Greetings 49er Faithful, and welcome to college football's bowl season! With college football's postseason upon us, it is officially the final stretch of the NFL regular season, which means the giddiness of the draft portion of the NFL offseason is fast approaching - a godsend for teams at the bottom of the barrel. It has been a cumbersome year for the 49ers, and thankfully, a full season of college football has healed some wounds with the expected 2017 draft class giving some fans a hopeful reason for a promising outlook heading into next season. Of course, it all hinges on Trent Baalke.
We kick things off with a rundown of the five college football bowl games occurring today, December 17. Many of the schools in action are not household names, but there are several notable draft-eligible prospects taking the field worthy of your attention, especially since the 49ers have a roster filled with players coming from little known schools. Before we get things started, I have listed the top five draft-eligible players both on the offensive and the defensive sides of the ball playing in today's match-ups. So, sit back, put your scouting hat on, and let's get things started with today's action.
Top 5 Players on Offense
RB Kareem Hunt, No. 3, 6'0" - 225 lbs., 4.59 40 - (3rd) - Toledo
RB Donnel Pumphrey, No. 19, 5'8" - 180 lbs., 4.43 40 - (4th) - SDSU
OG Nico Siragusa, No. 56, 6'5" - 330 lbs., 5.37 40 - (4th) - SDSU
RB Elijah McGuire, No. 15, 5'11" - 209 lbs., 4.50 40 - (4th-5th) - UL-Lafayette
OT Storm Norton, No. 74, 6'8" - 306 lbs., 5.18 40 - (6th) - Toledo
Top 5 Players on Defense
DT Treyvon Hester, No. 91, 6'3" - 300 lbs., 5.09 40 - (3rd) - Toledo
CB Damontae Kazee, No. 23, 5'10 - 190 lbs., 4.50 40 - (5th) - SDSU
OLB/ILB Steven Taylor, No. 41, 6'1" - 225 lbs., 4.77 40 - (5th) - Houston
OLB Tyus Bowser, No. 81, 6'3" - 240 lbs., 4.67 40 - (5th-6th) - Houston
OLB Calvin Munson, No. 54, 6'1" - 245 lbs., 4.78 40 - (6th) - SDSU
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico Lobos vs. UTSA Roadrunners
Conference Affiliations: Mountain West vs. Conference USA
Location: Albuquerque, NM | University Stadium
Game time: 11:00 AM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Oakley sunglasses and Enduro 25 backpack; Bluetooth earbuds; beanie; Gildan stadium blanket; cap; selfie stick.
New Mexico's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
RB Teriyon Gipson, No. 7, 5'8" - 182 lbs., 4.53 40 - (UDFA)
RB Teriyon Gipson is a home run hitting running back with excellent foot speed, explosion, and straight-line speed running to daylight pulling away from defenders. Averaging 9.23 yards per carry, Gipson displays great vision and instincts with good pad level running inside making consecutive moves in a short area to be elusive and great laterally speed and balance to turn the corner and win outside. A threat whenever he touches the ball, Gipson would likely be a change of pace rotational situational running back for the 49ers, and working exclusively out of the triple-option, he will need to improve as a pass catcher and show the eagerness and skill set in pass protection - a Tom Rathman requirement. Brings value in the return game.
Other Lobos to keep an eye on: OT/OG Reno Henderson, No. 75 - (UDFA) and ILB Dakota Cox, No. 49 - (UDFA).
UTSA's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
RB Jarveon Williams, No. 2, 5'9" - 200 lbs., 4.57 40 - (UDFA)
RB Jarveon Williams is a compact - thickly built, between the tackles runner displaying great patience and vision hitting the hole with nice power behind his pads getting low and through the cracks. Williams shows decent foot speed, has enough wiggle to make consecutive moves in a short area, but excels with his balance, patience, and instincts to win inside. Williams does not possess elite speed, but has some lateral quickness to bounce outside and the lean and momentum to always fall forward. Shows great effort and solid skills blocking out of the backfield and in pass protection. A situational rotational running back in the 49ers scheme, Williams will likely need to make an impact on special teams to garnish a roster spot.
Las Vegas Bowl Presented by Geico
Houston Cougars vs. San Diego State Aztecs
Conference Affiliations: American Athletic vs. Mountain West
Location: Las Vegas, NV | Sam Boyd Stadium
Game time: 12:30 PM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Oakley backpack; beanie; cap.
