This year was a great year for small schoolers in All Star Games, because many of them were given an opportunity to shine. While I could blow up this list and put about 10 to 20 players, I will keep it to 5 players that really benefited from the All Star Games in 2014.
We will start off with cornerback, because I don’t think one player benefited more than Pierre Desir the 6’2 corner from Lindenwood. Pierre went into the East West Shrine game and while he struggled at first he was able to snap out of it and have a great week. After his week at the E/W, Desir was a late addition to the Senior Bowl. Desir really showed up at the Senior Bowl and had a great week at practice. He was a force on the field and was able to come up with a huge interception in the game. Teams were scared to throw at him, and he truly did a great job according to the scouts I spoke too. When you stay on the corner position you have to mention both Walt Aikens from Liberty who showed off his amazing athletic ability at the Senior Bowl and Qua Cox who was a late addition to the Senior Bowl after putting on a performance at the Medal of Honor All Star Game.
Another player that really showed out at the East/West Shrine game was Dakota Dozier of Furman. I spoke with a scout at the game who told me that Dozier could be the best prospect at the game. That was monster news, especially when you look at the prospects on the roster. Dozier was projected as a 5th rounder, but could have boosted his stock into the top 150 picks. Another player that performed well on the Offensive Line was Billy Turner of North Dakota State. I have both of these lineman as my top small school lineman in the draft.
At quarterback both Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois and Jeff Matthews of Cornell performed well, but Matthews really stole the show at the E/W. Matthews showed off his cannon of an arm, and really did a great job at hitting his receivers in stride. Matthews looked like a great prospect and both he and Garoppolo will be drafted. I would be shocked if both are not drafted by the 6th round.
At receiver I have to give the nod to Matt Hazel of Coastal Carolina who had a very impressive week in Tampa at the E/W. Hazel had scouts calling me left and right asking me about him. Hazel seemed to be a very solid player and scored a touchdown in the E/W game to help his team get the win. Jeremy Butler of UT-Martin was a very close runner up, after he put on a performance at the Medal of Honor All Star Game in South Carolina. He finished the game with 3 receptions for 71 yards, and really had scouts loving his size at 6’3, 215 pounds.
Both Ethan Westbrooks of West Texas A&M and Larry Webster of Bloomsburg had an impressive week at the E/W Shrine game and DeRon Furr of Fort Valley State dominated the Medal of Honor Game, but Caraun Reid of Princeton watched his stock skyrocket this past week at the Senior Bowl. Expect Reid to be drafted. It will be the second consecutive year a Princeton player was drafted. Last year the Chiefs drafted Reid’s teammate Mike Catapano.
Honorable Mention has to go to Zach Bauman of Northern Arizona. The little guy was a force at the East/West Shrine game and performed extremely well. He will be a very good change of pace back at the next level.