My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter does a nice job of breaking down the prospects in today's bowl games in this article , but I wanted to take a few moments to highlight a few others in today's trio of bowl games.
The most exciting prospects on the field for East Carolina and Maryland in today's Military Bowl happen to play the same position in receivers Dwayne Harris (ECU) and Torrey Smith (Maryland).
Kenny Tate , a junior free safety who has made some splashy plays this season and could be peeking ahead to the NFL, will have Harris in his sights.
For those looking for a sleeper in this contest, keep an eye on East Carolina left tackle Willie Smith . His athleticism is intriguing.
By listing Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor in my current first round mock draft , you probably get the idea of how high I believe Taylor is viewed by pro scouts. The 6-4, 340 pound defensive tackle projects nicely in the 4-3 and 3-4 scheme which could see him drafted higher than infinitely more famous DTs Stephen Paea and Drake Nevis.
In the Texas Bowl, however, I'll be focusing on a trio of Illinois underclassmen, all of whom are very much exploring their draft options.
Inside linebacker Martez Wilson jumps off the tape. He's the most exciting combination of size (6-4, 250) and athleticism of any draft-eligible inside linebacker I've scouted this year. He remains a work in progress in terms of instincts, but is one of the few senior/junior ILBs I see as a potential standout in the NFL.
Wilson is certainly helped by up front by one of the faster rising DT prospects in the country in Corey Liuget . The 6-3, 300 pounder is starting to blossom and earned Second Team All-Big Ten accolades this year with 54 tackles, 8.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks.
Running back Mikel LeShoure is one of a host of backs fighting to be ranked second behind Alabama's Mark Ingram as possible 2011 franchise runners. His thick frame and surprising burst could help him achieve that status.
Finally, in the Arizona-Oklahoma State showdown of the Alamo Bowl, I'll can't wait to see these two high-powered offenses go at it. There are a host of prospects to watch (including some guy named Blackmon), most of whom Chad highlighted in his preview (again, the link is here ) but one he mentions just in passing is Wildcat receiver Juron Criner , a 6-4 210 pound vertical threat that star quarterback Nick Foles targets often. I'm not as high on Criner (or Foles, for that matter) that some others seem to be, but each is considering making the jump to the NFL and therefore I'll be watching them closely tonight -- as should you.