Houston's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
OLB/ILB Steven Taylor, No. 41, 6'1" - 225 lbs., 4.77 40 - (5th)
OLB/ILB Steven Taylor is an amazing and explosive athlete with tremendous speed and quickness running sideline-to-sideline chasing down ball carriers, wreaks havoc in the backfield as a punishing blitzer (superb closing speed), terrific instincts with a nose for the ball, plays with great suddenness, and is solid in coverage with excellent range. His gap penetration, awareness, burst, and spin moves off blockers are impressive, and has excellent run and chase skills with sound tackling. Taylor is an absolute playmaker and is one of the best blitzing linebackers in the game. A scheme diverse prospect, Taylor could easily fit as an inside linebacker in the 49ers 3-4 scheme, but will need to build up play strength for the next level in order to avoid losing battles against stout offensive lineman.
Other Cougars to keep an eye on: OLB Tyus Bowser, No. 81 - (5th-6th); CB Brandon Wilson, No. 26 - (7th-UDFA); and DE Cameron Malveaux, No. 94 - (7th-UDFA).
San Diego State's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
RB Donnel Pumphrey, No. 19, 5'8" - 180 lbs., 4.43 40 - (4th)
RB Donnel Pumphrey is a dynamic explosive versatile football player and a true home run hitter. Although not a powerful running back, Pumphrey bursts and hits the hole with authority, maintains low pad-level squirming his way to daylight exploding and separating from defenders with excellent vision, speed, elusiveness, and impressive strength. Pumphrey displays the Frank Gore factor in finding and slipping through dime-sized holes like a mouse, breaking tackles with impressive yards after contact and a knack to fall forward for extra yards. A nightmare in space, Pumphrey has tremendous change of directions skills running and making cuts with minimal loss of speed. A natural pass catcher, he also displays excellent receiving skills with solid hands, impressive ball skills, a smooth route runner, and terrific suddenness in and out of his breaks. Pumphrey is not a typical complimentary scatback, but a true well-rounded workhouse with an impressive inside and outside game, solid instincts, enough strength to pick up the difficult yards running through tackles, the suddenness to make defenders miss, and a dominant playmaker in space. His size will be an issue for some NFL teams with durability being an area of concern. Pumphrey is an ideal change of pace running back with the capability of playing all three downs for the 49ers, but will likely fit the "Shaun Draughn" role as the receiving threat out of the backfield causing havoc in open space.
Other Aztecs to keep an eye on: OG Nico Siragusa, No. 56 - (4th); CB Damontae Kazee, No. 23 - (5th); OLB Calvin Munson, No. 54 - (6th); DE Alex Barrett, No. 58 - (6th); SS Malik Smith, No. 12 - (7th-UDFA); OT Daniel Brunskill, No. 71 - (7th-UDFA); and OT Kwayde Miller, No. 75 - (7th-UDFA).
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. Toledo Rockets
Conference Affiliations: Sun Belt vs. MAC
Location: Montgomery, AL | Cramton Bowl
Game time: 2:30 PM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Fossil watch; coin; hat; beanie; Ogio duffel bag; Big Game autograph football.
Appalachian State's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
RB Marcus Cox, No. 14, 5'10" - 205 lbs., 4.57 40 - (7th-UDFA)
RB Marcus Cox is a consistent high production running back with a complete game. Cox runs with great power and balance displaying terrific vision and instincts showing the capability to find the open space and plant, burst, and accelerate slicing through gaps hitting daylight quickly. Although he shows decent pad level at times, he runs upright and does not consistently drive his legs after contact, but shows great foot speed and lateral agility making consecutive moves in a short area with elusive skills in a small area. Shows great athleticism and ball skills as a receiving threat out of the back field and shows good effort in pass protection. Does not possess the ideal size, speed, and bulk for the next level, but displays an all around game showing value as a rotational running back, and with Cox excelling in a zone scheme, would fit nicely in the 49ers system.
Other Mountaineers to keep an eye on: OLB Kennan Gilchrist, No. 6 - (7th-UDFA); OG/C Parker Collins, No. 75 - (7th-UDFA); and FS Alex Gray, No. 3 - (7th-UDFA).
Toledo's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
RB Kareem Hunt, No. 3, 6'0" - 225 lbs., 4.59 40 - (3rd)
RB Kareem Hunt is a physical and aggressive running back with nice burst, patience, vision, and power to his game. Good inside and outside of tackles, with great quickness and wiggle (terrific feet), plays with low pad level and excellent balance generating a lot of power in his stocky and thick frame, breaks tackles and always falls forward. Shows good speed bursting to daylight, but does not possess a second gear. Shows great vision and short area quickness, and displays solid reliable hands as a pass catcher (solid threat in the screen game). Hunt is a nimble bruiser with vision that can play in a zone or gap scheme and may be best utilized in a running back-by-committee due to style of play and injury concerns. An ideal 1-2 bruising punch opposite Carlos Hyde punishing defenders running hard with power.
