-7, 176-pounds – Versatile, good speed and hands, explosive, gritty, great feet, A 2018 Harlon Hill Finalist. Finished with 1,320 rushing yards off 215 carries and 12 touchdowns.
-CONNOR SILVERIA (SOUTH DAKOTA MINES) – 5-10, 215-pounds – Had great pad level, agile, good hands out backfield, strong, smart, patience, good feet, strong, runs hard. Set a D-II football rushing record of 425 yards in a single-game. Finished ninth in the country in all-purpose yards at 168.67 per outing. Finished with 1,220 rushing yards off 158 carries and 12 touchdowns in nine games. In addition, had 248 receiving yards.
-CRAIG REYNOLDS (KUTZTOWN) – 5-10, 215-pounds – Solid receiver out the backfield, versatile threat, strong, shifty, great vision, awareness and hands, balance, excellent stop-start-and-go ability, great in the open field. Recorded 615 rushing yards off 111 carries and 11 touchdowns. In addition, had 29 receptions for 388 yards and three touchdowns – all in eight games. Finished with 5,277 All-Purpose yards and 46 touchdowns at Kutztown.
-XAVIER TURNER (TARLETON ST.) – 5-10, 230-pounds – Has breakaway speed between the tackles, solid pound for pound, great speed for size, good vision, good stop-start-and-go speed, decent hands, powerful runner when need. A 2018 Harlon Hill nominee. 2018 Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Finished with 1,469 rushing yards off 228 carries and 22 touchdowns, fifth best in the nation, led all seniors.
-ELI PARKS (SOUTHERN CONN. ST.) – 5-10, 195-pounds – The 2018 ECAC Division II Offensive Player of the Year. Finished with 1,240 rushing yards off 246 carries and 12 touchdowns.
-CEDRIC COOPER (CENTRAL WASH.) – 5-11, 185-pounds – Elusive, solid cutting ability, smart, great vision, agile, good vision, hand and feet. Finished with 1,025 rushing yards off 152 carries and 17 touchdowns. In addition, had 29 receptions for 275 yards.
-KERRION MOORE (WINSTON SALEM) – 5-10, 195-pounds – A leadership, has great awareness on the field, slippery, great feet, good hands, has breakaway speed, great pad level, solid, good stop-start-and-go ability. Finished with 848 rushing yards off 165 carries and 17 touchdowns.
-VINCENT JOHNSON (MSU TEXAS) – 5-11, 198-pounds – Explosive first step, has breakaway speed in the open field, good pad level, good vision, confident runner, has a nose for the endzone. Finished with 1,037 rushing yards off 148 carries and 15 touchdowns in 10 games.
-CHAD HOVASSE (ADAMS STATE) – 6-1, 215-pounds – Tough, hard to bring down, soft hands, catch well in traffic, physical, blocks well in the open, great awareness. A 2018 Harlon Hill nominee. Finished as the school’s all-time receiving leader. Completed season with 1,356 receiving off of 104 receptions and 19 touchdowns.
-TREY BROCK (HILLSDALE) – 6-3, 212-pounds – Solid deep ball threat, discipline route runner, good awareness, great hands, good speed. Led the nation in receiving yards with 1,422. Had 79 receptions and 17 touchdowns.
-KARONCE HIGGINS (SOUTHERN ARKANSAS) – 6-1, 190-pounds – Physical, quick off snap, elite breakaway speed, fiery – Track and field background. All-purpose talent. A 2018 Harlon Hill Finalist. Finished with 1,063 receiving yards off 66 receptions.
-CORY CONTINI (OLD DOMINICIAN) – 6-1, 195-pounds – reliable hands, good speed A 2018 Harlon Hill nominee
-ASHTON DULIN (MALONE) – 6-2, 210-pounds – Multi-everything, return specialist threat, smart, good feet, great hands, good one-step-cut talent. A 2018 Harlon Hill nominee. Finished second in the nation in All-purpose yards average at 194.70 per game. Completed season with 984 receiving yards, 836 kickoff return yards and 120 rushing yards on 104 plays.
-KYRION PARKER (CENTRAL MISSOURI) – 6-4, 204-pounds – Good speed, positions body well, quick feet, deceptively quick on cuts for his size. A 2018 Harlon Hill nominee. Finished with 819 receiving yards off 40 receptions and 12 touchdowns.
-ISAIAH MANLEY (SOUTH DAKOTA MINES) – 5-11, 175-pounds – Extremely quick, great hands, explosive, calculated runner, smart, picks his spots well, solid route runner. Finished sixth in the country in All-Purpose yards average at 178.55 per contest. Registered 1,223 receiving yards and 671 kickoff return yards, including 13 touchdowns.
-ARDELL BROWN (SETON HILL) – 5-11, 175-pounds – Student of the game, playmaking ability, aggressive towards the ball, good speed, explosive in the open field, solid game day speed, great hands. Finished fifth in the nation in receiving yards with 1,267 off 81 receptions and nine touchdowns.
-JU’AN WILLIAMS (NEW HAVEN) – 5-10, 185-pounds – Strong, good hands, polished, savvy, good fundamentals. Finished with 1,171 receiving yards off 65 receptions and 11 touchdowns.
-JAMES BRANIA-HOPP (WASHBURN) – 6-0, 200-pounds – Confident, emotional, passionate, big play potential, strong hands, good leaping ability, good game day speed. Finished tenth in the nation in receiving yards with 1,144 off 62 receptions, including 422 kickoff return yards and a touchdown.
-KYLE HILL (SAINT ANSELM) – 5-10, 180-pounds – Discipline route runner, great in the slot, catch ball at the highest point, attack the ball, return specialist, dangerous in the open field. In 40 career games, finished with 2,336 receiving yards off 201 receptions with 21 touchdowns and 2,707 all-purpose yards.
-(TE) VINCENT HOBBS (TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE) – 6-3, 255-pounds – huge target, great hands, athletic, solid in traffic, catches with his hands, protects his body, nasty, great feet like a receiver. Finished with 343 receiving yards off 35 receptions and four touchdowns.
-(TE) QUA BOYD (WEST ALABAMA) – 6-5, 245-pounds – Catches ball at highest point, high football IQ, agile, good speed, legitimate redzone threat – Earned All-American honors. Finished with 562 receiving yards off 46 receptions and seven touchdowns.
-(TE) SETH HEBERT (CENTRAL MISSOURI) – 6-4, 225-pounds – Can run any route tree, good/strong hands, great burst, breakaway speed, can find the right spots on the road, shifty, good foot work, leadership qualities.