The nature of a football player is to never give up. Can not give up on a play, on a down or any situation involving success on the field. But it all starts with not giving up on a dream.
For the Overlooked Unknown Talents (O.U.T) as they pursue the limited opportunities the NFL will present in 2020, the battle to get to the next level of football will be intense. These standouts were counted out by many – which is completely fine because these athletes did not count themselves out.
The NFL Regional Combine was once a symbol of hope for many NFL hopefuls. Now, platform is stage for a select few. Some of the O.U.T. Listers may have a chance for the generational changing workout session with the league. If not, it is back to the grind as these pioneers rely on themselves.
The only thing these trailblazers counted on were their blessings as they took advantage of every opportunity allotted to them, which got them this far.
From last year’s O.U.T List, 17 offensive players were invited to an NFL camp, however, seven skilled players made it to training camp–Arizona Cardinals running back Xavier Turner (Tarleton State), Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Ashton Dulin (Malone), Denver Broncos running back Devontae Jackson (West Georgia), Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Sua Opeta (Weber State), Los Angeles Chargers offensive lineman Trey Pipkins (Sioux Falls) and quarterback Easton Stick (North Dakota State) and Washington Redskins wide receiver Craig Reynolds (Kutztown).
With the influx of talent under the radar, it is time to place a beacon of light on several quality players for the NFL to recognize now. Whether team scouts want to keep some of these players on the hush-hush, let’s blow the horn loud – with pride – before the collegiate season starts.
The powerhouse talents are being showcased, why not the little guys?
JAKE MAIER (UC DAVIS) – 6-0, 200-pounds – Pro-style quarterback – Named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List – Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year. All-Big Sky first-team. Third team All-American. Threw for 3,931 passing yards, including 34 touchdowns and ten interceptions. He has patience in the pocket, does not force ball down the field, take advantage of what is given, solid touch, accurate, throw receivers open, smart, read defensive scheme well.
AUSTIN SIMMONS (SOUTH DAKOTA) – 6-1, 215-pounds – Honorable mention all- Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) honoree. Led the conference, and ranked fourth nationally with 3,124 yards passing during the regular season. Amassed 3,124 passing yards, including 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Strong arm, threw deep ball well, quick, athletic, has touch, tough, intense,
NOAH JOHNSON (ALCORN STATE) – 6-0, 195-pounds – Play-Action style quarterback – 2018 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year. 2018 SWAC Championship Offensive MVP. 2018 All-Conference First-Team. One of four finalists for the HBCU Player of the Year Award. One of 25 finalists for the Walter Payton Award (nation’s best player in the FCS). Finished with 2,207 passing yards, including 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions. On the ground, he rushed for 1,080 yards and 11 touchdowns. Strong arm, especially on the run, elite speed for the position, despite running ability Johnson has patience, good awareness, decent mechanics in the pocket.
CHASE FOURCADE (NICHOLLS STATE) – 6-0, 200-pounds – Play-action style quarterback – Named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List -Southland Conference Player of the Year, first player from the school to win award. All-Southland first-team. Finished with 2,930 passing yards, including 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Strong, mobile, athletic, good arm, very efficient, takes care of the ball, great vision as ball carrier.
DALTON SNEED (MONTANA) – 6-1, 207-pounds – Pro-Style quarterback – Named Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year. Led team in rushing and passing. Finished with 2,723 yards, including 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Agile, elusive, strong arm, throw the post and work the middle of the field well, good feet, fast, playmaking abilities for his position.
KENJI BAHAR (MONMOUTH) – 6-3, 190-pounds – Named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List – Finished with career-highs in passing yards (2,626), touchdowns (20), completions (207), and passing efficiency (139.6). Rushed the ball 53 times for 143 and three touchdowns. Athletic, smart with the ball, throws deep ball well, good solid, instinctive, ball, decent mechanics in the pocket, quick.
TYRIE ADAMS (WESTERN CAROLINA) – 6-2, 185-pounds – Dual threat quarterback – Named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List – Finished with 2,417 passing yards, including 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. Rushed the ball for 1,016 yards off 194 carries and 10 touchdowns. Throws a good deep ball, elusive, quick burst, throws on the run well, pocket awareness, playmaking scrambler.
NICK WATSON (TIFFIN) – 6-1, 195-pounds – Dual threat quarterback, when necessary – Finished with 2,983 passing yards, including 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Athletic, great speed for the position, improved his throwing motion from sophomore year – ball comes out quicker, throws deep ball well, stronger, throw pass catchers open, good touch, more patience in the pocket, solid football IQ.