Other Rockets to keep an eye on: DT Treyvon Hester, No. 91 - (3rd); OT Storm Norton, No. 74 - (6th); TE Michael Roberts, No. 80 - (6th); and FS DeJuan Rogers, No. 23 - (7th-UDFA).
AutoNation Cure Bowl Presented by Florida Hospital
UCF Knights vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves
Conference Affiliations: American Athletic vs. Sun Belt
Location: Orlando, FL | Camping World Stadium
Game time: 2:30 PM PT
Channel: CBS Sports Network
Live Stream: CBS Sports Live Video
Bowl gift swag: Sports watch; warm-up jacket and pants; portable charger; Dri-Fit long-sleeve shirt; backpack.
UCF's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
CB Shaquill Griffin, No. 10, 6'1" - 200 lbs., 4.57 40 - (7th-UDFA)
CB Shaquill Griffin offers a nice combination of size, length (long arms), strength, athleticism, speed, and leadership skills to the position. The former high school track athlete displays a good ability to play the ball down the field and judge the ball in the air with sound ball skills. Brings versatility to play safety and cornerback. Likely a practice squad prospect that will need to excel on special teams at the next level.
Other Knights to keep an eye on: CB D.J. Killings, No. 24 - (7th-UDFA) and FS/CB Drico Johnson, No. 21 - (7th-UDFA).
Arkansas State's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
DT Waylon Roberson, No. 94, 6'2" - 341 lbs., 5.47 40 - (7th-UDFA)
DT Waylon Roberson is a massive nose plugging, gap occupying, space eating defender that is extremely stout in the middle. Roberson displays a thick massive build with tree trunks for arms and excellent power in his game. He showcases impressive athleticism for his size and great first-step quickness. Shows the ability to easily command at the point of attack taking on front-side blocks occupying double teams allowing linebackers to stay clean. Roberson does not possess ideal lateral agility and speed, but has sound strength and power to hold his ground and push the pocket and clogs the middle building up the trash. Relatively still raw, Roberson's game should only improve at the next level and is a candidate to be a two-down run defender as a nose guard eating up space in the 49ers scheme. *UPDATE: Roberson will miss the Bowl game with a knee injury.
Other Red Wolves to keep an eye on: OLB Xavier Woodson-Luster, No. 55 - (7th-UDFA).
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles vs. Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
Conference Affiliations: Conference USA vs. Sun Belt
Location: New Orleans, LA | Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Game time: 6:00 PM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Fossil watch.
Southern Mississippi's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
C Cameron Tom, No. 70, 6'4" - 287 lbs., 5.17 40 - (7th-UDFA)
C Cameron Tom is an athletically gifted high football IQ center prospect with active hands and excellent ability and foot speed. The former high school track athlete displays superb athletic ability snapping the football and moving laterally with sound foot agility. Shows good fluidity in movement and shows great skill reaching the second level with quickness. Displays decent strength anchoring the pocket setting the base allowing the quarterback to step up in the pocket. Tends to be a waist bender and will need to gain functional strength at the next level. A back-up center prospect for the 49ers, Tom also displays the versatility to play all positions on the offensive line.
Other Golden Eagles to keep an eye on: SS D'Nerius Antoine, No. 12 - (7th-UDFA) and QB Nick Mullens, No. 9 - (7th-UDFA).
Louisiana Lafayette's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
RB Elijah McGuire, No. 15, 5'11" - 209 lbs., 4.50 40 - (4th-5th)
RB Elijah McGuire is a complete running back with good speed, explosion, quickness, and strength. A very productive and successful college running back, McGuire runs with an aggressive style breaking tackles running low, and although he does not have an elite explosive burst, he shows excellent patience and vision, impressive cuts, and runs with solid balance and a great lean. He has fluid feet, very agile, and good change of direction skills with great flexibility and tremendous balance. A threat in the passing game, he is a solid pass catcher with nice reliable hands (extends to make catch) and route running. As a complete running back, McGuire does everything well: running inside with solid power and agility, outside with excellent athleticism, good burst and speed, breaks tackles, causes defenders to miss with change of direction, and one of the better pass catchers out of the backfield with decent pass protection skills. Moreover, solid college production. An extremely athletic prospect, McGuire also joined the Ragin' Cajuns basketball program immediately after the completion of the 2015 college football season playing out the rest of the 2015-16 season (16 games) for the men's basketball squad. Would make an excellent pairing with Carlos Hyde as 1-2 punch rotational running back capable of playing all three downs.
Other Ragin' Cajuns to keep an eye on: CB Simeon Thomas, No. 8 - (6th-7th).