The Forgotten crash the 2017 NFL Combine

The NFL Scouting Combine is basically a meat circus in which hundreds of the world’s most buff athletes are required to perform feats of strength and agility before a national audience. Bring it on! Anything to fill the gap between the National Championship and opening week, right? While the NFL Combine is meant to measure an athlete’s potential as a professional football player, is it also a measure of college football conferences?

For example, the Big XII earned 19 invites. The AAC collected 18. Is the American as good as the Big XII? (How ironic, considering how dismissive the Big XII was to the AAC) Let’s examine another angle. The entire Group of Five received 56 invitations to the NFL Combine. The SEC alone gobbled 68. Is the G5 that far behind the SEC? Who knows? The Combine has become more than just an evaluation. It’s a media event. Perhaps the NFL knows that the more SEC (and Michigan) players attend, the better the TV ratings and website clicks.

But instead of writing another jaded column about NFL and Power Five greed, let’s celebrate the 56 athletes from the Group of Five who will be jumping, running, and lifting heavy objects before middle-aged men with clipboards.

How it breaks down by conference

The AAC was by far the big Combine winner in 2017, which will probably do nothing to stop AAC commissioner Mike Aresco from pushing his silly Power Six agenda. Still, 18 invites are impressive. Lagging behind, the Sun Belt, though it will see as many athletes in the Combine in 2017 as it did in 2015 and 2016 combined. Progress?

  • American 18
  • MAC 11
  • CUSA 11
  • Mountain West 11
  • Sun Belt 5

Meet the Forgotten of the NFL Combine

American

  • Rodney Adams, WR, South Florida
  • Tyus Bowser, LB, Houston
  • Dion Dawkins, OG, Temple
  • Jake Elliot, K, Memphis
  • Shaquill Griffen, DB, UCF
  • Nate Hairston, CB, Temple
  • Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
  • Keevan Lucas, WR, Tulsa
  • Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
  • Art Maulet, DB, Memphis
  • Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
  • Reddick Haason, OLB, Temple
  • Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane
  • Jahad Thomas, RB, Temple
  • Noel Thomas, WR, Connecticut
  • Michael Tyson, S, Cincinnati
  • Greg Ward Jr, WR, Houston
  • Howard Wilson, QB, Houston

Note: Two words: “Daaaaaamn, Temple!”  Also, Greg Ward Jr was getting Heisman buzz at QB, but is entering the Combine at wide receiver. 

MAC

  • Tarell Basham, DE, Ohio
  • Blair Brown, LB, Ohio
  • Collin Buchanan, OL, Miami (OH)
  • Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
  • Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois
  • Treyvon Hester, DT, Toledo
  • Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
  • Jerome Lane, WR, Akron
  • Taylor Moton, OG, Western Michigan
  • Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo
  • Cooper Rush, QB, Central Michigan

Note: Toledo brings the most MAC talent to the Combine, and if the recruiting buzz holds true, this is only the beginning of a Rockets dynasty.

CUSA

  • Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
  • Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic
  • Aaron Jones, RB, Texas-El Paso
  • Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
  • Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Charlotte
  • Zach Paschal, WR, Old Dominion
  • Hayden Plinke, TE, Texas-El Paso
  • Jonnu Smith, TE, Florida International
  • Taywon Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky
  • Trent Taylor, WR, Louisiana Tech
  • Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech

Note: It looks like another successful NFL draft for Skip Holtz and the Bulldogs

Mountain West

  • Daniel Brunskill, OT, San Diego State
  • Kevin Davis, LB, Colorado State
  • Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming
  • Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State
  • Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State
  • Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
  • Jaylen Robinette, WR, Air Force
  • Chase Roullier, C, Wyoming
  • Nico Siragusa, OG, San Diego State
  • Tanner Valejo, LB, Boise State
  • Hayden Hunt, P, Colorado State

Note: When you see all the NFL talent on San Diego State, you wonder if 2017 was a season of missed opportunity for the Aztecs

Sun Belt

  • Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State
  • Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
  • Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
  • Elijah McGuire, RB, Louisiana
  • Austin Rehkow, K, Idaho

Note: What’s interesting here is that of the three teams that tied for the top of the conference (Arkansas State, Appalachian State and Troy), only one player from those squads  is deemed NFL worthy by the Combine. 

 

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