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December 23rd bowl game draft prospects for 49ers fans to watch

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We highlight and profile the 2018 NFL draft-eligible prospects for Texas Tech vs. South Florida, San Diego State vs. Army, & Appalachian State vs. Toledo college football bowl games on Saturday, December 23.

Nevada v San Diego State
Rashaad Penny
Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images

Season’s 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. In today’s bowl action we take a look at Texas Tech vs. South Florida match-up, San Diego State vs. Army match-up, and Appalachian State vs. Toledo match-up.

For today, we specifically focus on areas of positional needs for the 49ers. Wide receiver, cornerback, guard, and the edge position are highlighted, and although none of the prospects are first round game changers, there are a few Day 2 and Day 3 draft-eligible players to keep an eye on. So, sit back, put your scouting hat on, and let's get things started with today's action.

* = indicates junior status

Birmingham Bowl

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. South Florida Bulls

Conference Affiliations: Big 12 vs. American Athletic
Location: Birmingham, AL | Legion Field
Game time: 9:00 AM PT
Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Oakley sunglasses; beanie; Big Game football

Texas Tech's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
*WR Keke Coutee, No. 2, 5’11” - 180 lbs., 4.41 40 - (4th)

Kansas State v Texas Tech
Keke Coutee
Photo by John Weast/Getty Images

Junior wide receiver Keke Coutee has a big decision to make after the Birmingham Bowl. To turn pro, or return to school. The explosive Coutee stands out in a very deep wide receiver corps the Red Raiders employ in their pass-heavy offense. A menace in open space, Coutee bursts with elite speed, fluid movement, and the suddenness to be extremely elusive. He is a true explosive playmaker capable of hitting a home run whenever he touches the ball.

Coutee displays tremendous quickness, agility, and athleticism with quality hands. He has an explosive burst off the line and is extremely quick getting in and out of his breaks with elite suddenness erupting out of his cuts creating separation from defenders accelerating to top speed in a hiccup. An ideal slot receiver with the versatility to move around the formation taking advantages of his athleticism and the speed to stretch the field taking the top off coverages. Brings value in the return game as well.

Texas Tech's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
WR Dylan Cantrell, No. 14, 6’3” - 220 lbs., 4.56 40 - (5th)

Arizona State v Texas Tech
Dylan Cantrell
Photo by John Weast/Getty Images

WR Dylan Cantrell stands out as a physical 6-foot-3-inch possession type receiver with reliable hands and a savviness in his game. He lacks ideal speed and athleticism, but display impressive suddenness in marriage with his physicality to separate and find enough space to win in a crowd. Excels in short and intermediate levels and provides the toughness and reliability to be a chain mover.

Other Red Raiders to keep an eye on:
QB Nic Shimonek, No. 16, 6’3” - 225 lbs., 4.90 40 - (7th)
WR Cameron Batson, No. 13, 5’9” - 170 lbs., 4.37 40 - (6th)
WR Derrick Willies, No. 11, 6’4” - 210 lbs., 4.50 40 - (6th)

South Florida’s draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
CB Deatrick Nichols, No. 3, 5'10" - 189 lbs., 4.47 40 - (4th)

Central Florida v South Florida
Deatrick Nichols
Photo by Jason Behnken / Getty Images

CB Deatrick Nichols is a strong and physical (no fear) corner that plays bigger than his size indicates with a nose for the football. He showcases good flexibility, balance, fluid hips, quick feet, solid change of direction skills, and the explosion and speed to ride the receiver downfield staying on the hip pocket. A physical, yet patient corner, Nichols displays excellent awareness (makes a lot of plays with his eyes), speed, and football intelligence impressively skilled in off and zone coverages, where he shows quick read and reaction skills, burst with impressive closing speed, and excellent ball skills (11 career interceptions and 23 pass deflections). Nichols is a fierce and reliable tackler hitting with explosion (he brings the wood) showcasing the desired grit and eagerness in run support, and closes with purpose playing with intensity. If he was taller, his stock would be higher.

Other Bulls to keep an eye on:
QB Quinton Flowers, No. 9, 6'0" - 210 lbs., 4.57 40 - (7th-UDFA)
RB D'Ernest Johnson, No. 2, 5'10" - 208 lbs., 4.52 40 - (6th)
RB Darius Tice, No. 13, 5'10" - 211 lbs., - (7th-UDFA)
WR Marquez Valdes-Scanting, No. 11, 6'3" - 207 lbs., 4.59 40 - (6th)
C Cameron Ruff, No. 74, 6'3" - 320 lbs., - (7th-UDFA)
DT Deadrin Senat, No. 10, 6'1" - 305 lbs., 5.12 40 - (7th)
DT Bruce Hector, No. 60, 6'2" - 295 lbs., - (7th-UDFA)
ILB Auggie Sanchez, No. 43, 6'2" - 244 lbs., 4.89 40 - (7th-UDFA)
FS Tajee Fullwood, No. 13, 6'2" - 210 lbs., 4.57 40 - (7th-UDFA)

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

San Diego State Aztecs vs. Army Black Knights

Conference Affiliations: Mountain West vs. Independent
Location: Fort Worth, TX | Amon G. Carter Stadium
Game time: 12:30 PM PT
Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite.

