South Carolina's Connor Shaw headlines the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl roster. Photo: USA Today Sports
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl tends to fly under the radar when discussing college football all-star games. Played on the same day as the more established and long-standing Shrine Game and a week before the Senior Bowl, the NFL's only officially licensed college all-star game is still a good opportunity for some players to have a chance to show what they can do in front of actual representatives of the NFL Player's Association. Here are some players fans will likely recognize looking to make an impact this weekend.
1. QB Connor Shaw, South Carolina
Connor Shaw has been flying under the radar for the last couple of years in the SEC, a conference that has seen a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, two-time BCS champion quarterback, SEC record-breaking quarterback. Heck, he has also been overshadowed on his own team by one of the top defensive players in the game. Shaw is certainly not short on toughness and has shown he is more than capable of running the South Carolina offense. Now how does he do outside of his comfort zone with a whole new cast of characters?
2. RB Trey Watts, Tulsa
Tulsa may have had a down year but running back Trey Watts certainly had a good season. Watts rushed for 1,329 yards and 11 touchdowns this season for the Golden Hurricane, and he has sleeper pick potential written all over him for the NFL Draft. Look for him to be a major contributor this weekend.
3. LB Chris Young, Arizona State
On the defensive side of the football there are some linebackers to keep an eye on. The first is Arizona State's Chris Young. Young recorded 112 tackles this season for the Sun Devils with 7.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. Look for Young to get a good amount of playing time and rack up some good defensive numbers to build some momentum toward the offseason workout schedule.
4. LB Jeremiah George, Iowa State
another linebacker to watch will be Iowa State's Jeremiah George. George had 133 tackles this season with 12 tackles for a loss and 83 solo tackles. Not much gets by George and that should be the case in this game as well. For Young and George, keep an eye on how well they move side to side and track down the ball carrier or read the quarterback. Those are what the scouts will be paying close attention to for each.
5. WR Isaiah Burse, Fresno State
Fresno State put up crazy numbers in the passing offense this season with quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Davante Adams, so it could be easy to overlook the work done by Isaiah Burse in one of the Mountain West Conference's top offenses. Burse had 1,026 receiving yards and six touchdowns this season as Fresno State's second-leading receiver. Good hands are one thing, but breaking away from defenders will be something to watch.