It was a couple of beautiful days in Daytona Beach, Florida, for the 2022 FCS Bowl. I was on hand to observe, not only the talent, but numerous scouts from the NFL, CFL, USFL and XFL in attendance. There was even a HC/GM from one of the leagues there as well, which tells you the importance of the event and the quality of talent on display.
One of the reasons why you see teams there is because obviously you want to leave no stone unturned -- you don't want to be the one team who missed out on knowing about the next training camp and preseason sensation -- and more selfishly for scouts, you want to be the one to have "discovered the next" prospect.
So everyone there from teams to players had a vested interest. And the talent didn't disappoint. A few of the guys we spotlighted in last week's Hunt Report stood out, especially DL Tyler Tate from Millersville, who ended up taking home the Defensive MVP award. QB Fred Payton of Mercer took home Offensive MVP.
Performing well in this all-star game definitely has some advantages, as we will see a few guys get elevated to the Tropical Bowl in January, which is also put on by FCS Bowl founder Michael Quartey, and some may even earn invites to other all-star game events.
Here are a few players who caught my attention during the weekend:
- RB Aaron Dawson (Valparaiso)
- RB Canaan Brooks (Emporia State)
- RB Fred Jackson (Mercer)
- OL Aaron Byrd (Valparaiso)
- OL Rehoboth Chibesa (Texas A&M-Commerce)
- OL Tucker Gaudette (Castleton)
- OL Skyler Spetter (Butler)
- WR Micah Small (Southern Arkansas)
- WR Jerome Kapp (Kutztown)
- WR Joshua Okechukwu (Fort Hays State)
- WR Elijah Harper (Adams State)
- DL Chuck Manning Jr. (Austin Peay)
- DL Weslee Moeai (Rocky Mountain College)
- EDGE Keiondre Hall (Pittsburg State)
- DB Hunter Nichols (San Diego)
- DB Kiefer Askew (John Carroll)
- DB Kyeon Taylor (Kean)
- DB Brennan Ray (Montclair State)
(For some practice clips from workouts Friday and Saturday, click here.)
HBCU Pigskin Showdown
This week, the second-annual HBCU Pigskin Showdown takes place on the campus of the Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama, which is located just west of Selma. It is the first HBCU-only all-star game out of the gate, which gives prospects hailing from Historically Black Colleges and Universities a chance to get seen in front of scouts and hopefully earn an invitation to either the HBCU Combine and/or HBCU Legacy Bowl later in February.
Just like every other college all-star game, prospects will compete in three padded practices before going through a walkthrough on the fourth day in preparation for the game Saturday, Dec. 17.
Here are a few players I am keeping an eye on as this week's events kick off:
QB Dion Golatt Jr.
- College: Bowie State
- Height: 6-1
- Weight: 215
I am very familiar with Golatt's game, having been the color analyst on a few of his games back at Morgan State. Golatt transferred to nearby Bowie State and was able to fully blossom at the position. He's unafraid of driving the ball deeper downfield and gets really good accuracy on those passes as well. If the receiver has a step, Golatt consistently shows the ability to put the ball out in front to where only his guy can get it.
OL Chris Simon
- College: South Carolina State
- Height: 6-4
- Weight: 300
One thing about Bulldogs coach Buddy Pough is that he will have a pro prospect along the offensive line, and Simon is the next one up. I got the chance to watch him live versus Morgan State this year, and I thought he more than held his own on the right side. He's got really good footwork for the position, showing a good burst in his kick slide while also being able to climb to the second level with ease in the run game. Where he shows consistency is being able to mirror and redirect a defender, and a lot of that is due to the aforementioned footwork. I'd be interested to see what his official measurements will be, as he could be a candidate to kick inside at the professional level.
DL Davoan Hawkins
- College: Tennessee State
- Height: 6-2
- Weight: 286
Hawkins displays fantastic point-of-attack strength and quickness. The quickness doesn't surprise me as much as how stout he is up front. He has an ability to anchor, hold his ground, disengage from the block and get into the backfield to make a play. He's probably best suited as a 3-technique as a pro, but how he's played at Tennessee State, the former Kentucky transfer has shown very good flexibility and versatility to be moved across the defensive line.
S Jaleel Scroggins
- College: Shaw University
- Height: 5-10
- Weight: 190
Arguably one of the more instinctual defenders in this game. Scroggins embodies the old football saying that "a play doesn't care who makes it, it just wants to be made." That's all he's done his entire career. You can tell that he was well coached down at Shaw by head coach Adrian Jones. He's a terrific alley defender who understands zone coverage and is an asset in run support. You'd think he's an outside linebacker with how comfortable he is close to the line of scrimmage. Scroggins also brings tremendous value as a blitzer off the corner. You'll start to hear his name a lot as this process rolls along.
Check out the full roster here: https://www.hbcupigskinshowdown.com