Seasons Greetings 49er Faithful! We continue our college football bowl coverage breakdown highlighting and profiling a few notable draft-eligible prospects you should pay attention to. This will help people build a list of names to know when we get into the offseason. For today's bowl action we take a look at Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion match-up, Louisiana Tech vs. No. 25 Navy match-up, and Ohio vs. Troy match-up. 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
*WR Carlos Henderson, No. 1, 5'11" - 191 lbs., 4.52 40 - (4th) - La. Tech
OT Antonio Garcia, No. 53, 6'7" - 302 lbs., 5.04 40 - (4th) - Troy
WR Zach Pascal, No. 6, 6'2" - 214 lbs., 4.47 40 - (6th-7th) - Old Dominion
WR Trent Taylor, No. 5, 5'8" - 178 lbs., 4.52 40 - (7th-UDFA) - La. Tech
WR Sebastian Smith, No. 6, 6'3" - 207 lbs., 4.59 40 - (7th-UDFA) - Ohio
Top 5 Players on Defense
SS Xavier Woods, No. 7, 5'11" - 219 lbs., 4.58 40 - (5th-6th) - La. Tech
DE Tarell Basham, No. 93, 6'4" - 262 lbs., 4.84 40 - (6th) - Ohio
DE Pat O'Connor, No. 52, 6'4" - 270 lbs., 4.92 40 - (7th) - Eastern Michigan
DT Casey Sayles, No. 44, 6'3" - 290 lbs., 5.05 40 - (7th-UDFA) - Ohio
ILB Blair Brown, No. 33, 6'0" - 240 lbs., 4.74 40 - (7th-UDFA) - Ohio
* = indicates junior status
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Old Dominion Monarchs
Conference Affiliations: MAC vs. Conference USA
Location: Nassau, Bahamas | Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium
Game time: 10:00 AM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; S’Well insulated drink bottle; Jabba Bluetooth speakers; drawstring backpack; beach towel; bowl pin.
Eastern Michigan's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
DE Pat O'Connor, No. 52, 6'4" - 270 lbs., 4.92 40 - (7th)
DE Pat O'Connor is a long-limbed athletic edge defender with a nice explosive quick first-step and is a disrupter in the backfield. O'Connor displays active and strong hands (heavy punch) at the point of attack, great dipping of the shoulder to bend (a natural bender) and flatten out bursting with great closing speed. Displays nice quickness and movement skills with impressive change of direction skills. He showcases a tenacious high-motor always hustling towards the action and has a nose for the football. Shows a great ability to set the edge with sound technique stacking and shedding (good functional strength). Displays the versatility to rush on both sides of the defensive line. An edge defender and pass rush specialist in the 49ers 3-4 scheme that brings a relentless high-motor, excellent work ethic, and tremendous toughness in his game.
Old Dominion's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
WR Zach Pascal, No. 6, 6'2" - 214 lbs., 4.47 40 - (6th-7th)
WR Zach Pascal is a big physical receiver with great speed and length. Pascal displays good explosion and burst off the line of scrimmage, does a great job working his strong hands and quick feet in concert to win at the point of attack (excellent size and strength to counteract when pressed), shows fluidity in route running, has the ability to break in and out of cuts and separate from defensive backs with nice suddenness. Pascal showcases a great ability to elevate attacking the football at its highest point with strong reliable hands (extends arms to make the catch), solid body control, and excellent ball skills (impressive vision to track passes over the shoulder). Showcases play making ability to take a short pass and explode and separate with elusiveness and running fast in pads. Has the versatility to line up in the slot, out wide, and in the backfield with impressive skills as a rusher displaying good vision and toughness, and displays great effort blocking downfield and out of the backfield. As a position of need for the 49ers, Pascal offers the toughness, physicality, sure hands, and NFL size to work and win at all three levels of the field with the versatility to line up at all skill positions, as well as bringing value in the return game.
Other Monarchs to keep an eye on: ILB T.J. Ricks, No. 47 - (UDFA) and CB Aaron Young, No. 27 - (UDFA).
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. Navy Midshipmen
Conference Affiliations: Conference USA vs. American Athletic
Location: Fort Worth, TX | Amon G. Carter Stadium
Game time: 1:30 PM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Finrod’s Festive Wear holiday sweater; football; beanie.