For the Armed Forces Bowl, all the draft-eligible prospects will be from San Diego State. It is highly unlikely to see a prospect from Army making it into the NFL for the 2018 season.

San Diego State's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
RB Rashaad Penny, No. 20, 5’11” - 220 lbs., 4.52 40 - (3rd)

RB Rashaad Penny has impressively come out of the shadow of former explosive Aztecs - current Philadelphia Eagles - running back Donnel Pumphrey. With the keys to the backfield firmly in hand, Penny has shown to be an explosive and powerful runner showcasing great speed, short area quickness, vision, body control, and nice balance leaning forward gaining positive yards (needs better pad level consistency). He excels running between the tackles, but also possesses the speed and quickness turning the corner on the outside. He is adept showcasing his decisiveness to cut and turn up the field with impressive foot quickness accelerating through his cuts displaying amazing stop and go suddenness in traffic blazing to top speed quickly separating from defenders.

Penny offers the versatility as a receiver out of the backfield and split out wide with natural hands and flexible body control. He is a versatile athlete easily capable of running inside and outside succeeding in both zone and gap schemes, as well as being a dynamic threat in the return game (7 career KR touchdowns and 1 PR touchdown).

Other Aztecs to keep an eye on:
FB Nick Bawden, No. 15, 6’3” - 245 lbs., 4.88 40 - (7th-UDFA)
WR Mikah Holder, No. 6, 6’0” - 185 lbs., - (UDFA)
TE David Wells, No. 88, 6’5” - 255 lbs., 4.94 40 - (5th-6th)
CB Kameron Kelly, No. 7, 6’2” - 200 lbs., 4.58 40 - (7th)

Dollar General Bowl

Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. Toledo Rockets

Conference Affiliations: Sun Belt vs. MAC
Location: Mobile, AL | Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Game time: 6:00 PM PT
Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Amazon Echo; Maui Jim sunglasses; Timely Watch Co. watch; Wilson football.

Appalachian State's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
OG Colby Gossett, No. 70, 6’6” - 315 lbs., 5.43 40 - (6th)

OG Colby Gossett is an athletic quick footed guard prospect showcasing impressive fluid lateral movement and explosion to reach the second level promptly. Adept in a zone blocking scheme, Gossett displays the ideal frame, length, and movement speed using angles well (shows great hip flexibility) finishing blocks all the way to the whistle. He shows impressive lateral agility adjusting to movement and using his hands to stifle and steer defenders. He flashes a good anchor, but has a tendency to lose on leverage with high pad level and will need to improve technique as well as functional strength at the next level. A very smooth athlete with the versatility to play the tackle position.

Other Mountaineers to keep an eye on:
QB Taylor Lamb, No. 11, 6’2” - 200 lbs., 4.79 40 - (UDFA)
OT/OG Beau Nunn, No. 50, 6’4” - 300 lbs., 5.09 40 - (UDFA)
+DE Tee Sims, No. 42, 6’3” - 260 lbs., 4.93 40 - (UDFA) Out for the year with triceps injury.
ILB Eric Boggs, No. 45, 6’3” - 235 lbs., 4.84 40 - (6th-7th)
SS Devan Stringer, No. 28, 5’11” - 200 lbs., 4.64 40 - (UDFA)

Toledo's draft-eligible prospect to keep an eye on:
*DE/OLB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, No. 9, 6’2” - 252 lbs., - (3rd)

Toledo v BYU
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

LEO Olasunkanmi Adeniyi “Ola” is an explosive edge defender that wreaks havoc in the backfield (19.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks). Although undersized and shows scheme limitations at the next level, Ola is an ideal LEO defender in the 49ers defensive scheme utilizing his burst, penetrating speed, fluid change of direction skills, and the ideal bend (nice dip of the shoulder) you love to see from your edge defenders. A true disruptive force, Ola displays decent size - a thick and stout frame - and is very athletic and strong with a relentless pursuit to the ball carrier. Showcases a tremendous quick first-step and a consistent high-motor always running hot. Displays solid strength at the point of attack and the versatility to stand up and play in space.

Other Rockets to keep an eye on:
QB Logan Woodside, No. 11, 6’2” - 201 lbs., 4.94 40 - (7th)
+WR Cody Thompson, No. 25, 6’1” - 200 lbs., 4.54 40 - (7th) Out for the year broken leg October 2017.
RB Terry Swanson, No. 2, 5’10” - 200 lbs., 4.60 40 - (UDFA)
OT Elijah Nkansah, No. 76, 6’6” - 315 lbs., - (UDFA)
OLB Ja’Wuan Woodley, No. 30, 5’11” - 233 lbs., 4.84 40 - (UDFA)

Player measurables courtesy of team pages. 40 times projected.