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Conference USA receives 11 invites to NFL Combine

Plenty of skill coming from this conference will have a chance to showcase their talent in March.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL just released its list of participants in the 2017 NFL Combine, which has many fans excited to see where their favorite players end up. 11 Conference USA players were invited to the combine, and will receive plenty of exposure to showcase their skills.

As of now, 10 are projected to be selected in the draft according to CBS Sports, and all can improve their draft stock with a strong showing at the combine. Here is a look at each player invited from the conference.

Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic

Projection: 4th-5th round.

Hendrickson recorded 30 sacks and 23 tackles for loss in his final two years with the Owls. He has good size for a lineman, and only missed one game in his final two seasons. Hendrickson also forced six fumbles in his last two seasons.

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Alabama
Lamp proved he can handle elite college pass rushers like Alabama’s Tim Williams (56)
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky

Projection: 1st-2nd round.

The top prospect coming out of the conference, Lamp is receiving a ton of attention. Will most likely move to guard in the NFL even though he played tackle at WKU. Lamp can compete with anyone, including Alabama.

Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky

Projection: 3rd-4th round.

If you haven’t watched any film on Taylor, I highly recommend it. Taylor was a huge contributor to a dynamic offense, and his speed was always evident in each game. He hauled in 98 catches for 1,730 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2016.

Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Charlotte

Projection: 2nd-3rd round.

Racked up 127 tackles in just two seasons with Charlotte from the defensive tackle position. Added 29 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks as well. Ogunjobi has good size and is difficult to move out of position.

Zach Pascal, WR, Old Dominion

Projection: Free agent.

He is the only player from the conference not projected to be drafted. Pascal was dynamic in the Monarchs offense, producing 1,091 yards and nine touchdowns offensively. Speed will be the question he needs to answer at the combine, but can sneak into the draft with a stellar performance.

Hayden Plinke, TE, Texas-El Paso

Projection: 7th round.

Plinke has great size for a tight end, and has shown to be a reliable target as well. He caught 38 passes for 456 yards and eight touchdowns in his senior year.

Aaron Jones, RB, Texas-El Paso

Projection: 7th round.

Returning from an ankle injury that cost him his 2015 season, Jones picked up right where he left off in 2014. He rushed for 1,773 yards and 17 touchdowns while also catching 28 passes for 233 yards and three more scores.

Jonnu Smith, TE, Florida International

Projection: 5th round.

Smith proved to be a dependable option in the passing game in his four years with the Panthers. He caught 178 total passes for 2,001 yards and 18 touchdowns, with a career high 61 catches for 710 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014.

NCAA Football: Armed Forces Bowl-Louisiana Tech vs Navy Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech

Projection: 4th-5th round.

Henderson exploded onto the scene as a junior. He accumulated 1668 yards of offense and scored 21 touchdowns during the 2017 season. Experience as a kick returner should benefit him as well. Henderson could climb up projections with a good combine.

Trent Taylor, WR, Louisiana Tech

Projection: 5th-6th round.

Even with a lack of size, Taylor still managed to be a force in the Bulldogs offense for the last three years. Playing alongside aforementioned Henderson, Taylor caught 136 catches for 1,803 yards and 12 touchdowns. Taylor also has experience in the return game as well.

Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech

Projection: 6th round.

A highlight in a defense that struggled, Woods recorded a career high 84 tackles this season. He also picked off 14 passes in his tenure as a Bulldog, and also had 18 passes defended.

The combine provides these athletes with a chance to display their talent to potential NFL teams. How they perform could fluctuate their draft stock, and all are hoping for improvement. Since most of these players didn’t receive a lot of national exposure, the combine allows them to show they can compete with the Power 5 athletes and perform with the best football players in the world.