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Draft Quack: Taking a Holiday in the Sun Bowl Edition

The New Year’s Eve schedule features several Pac-12 teams. Can they help revive the conference’s dismal bowl record?

NCAA Football: Oregon at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford vs. Pittsburgh 2 PM / 11 AM PST CBS

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Location: Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX

- The Cardinal and Panthers travel to El Paso and take in the endless Hyundai related ads. Stanford finished the regular season with a 8-4 record and a third place spot in the Pac-12 North. Pittsburgh ended up 7-6 with an ACC Coastal division title. Stanford RB Bryce Love has elected to skip the game to draft prep. Expect this one to end in less than 4 hours.

Stanford prospects to watch

1. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside 6’2 222 WR Senior

- Whiteside has carried the Cardinal offense at times this year due to the lack of Bryce Love. Simply put, he’s baby Mike Evans. He will need to test well at the Combine to quell questions about athleticism. Posted 60 receptions for 969 yards and 14 touchdowns.

2. Bobby Okereke 6’2 234 LB RS Senior

- Stanford’s leading tackler with 89 tackles, six tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. He’s an athlete that can go sideline to sideline. He’s a bit of a bowling ball that fly all over once he gets going. Instincts are a bit off but that can be honed and developed. Has accepted his Senior Bowl invite.

3. Alijah Holder 6’1 191 CB RS Senior

- A big physical type of corner that press at the line and frequently win. Not the most athletic before his medical history. He can be beat over the top. Stanford’s fifth leading tackler with 52 and eight passes defensed.

Pittsburgh prospect to watch

1. Qadree Ollison 6’2 230 RB RS Senior

- A big physical back that has had a breakout senior season. He’s a workhorse type that can log heavy duty carries if needed to. Underrated RB prospect that could go late in the draft. Has 189 carries for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. Has accepted his invite to the East-West Shrine Game.

#23 Missouri vs. Oklahoma State 3:45 PM / 12:45 PM PST ESPN

Autozone Liberty Bowl

Location: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN

- Old friends from the Big 12 meet again in Memphis. Missouri finished with an 8-4 record good for fourth place in the SEC East. Okie State ended up with a 6-6 record but finished ninth in a ten team conference with a 3-6 record in conference. Both teams were disappointing relative to their expectations. OSU RB Justice Hill has elected to skip the game for draft prep.

Missouri prospects to watch

1. Terry Beckner 6’3 305 DT Senior

- He’s a major talent at the defensive tackle position but the medical history is a giant red flag as he’s torn ligaments in BOTH knees. An impactful run stopper with some pass rush ability. I’d consider him in the sixth round at the earliest due to the medical.

2. Albert Okwuegbunam 6’5 260 TE RS Sophomore

- Albert O could have a case of being the most underrated tight end prospect in the class. He should test well in the offseason should he declare for the draft. He could be the best TE next year if he chooses to stay.

3. Drew Lock ’3 225 Senior Missouri

- Lock does have the strongest arm in the class. The deep ball is a major plus. Pocket awareness is somewhat decent. Arm is NFL ready. Can make every throw in the book. Nice quick and compact delivery. No wasted motion. Above average athlete that can make things happen on the move. He has improved on decision making this year by not relying on the fastball on every pass as much as he has in the past but is still shaky. He has accepted his invitation to the Senior Bowl. 2018 stat line: 252/399 (63.2%) 3,125 yards, 25 TDs, 8 interceptions.

Oklahoma State prospects to watch

1. Tylan Wallace 6’0 185 WR Sophomore

- Wallace is the heir apparent to James Washington. He bears watching as a top contender to WR1 in 2019. The main deep threat for the Pokes. He’s a burner that can catch very well. Improving as a route runner every week. A name to watch for next season.

#22 Northwestern vs. #17 Utah 7 PM / 4 PM PST FS1

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

Location: SDCCU Stadium aka former Qualcomm Stadium (home of the SDSU Aztecs)

- Northwestern and Utah travel to always sunny San Diego and look at an old relic called the SDCCU Stadium that forced the Chargers to their current predicament. Northwestern won the Big Ten West division and promptly got beaten badly by Ohio State. Utah won the Pac-12 South and were beaten by the team that won the Pac-12 title. The Utes were just ravaged by injury to several key players. Can the Wildcats get it together against a stingy defense?

Northwestern prospect to watch

1. Clayton Thorson 6’3 225 QB RS Senior

- Thorson is a solid prospect with just enough arm talent to make it in the league. He has led the Wildcats to unprecedented heights not seen since “glory” days of the early 2000s. Arm talent may be an issue for some teams at the next level. He has the size to make it there. Has accepted his Senior Bowl invite. 2018 Stats: 278/460 (60%) 2,942 yards, 15 TDs and 14 interceptions.

Utah prospects to watch

1. Julian Blackmon 6’1 190 CB Junior

- Blackmon has the size and speed that NFL teams are looking for in corners these days. He hasn’t done much statistically for the Utes, however. Lateral agility is a major plus as he can go toe to toe with the best receiver and shut him down. Ball skills are a plus as well. Can flip his hips and turn on a dime. Could be considered as one of the better corners in the nation.

2. Chase Hansen 6’2 220 LB RS Senior

- Hansen has been a terror for opposing offenses to line up against. He’s a stat sheet monster, posting 114 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, and two interceptions. I rewatched the Oregon tape and he was all over the place there too. An undersized linebacker prospect that moved from safety this past season. He generally is in the right area to make the tackle as evidenced in the screen below. Instinctive even for a first year linebacker convert. Hansen has accepted his invite to the Senior Bowl.

3. Bradlee Anae 6’3 254 EDGE Junior

- Anae is the Utes’ best pass rusher statistically. He leads the team with 7.5 sacks to go along with 47 tackles and 14 tackles for loss plus three passes defensed. He has improved massively as a junior and it shows.

NC State vs. #19 Texas A&M 7:30 PM / 4:30 PM PST ESPN

Taxslayer Gator Bowl

Location: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL (home of the Jaguars and the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, sorry not sorry NCAA but it is what it is).

- The Wolfpack might have the best QB in the city of Jacksonville currently. They take on a familiar face in former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. NC State is coming off a Hurricane Florence related win over hapless East Carolina while the Aggies are coming off that wacky SEVEN overtime win over LSU. That win netted them second place in the tough SEC West over LSU. NC State finished third in the ACC Atlantic.

NC State prospects to watch

1. Ryan Finley 6’4 210 QB RS Senior

- Finley could be one of the more underrated QB prospects in the country. He’s very fundamentally sound and has enough athleticism in the pocket to get things done. What undoes him as a prospect is that he just doesn’t have the arm talent to make it as a starter at the next level. Transferred in from Boise State in 2016. Production and accuracy has increased every year at NC State. He has accepted his invite to the Senior Bowl. 2018 stats: 307/452 (67.9%), 3,789 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions.

Texas A&M prospects to watch

1. Daylon Mack 6’0 320 DL Senior

- Mack is finally a senior this year. Hasn’t really lived up to his five star billing but that could be placed at the feet of an incompetent coaching staff. Has been a breath of fresh air as a senior thus far under the tutelage of DC Mike Elko. A physical force in the middle of the line. Underrated athlete. Power is the name of his game.

2. Trayveon Williams 5’9 200 RB Junior

- Williams is an experienced SEC back that can catch out of the backfield with the best of them. He has the athleticism and an improved vision to see the angles and holes opening up. Has picked up injuries here and there on a consistent basis. The SEC’s leading rusher with 252 carries with 1,524 yards and 15 touchdowns.