JAYRU CAMPBELL (FERRIS STATE) – 6-5, 215-pounds – Dual threat quarterback – Named the Harlon Hill Trophy winner for 2018 (nation’s top Division-II player). AFCA First Team All-American quarterback. GLIAC Player of the Year. In the air, he finished with 2,931 passing yards, including 27 touchdowns and six interceptions. On the ground, he finished with 1,329 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Electric, good arm, elite speed for position, fighter, great vision, good feet.
WILLIE CANDLER (WEST GEORGIA) – 6-0, 195-pounds – Pro-Style quarterback – – All GSC Football Second-Team in 2018. Finished with 2,681 passing yards, including 25 touchdowns and four interceptions, and rushed for 399 yards and five touchdowns. Protects and takes care of the ball, makes great decisions, good awareness and vision, solid touch, especially over the middle, pocket awareness, good mechanics (which is important at the next level), smart, leader.
REECE METCALF (MCKENDREE) – 6-3, 205-pounds – Pro-Style, Play Action quarterback – Finished with 2,622 passing yards, including 27 touchdowns and four interceptions. Can make all the throws, good mechanics in the pocket, strong arm, good awareness, makes good decision, good touch on deep balls, deliver ball with confidence, steps into his throws.
MICHAEL BANDY (SAN DIEGO) – 5-10, 190-pounds – A consensus All-American in 2018 – Led the FCS in receiving yards in 12 games (1,698) last year. He also amassed 14 touchdowns. Quick burst, elite speed for position, good hands, tough, secures to ball, protects in body in flight.
MITCH GUELLER (IDAHO STATE) – 6-3, 220-pounds – Former minor league pitcher. Finished with 1,259 receiving yards with nine touchdowns. Has great hand-eye coordination, makes hand catches, decent speed, catches deep balls well, fundamentally sound, can be physical.
JOSH PEARSON (JACKSONVILLE STATE) – 6-4, 205-pounds – The 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award winner. Finished with 1,123 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Great character, athletic, great leaping ability and hands, attacks the middle of the field with confidence, fiery, aggressive, strong, legitimate redzone threat, uses body as an advantage.
JEQUEZ EZZARD (HOWARD) – 5-9, 195-pounds – FCS Preseason All-America Third Team. 2019 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Preseason All-Conference First Team. Finished with 1,064 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 10 games. Physical, plays with aggression, dynamic, catches ball is highest point, adjusts to the ball well, fearless, good after the catch, agile.
PETER ANDERSON (COLORADO MESA) – 5-11, 160-pounds – Finished with 1,344 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Slippery, elusive, good hands, excellent speed, good leaping ability, good foot.
BRODY OLIVER (COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES) – 6-3, 210-pounds – Captain. Associated Press First-Team All-America. D2CCA First-Team All-America. RMAC Academic Offensive Player of the Year. Finished with 1,339 receiving yards and 21 touchdown. Mechanics translates to the next level! Disciplined route runner, makes HAND CATCHES CONSISTENTLY, rarely lets ball touch body, break away speed, aggressive towards ball, plays with aggression, great hands and feet, catches ball at highest point.
SHANE ZYLSTRA (MINNESOTA STATE) – 6-5, 220-pounds – Finished with 1,261 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Catches well in traffic, good and feet hands, solid in the post, strong, has good awareness, dangerous against zone defenses.
CRAIG RUCKER (MARS HILL) – 5-7, 170-pounds – Finished with 1,234 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. Elite speed for the next level, break away, enjoys blocking, great in the open field, solid stop-start-go acceleration, solid in traffic, really strong for size, agile, elusive, not easy to bring down.
JUWAN JOHNSON (MSU TEXAS) – 5-10, 185-pounds – D2CCA All-Super Region Four First-Team. All-Lone Star Conference First-Team. Finished with 1,215 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games. Incredible leaping ability, flies off the line, good feet and hands, fighter, runs hard, great concentration.
DANIEL DAVIS (SOUTHWEST MINN. STATE) – 5-11, 175-pounds. First-team All-NSIC South. Third-team All-American. Finished with 1,113 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Slot receiver with breakaway potential, disciplined route running, can run the route tree, patience, locates his spots, great awareness, elusive after the catch, not easy to bring down, balance and control, comes back to the ball.
GABE WATSON (SIOUX FALLS) – 6-2, 219-pounds. Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Year in 2018. The D2CCA Super Region 4 Offensive Player of the Year in 2018. Preseason NCAA DII All-America First-Team. Finished with 1,957 rushing yards, 26 touchdowns in 11 games. Accelerates after contact, great burst, elite, breakaway speed for size, excellent vision, strong, tough hands, protects the ball high and tight.
