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American Athletic Conference Sending 18 Players to NFL Combine

Defending AAC Champions Temple lead the way with four participants going to Indianapolis.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has released the complete list of invitees to the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, with a total of 330 prospects. The American Athletic Conference will be represented by 18 players, who will attend the event to be held from Feb. 28 through March 6.

The SEC lead the way with the most participants invited to the combine with 66, followed by the ACC (60), Big Ten (51), Pac-12 (46), and Big 12 (19). The AAC leads the Group of Five with the most picks.

The AAC had 10 players selected in last year's draft, including two first-round picks - William Jackson and Paxton Lynch. The conference should once again reach double digits in selections, and possibly more first rounders.

The American has a history of first-round selections as two players were chosen in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and four first-round picks in 2014. Two more former AAC players could hear their names called on the first day of the draft as Mel Kiper has wide receiver Zay Jones of East Carolina and Temple's Haason Reddick both in the first round.

The reigning AAC Champions, Temple, lead the way with the most invites with four. Houston has three participants, while South Florida, UConn and Memphis each will send two players to the combine. Central Florida, Cincinnati, ECU, Tulane and Tulsa each have one player representing.

Navy and SMU had no players invited to the combine.

Here is a complete list of the participants from the AAC:

Temple Owls

Haason Reddick - OLB: The star of the Senior Bowl, his value has vaulted to a potential late first-round pick after finishing third in the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss.

Dion Dawkins - Offensive Line: The AAC First-Team selection will likely shift from left tackle to guard in the NFL, but could be a starter early on. He's projected as a second or third-round choice.

Jahad Thomas - Running Back: A significant contributor in all four of his seasons for the Owls, Thomas could find a home in the NFL as return specialist and third-down back.

Nate Hairston - Defensive Back: Hairston was a wide receiver for the Owls until his junior season, but made a name for himself at the East-West Game with his special teams play.

Houston Cougars

Greg Ward Jr. - Wide Receiver: Ward was a productive quarterback for Tom Hermann, but was brought to the school as a receiver. He is looking to make the same position change that Braxton Miller and several other college quarterbacks have been hopeful to make.

Howard Wilson - Cornerback: Similar to his former teammate Jackson, he has the size, speed and ball skills that a NFL team will cover. Just don't expect him to go as high. HA

Tyus Bowser - Linebacker: A fight with a teammate that left him broken orbital bone will be scrutinized by GMs, but Bowser led Houston with 8.5 sacks in eight games. He's likely a mid- to late-round pick.

South Florida Bulls

Marlon Mack - Running Back: USF's all-time leading rusher could be a mid-round steal for someone as he has the explosiveness to be a playmaker in the league.

Rodney Adams - Wide Receiver: Adams was a threat as a receiver and runner for USF, but his small frame will force him into a slot receiver in the NFL. Has experience as a returner which will add to his value.

Connecticut Huskies

Obi Melifonwu - Safety: He has terrific size at 6-foot-4, 219 lbs. and delivers the boom on ball carriers. He will match up well against tight ends, but his ability to stay with running backs is a question.

Noel Thomas - Wide Receiver: Coming off a school-record 100 catches, Thomas had an eight game stretch in which he accumulated 90 receiving yards or more. He could be drafted in the later rounds.

Memphis Tigers

Jake Elliott - Kickers: Yes, kickers do get invited to the combine also. Especially when Elliott has been named first-team all-conference in all four seasons at Memphis.

Art Maulet - Defensive Back: Maulet was the Tigers best defensive player, recording 73 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and 13 pass breakups.

Central Florida Knights

Shaquill Griffin - Defensive Back: The AAC Second-Team selection ranked No. 1 in the conference and No. 14 in the nation in passes defended with 16 (four interceptions and 12 pass break-ups).

Cincinnati Bearcats

Michael Tyson - Safety: A 6-foot-2 defensive back will switch from cornerback to safety because of his physicality and sure tackling. He has a knack of getting his hands on the ball with five interceptions and five passes defended.

East Carolina Pirates

Zay Jones - Wide Receiver: The top playmaker representing the AAC should be a first-round pick. Jones has the size, speed and hands to be a threat at the next level.

Tulane Green Wave

Tanzel Smart - Defensive Tackle: A first-team All-AAC selection the last two seasons, Smart has the motor, but lacks the size that NFL teams covet.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Keevan Lucas - Wide Receiver: Lucas garnered first-team All-AAC accolades his senior season with 81 receptions for 1,180 yards and a career-high 15 scores. His numbers at the combine will determine his draft stock.

The NFL Combine gives each of these talented players a chance to showcase their talent on a bigger stage than they are typically accustomed to. Each has a chance to boost their stock with strong performances in front of NFL scouts.

Be sure to check back with us as we will have complete player profiles and news of each AAC participant as the combine and draft near.