Louisiana Tech's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
*WR Carlos Henderson, No. 1, 5'11" - 191 lbs., 4.52 40 - (4th)
*WR Carlos Henderson is an explosive and highly productive playmaker with a nose for the end zone (scored five touchdowns in a game - twice). Henderson is a smooth and fluid quick-twitch receiver with excellent quick feet and the suddenness breaking in and out of his cuts exploding with elusiveness (very slippery after the catch) and great burst and speed. Displays impressive strong hands attacking and plucking balls in the air extending to make the grab, as well as top-notch vision and body control to make tough catches. Showcases excellent burst off the line of scrimmage and deep speed to take the top off coverages and terrific ball skills winning contested catches with savviness and tremendous ball skills. Henderson also displays the ability to take a short pass and run after the catch with a big gain utilizing his explosiveness, superb vision and instincts knifing and slipping through defenders with outstanding suddenness and making consecutive moves in a short area avoiding contact. Brings value in the return game as one of the top kick returners in the nation. With the devoid of playmakers at the receiving position for the 49ers, Henderson provides the reliability and consistent high production to be a playmaker in the 49ers scheme both as a receiver and a rusher, as well as a legitimate threat in the return game.
Other Bulldogs to keep an eye on: SS Xavier Woods, No. 7 - (5th-6th); WR Trent Taylor, No. 5 - (7th-UDFA); and QB Ryan Higgins, No. 14 - (UDFA).
Navy's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
WR Jamir Tillman, No. 4, 6'4" - 212 lbs., 4.57 40 - (UDFA)
WR Jamir Tillman is a big bodied athletic receiver with good speed, fluidity and smoothness as a route runner (very smart), and the length to win contested matches with strong reliable hands, excellent vision, and nice body control. The former high school basketball and track athlete display good burst and quick release off the line of scrimmage with the physicality and strength to be effective when pressed, decent suddenness breaking in and out of his cuts, and has decent sneaky speed (long strider). Shows the ability to elevate for the football attacking at its highest point (great end zone threat). Very strong and effective blocker down field and displays great hip flexibility swinging his hips blocking in space. Boasts NFL bloodlines as the son of former wide receiver Cedric Tillman. Jamir Tillman is a practice squad type receiver bringing great size, strength, excellent blocking skills, and strong hands for the 49ers with the developmental potential to be the team's 4th-5th wide receiver.
Dollar General Bowl
Ohio Bobcats vs. Troy Trojans
Conference Affiliations: MAC vs. Sun Belt
Location: Mobile, AL | Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Game time: 5:00 PM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Leather duffel bag; Pure Boom wireless headphones; Wilson souvenir game ball; RTIC SoftPak 40 cooler; Timely Watch Co. watch.
Ohio's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
DE Tarell Basham, No. 93, 6'4" - 262 lbs., 4.84 40 - (6th)
DE Tarell Basham is an athletic long-limbed (long arms) explosive edge defender with great first-step quickness and strength. A tenacious disrupter in the backfield, Basham displays a nose for the ball off the edge with good speed to power conversion, nice bend, good technique, and burst with closing speed finishing hitting with explosion. Will stand up and put hand in the dirt on either side of the edge, displays solid change of direction skills and impressive fluidity with nice agility and speed when stunting. Shows discipline on the edge (excellent at setting the edge) with solid skills stacking and shedding taking on front-side blocks with strength and the athletic ability to win against back-side blocks with balance, foot quickness, and closing speed. With the 49ers in serious need of edge defenders, Basham brings a disruptive force as a rotational pass rusher that can set the edge and a motor always running hot.
Other Bobcats to keep an eye on: WR Sebastian Smith, No. 6 - (7th-UDFA); DE Kurt Laseak, No. 99 - (7th-UDFA); DT Casey Sayles, No. 44 - (7th-UDFA); and ILB Blair Brown, No. 33 - (7th-UDFA).
Troy's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
OT Antonio Garcia, No. 53, 6'7" - 302 lbs., 5.04 40 - (4th)
OT Antonio Garcia is an underrated long-limbed offensive tackle with an excellent combination of size, athleticism, length (large wingspan), quickness, foot speed, and strength. The former high school basketball star utilizes his long arms, sound hand technique, a quick first-step, lateral quickness, balance, solid technique, and an impressive athletic ability to quick set easily mirroring defenders with suddenness and fluidity adjusting to movement sliding laterally and redirecting. Shows a great ability to anchor in pass protection dropping his weight and hips anchoring to engage power rushers. Plays with a natural knee bend, functional athleticism, and a fluidity that is truly impressive for a man his size. Displays great toughness and decent strength in the run game (needs to gain more functional strength) finishing blocks all the way to the whistle. Garcia has not allowed a sack all season in nearly 900 snaps, and he's credited with over 65 knockdown blocks this season. Garcia will immediately fill the swing tackle position for the 49ers giving competition to Zane Beadles and John Theus, and would eventually become the heir apparent to Joe Staley.
Other Trojans to keep an eye on: DE Junior Gnonkonde, No. 44 - (UDFA) and OLB William Lloyd, No. 23 - (UDFA).