NATE GUNN (MINNESOTA STATE) – 6-2, 220-pounds. Finished with 1,705 rushing yards, including 22 touchdowns. Physical, but can run away from defenders, strong hands, solid cutting ability, balance and control, keeps the ball high and tight, excellent pad level for size, powerful.
WALTER FLETCHER (BALL STATE) – 5-11, 192-pounds. PSAC West Offensive Player of the Year in 2018. Transferred from Edinboro. Finished with 1,624 rushing yards, including 17 touchdowns, in 11 games. Incredibly patience runner, excellent stop-start-go acceleration, breakaway speed, solid burst, elusive, sees a crease and hits it, protects the ball, good feet, strong hands, great balance, solid between the tackles.
TYRELL FREEMAN (CHOWAN) – 6-1, 210-pounds. 2018 All-Super Region Two First Team. 2018 All-CIAA First Team Running Back. Finished with 1,292 rushing yards, including 14 touchdowns. Old school style back combined with decent speed and power, physical, decent hands out the backfield.
ANTONIO WIMBUSH (CARSON-NEWMAN) – 5-10, 195-pounds. D2CCA All-Region. All-SAC First Team. Finished with 1,206 rushing yards, including seven touchdown off 151 carries. Work horse, explosive, agile, elusive, breakaway speed, solid in the open field, catches the deep ball, good hands, quick feet, great vision, accelerate through contact.
NELSON BROWN (CALIFORNIA UNIV. (PA)) – 5-11, 225-pounds. All-PSAC West Second-Team. Finished with 1,201, including 22 touchdowns. Physical, punishing ball carrier, will not beat around the edge, but attacks the middle to create break away opportunities, deceptively fast, disciplined ball handler, great feet, strong hands, solid vision, patience, balance, know his spots.
CHAWNTEZ MOSS (GRAND VALLEY STATE) – 5-11, 210-pounds. Finished with 1,028 rushing yards, including 11 touchdowns. Shifty, one-step-and-go burst between the tackles, decent hands out the backfield, breakaway ability, good pad level, protects ball high and tight, strong hands. Transferred from Pitt.
A.J. HINES (DUQUESNE) – 5-11, 220-pounds. 2018 NEC Offensive Player of the Year. 2018 ALL-NEC First-Team. 2018 ALL-ECAC First-Team. 2018 STATS FCS First-Team All-American. 2019 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award Watch List. Preseason First-Team All-American. Finished with 1,520 rushing yards, including 15 touchdowns. Power back that can hit the edge or explode up the middle, agile, elusive, do not that big shots, breakaway potential, strong, quick feet, secures ball.
DE’SHAWN WALLER (ALCORN STATE) 5-11, 209-pounds. STATS FCS All-America Third-Team. HBCU All-America. SWAC Newcomer of the Year. SWAC All-Conference First-Team. Finished with 1,215 rushing yards, including 12 touchdowns in 10 games. Great feet and awareness, has bounce, excellent stop-start-go ability, patience, hits the hole, feet always moving, balance, use blockers well, good vision, go the distance, stamina, elusive.
TAEYLER PORTER (ARK. PINE BLUFF) – 5-10, 185-pounds. Preseason All-American Third Team. Shifty, great feet, stop-start-go excellent, strong, tough, agile, good balance, quick, elite speed for the position, difficult to bring down, protects the ball, dangerous in the open field, especially on a screen, great vision.
WILLIAM WICKS (DAVIDSON) – 5-10, 172-pounds. Finished with 884 rushing yards and 342 yards receiving with 14 total touchdowns. Averaged 21.4 yards per catch and 9.0 yards per carry, posted 122.6 all-purpose yards per contest. Has elite speed, good feet, good awareness, accelerate after contact, goes the distance, soft hands, discipline route runner, has the potential to be special.
D.J. DAVIS (SOUTHERN ILLINOIS) – 5-8, 170-pounds. Preseason Missouri Valley Football Conference team. Ranked 14th in the country in all-purpose yards (140.3 per outing). All-around talent, including as a return specialist, plant-go, great speed and vision, pick his spots well, dangerous in space and open field, elusive, strong
AARON SAVAGE (NORFOLK STATE) – 5-11, 211-pounds. Named the team’s Offensive MVP for 2018. Led the Spartans in rushing for two consecutive years. Shifty, challenge any defender, one of the best blocking ball carriers in the country, great hands, agile, elusive, solid stop-start-and-go, great vision and awareness, balance, has control, discipline, decent catching ability, can run routes out the back field, patience.