As the college football regular season winds down, we are starting to see some of the initial postseason all-star game invites and acceptances start to make their rounds.
A part of the postseason all-star game circuit that is very much commonplace is watching players who hail from the smaller schools compete against the prospects from the upper levels. You want to see how these guys are able to both measure up and level up to the competition. Guys who dominated at their level want to show scouts that they do indeed have the goods to succeed at the next level.
You also see players venture into some uncharted territories as well. For example, guys who were once college WRs being asked to put their hand in the dirt and play tight end. Or, some guys who were stars at a skill position are now being asked to give scouts a look at special teams, whether as a gunner or return specialist.
The earlier guys can get ahead of the curve while they are still in college, the better.
In this week's edition of The Hunt Report, I wanted to focus on a few prospects who have already made that position transition and also who can make an immediate impact on special teams, in a variety of ways.
(For last week's Hunt Report, be sure to click here.)
TE Alex Larson
- Year: Senior
- College: Saint John's (MN)
- Height: 6-5
- Weight: 225
Larson could be considered this year's Dan Arnold as a former Division III WR-turned-Pro TE. But Larson's transition to the tight end position has already started with the Johnnies. His athleticism and former receiver background is what instantly jumps out at you on film. It makes him almost your ideal flex TE who is capable of winning 1-on-1 matchups vs. defensive backs and shows the savvy to read coverages on the fly and be able to adjust his route accordingly. Larson has excellent hands and is able to win above the rim on a consistent basis. In his Johnnies career, he accumulated more than 1,100 yards on 87 receptions and 20 touchdowns. This season alone he has 12 scores. His development at Saint John's has been great, which shouldn't be a surprise as coach Gary Fasching is a SJU legend, running an outstanding program from a developmental standpoint. Larson isn't the first and won't be the last Johnnie we're talking about from a pro perspective. Next game: Nov. 12 vs. Bethel (MN)
TE Owen Glascoe
- Year: Redshirt junior
- College: Long Island University
- Height: 6-4
- Weight: 255
Glascoe is a tremendous TE prospect in the mold of current Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews. He's got an excellent, all-around game for the position. LIU uses him as an H-Back, flex TE and as an in-line player as well. By playing all three, he's showcasing his projectable skillset to pro scouts. What gets you most excited is how solid of a blocker he is at this juncture of his career. Glascoe is good on lead blocks as well as base and fold blocks, showing he's more than capable of holding his own at the point of attack versus a defender. When you get to the passing game, he also shines. He's got the ability to work himself open vs. man or zone coverage, uses his frame to his advantage, and has the soft hands you look for while also being strong at the catch point. He's the biggest shark in the Long Island sound who has pro scouts buzzing. Next game: Nov. 12 vs. Stonehill
LB Nathan East
- Year: Graduate student
- College: Samford
- Height: 6-0
- Weight: 230
I really like East's game. It is the combination of his eyes and acceleration that is impressive. He tracks the ball well and tends to take the proper angle to the ball carrier on a consistent basis. He's also a very disruptive player on both ends of defense. So far in his career he's racked up 20 QB hurries, 13 passes broken up and 18.5 tackles for loss. East fills up the stat sheet and is able to make impactful plays. I think he's a better blitzer than given credit for, and I could see him projected as an ILB for certain teams. He's played on the outside primarily at Samford and could also have a home as a WLB as well. Next game: Nov. 12 vs. Chattanooga
RB Geno Hess
- Year: Senior
- College: Southeast Missouri State
- Height: 5-8
- Weight: 225
Hess, to me, is a bit of a cross between the Atlanta Falcons' Caleb Huntley and the New Jersey Generals' Darius Victor. He's a compactly-built runner who is able to break a lot of weak arm tackle attempts. Very good contact balance in that regard. Also, he's got underrated burst and explosiveness. If you go back and watch his game against Northwestern State, you consistently see how he is able to lull defenders to sleep before exploding through a gap at the line of scrimmage, and be able to maintain that burst en route to the end zone. Hess became the all-time rushing leader in school history, racking up 3,475 yards and 44 rushing touchdowns during his time in Cape Girardeau. He's posted three straight seasons of double-digit rushing touchdowns and back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing campaigns. Next game: Nov. 12 vs. Eastern Illinois
WR/RET Ryan Carter
- Year: Senior
- College: Lenoir-Rhyne
- Height: 5-10
- Weight: 200
First off, credit to Lenoir-Rhyne's strength and conditioning coach, Trent Caldwell, because the Bears tend to have the "off the bus" look down to a science and Carter is another well-built receiver coming from this program. You can classify him as Mr. Versatility, as he's done a lot in his Bears career from being used in the run game (444 yards and four touchdowns), to his exploits in the passing game (104 receptions, 1,365 yards and seven receiving touchdowns). But I feel like what gives him a chance to make a dent in the professional ranks, especially as a rookie, would be his ability in the return game. Carter excels as both a kickoff and punt returner, boasting healthy return averages in both -- 30.6 and 12.2, respectively. He's got both physicality and explosiveness within his game and isn't one to take plays off when the ball doesn't come his way or in the run game. Next game: Nov. 12 vs. Tusculum