Every year we see top college players perform drills for a week in bid to increase their draft stock. College football fields hundreds of teams across its many divisions, so it is hard to compare the physical talent of players who come from a litany of different competitive backgrounds. The purpose of the NFL Combine is to level the playing field to quantifiable measurements, the so-called “tangible” abilities of a player.
This does not mean that a player who can run a blistering 40-yard dash will have the qualities that define a professional football player. It merely means that he has that asset to place on his resume. Mental toughness is extremely difficult to measure, which is why the combine is a meaningful addition to scouting a player but not the alpha and omega of scouting.
For many players, the combine is a means to give them that slight edge when it comes to the draft. A team may be on the fence between two players in the same position, only to find that in the drills that certain weaknesses reveal themselves that were hidden on tape. This could elevate one player into the draft, and force another player to be scooped up as an undrafted free agent.
All of this aside, it’s fun to watch young players with world class skills going to work. The future of the NFL starts at the combine, and we have a handy list for you that includes all players who will participate in the combine that come from the American Athletic Conference, Conference-USA, the Sun Belt, and non-FBS conferences. These are the guys to watch; they may fly under the radar early, only to become a major piece of your favorite NFL team.
American Athletic Conference
The American Athletic Conference will send 17 players to the combine. UCF will send four players, making them the AAC team with the most scheduled participants.
UCF: Jordan Akins, Shaquem Griffin, Mike Hughes, Tre’Quan Smith
UCONN: Foley Fatukasi
ECU: Davon Grayson
MEMPHIS: Genard Avery, Riley Ferguson, Anthony Miller
SMU: Trey Quinn, Courtland Sutton
USF: Quinton Flowers, Deadrin Senat, Marquez Valdez-Scantling
Temple: Sean Chandler
Tulane: Ade Aruna, Parry Nickerson
Conference USA will send nine players to the combine. Western Kentucky will send 2 players, the only C-USA team to send multiple this year.
Marshall: Chase Litton
Middle Tennessee: James Richie
North Texas: Jeff Wilson
Old Dominion: Olubunmi Rotimi
Southern Miss: Korey Robertson
UTEP: Will Hernandez
UTSA: Marcus Davenport
Western Kentucky: Joel Iyiegbuniwe and Mike White
The Sun Belt Conference will send five players to the combine. No Sun Belt teams had more than a single invite.
App State: Colby Gossett
Arkansas State: Ja’Von Rolland-Jones
Georgia State: Chandon Sullivan
Louisiana-Lafayette: Trey Walker
New Mexico State: Jaleel Scott
Many non-FBS players have also been invited.
Delaware: Bilal Nichols
Dubuque: Michael Joseph
Fordham: Chase Edmonds
Fort Hays State: Nathan Shepherd
Humboldt State: Alex Kappa
Idaho State: Skyler Phillips
Illinois State: Devontae Harris
Indiana (PA): Max Redfield
Jacksonville State: Darius Jackson, Siran Neal, and Roc Thomas
Maine: Jamil Demby
Murray State: D’Montre Wade
North Carolina A&T: Brandon Parker
North Dakota State: Nick Deluca
Richmond: Kyle Lauletta
South Carolina State: Darius Leonard
Southern: Danny Johnson
Stephen F. Austin: John Franklin-Myers
Stony Brook: Timon Parris
Wagner: Greg Senat
Weber State: Taron Johnson
West Georgia: Desmond Harrison