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Hidden Gems: 2020 MVFC FCS edition

Hidden Gems 2020 – MVFC FCS edition 1 by Matt Anzio

Missouri Valley Football Conference is the home of NDSU. They have been the FCS Champs 7 of past 8 years. 

They will be with new coach Matt Entz and a very young team. They have a rookie QB but they seem pretty confident in the spring ball I watched. They hired from within, and do a great job recruiting.

This Division has quite a few teams on the up and up. Including SDSU, Indiana State, Illinois State, and UNI that will all compete to make a run for the FCS playoffs. 

The rest of the Conference is mostly competitive, and offer up a great deal of Pro talent & Hidden Gems. Including an outstanding RB from Illinois State, an All American Pro style tight end from UNI & more. Excited to bring you just a few great offensive MVFC -FCS prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft

  • QB Peyton Huslig 
  • Missouri State 
  • Height: 6’3    
  • Weight: 205lbs 

Huslig is a dualthreat quarterback and a 3rd Year Starter. He looks to improve on last year’s turnover differential.

Huslig had a couple more INTs than TDs last year but he was under pressure more than you would want him to be. 

He has a couple returning starters on the O-line along with some targets in the passing game. He has all the tools in the toolbox just needs to be able to make his reads before he has to flee. He was one of the teams leading rushers last season. Ultimately like to bring those rush numbers down & leave the running to his RB’s. 

He is a very elusive, quick scrambler, that is athletic with a strong natural throwing motion and quick release. Not afraid to take a chance which might get him into trouble at times. 

As the game slows down in his senior year Huslig has a couple of top O lineman returning up-front in Matt Platco & Casey O’ Brian. He will also have a couple of good wide-outs in Tyler Currie & Lorenzo Thomas and let’s not forget 1st Team All American Sophomore Tight end Jordan Murray. 

Huslig has enough returning firepower to show he can play on the next level. Hopefully, improve in the win column for the Bears as well. 

Being on a team that has not sniffed the postseason since 1990. Under head coach Dave Steckle, who is on the hot seat with a 12 – 32 record lifetime. If  Huslig limits his mistakes & they put him in better positions to make plays. He could help improve the Bears record along with his worth as a Pro. 

  • TE Briley Moore 
  • University Northern Iowa 
  • Height: 6’ 3
  • Weight: 242 lbs 

Moore was The Panthers leader in receptions, yards & TD’s last year. 

Already on the Senior Bowl watch list & name a Preseason All American by Phil Steele. There is no doubt in my mind this big weapon is going to by suiting up on Sundays in the near future. 

Although the Panthers have not been a big passing team he still makes some nice grabs in coverage. Able to use his big frame to body DB’s or LB’s. He is a mismatch whether lined up inline or out.  Was a wideout but grew into the role all puns intended. With the size, toughness, and willingness to block its an organic fit for Moore. Physical looks for contact plays tight end “ Like a linebacker “ is what his head coach said of the Monster Panther TE.  With the ball in his mitts, he can drop the shoulder, and truck over defenders like a monster truck over a tin can. 

Blocking is not an issue, as he is a physical player with the frame needed to help ward off defenders on the edge. He can get out in front on runs or screens attacking defenders on the 2nd level in the run game.  One of the best blocking Tight ends in the FCS. 

Displays some jets after the catch the leading receiver last season can tell has played wideout. He needs to be treated almost like WR  like we have seen with guys like Ertz & Evan Engram to name a couple. 

UNI has been producing some talent & they have some decent guys coming back on Offense including a decent line & nice-looking wideout but Moore might be the best of the bunch. With a rookie QB starting TE like  Moore should see even more targets this year. Look for the young signal-caller to lean off the big Veteran Tight End this season. 

  • WR Michael Bandy 
  • College: University of San Diego
  • Height:  5’10
  • Weight:  190 

Had the 5th Most Receiving Yards In FCS History. 

The award-winning All-Ameican Wideout amassed over 1,600 yards last year & opened a lot of scouts eyes to this explosive pass catcher. 

A slot wideout, who can return kicks and is a deep threat. He fits all those roles as a multidimensional athlete.  Versatility, speed, toughness to go across the middle, are all things that stick out on film. The intelligence to read a secondary coverage going long when FS cuts short or short when the DB plays long. Route running 101 combined with good hands & lightning type burst. 

Adjusts to the ball with immaculate ball skills. Not only to make some nice grabs but also to deter defenders from intercepting the ball.  Can tell he has running back in his background with his yards after the catch. 

Program in general is on the upswing the Yotes will take another step forward this year.

  • RB Ty Brooks 
  • North Dakota state 
  • Height: 5 ‘ 9         
  • Weight: 180 lbs 

In 2017, alone he had over 700 yards & 7 TD’s on just 76 carries. Averaging an outstanding 9.2 YPC in a reserve role. Now as a proven vet he should see an upswing in his carries & catches. 

He is a fun back to utilize in the passing game. He has insane speed with a compact strong frame. The ability to fake out defenders or break tackles. Brooks will be a senior they look to help this young Offense with some strong run blocking O-linemen returning.  

A rookie signal-caller will need all the veteran help he can get. Brooks adds a nice check down option along with knowledge of the system &  Offense. With the speed to swing out on sweeps win the edge with his burst off tackle. 

 On special teams, the Senior back averaged 28.7 yards per return. So he offers a lot too a pro team in the way of versatility. 

Look for  Brooks to put his name on the map this season.  The top FCS Bison have been known to produce some pro backs. Excited to see this explosive back progress  this year in the MVFC. 

  • RB   James  Robinson 
  • Illinois State 
  • Height: 5’ 10
  • Weight: 220lbs 

Robinson looks to take that number 1 back & run with it. 

He already has RB 1 type numbers with 1,158 ds & 12 TD’s last year as a Junior. With the starting OL returning intact & the fact, they thrive in run blocking.  Robinson should be primed for an All-Conference type of season. 

Add in Juco transfer from San Bernardino Cal, RB Jeff Proctor a speedy back to compliment Robinson.   An O line with a lot of good run blockers returning will aid his grand finale.  

Strong jab step, makes good cuts when needy with a strong stiff arm good balance, vision & long speed when in the open field. Could benefit NFL clubs in many ways running, catching ST’s he adds value to all those areas of the game. 

  • WR Dante Hendrix  
  • Indiana State
  • Height: 6’3     
  • Weight: 195lbs

Looks like a True X wideout to me. 

Has been building a good connection with QB Ryan Boyle. The two should look to build on that connection this year. Behind an O line that is getting back 4 of its 5 starters this year.  Combine that with last year’s playoff snub. This team as well as this duo of Boyle to Hendrix should be ready for war. 

With Sophomore Michal Thomas coming back & some young fast big body wideouts on the Sycamores. Dante definitely the OG on-campus & these young guys can learn a thing or two from the veteran pass-catcher.

 Started all 11 games, true number 1 wideout Had 47 reception with 3 kick returns for 696 all-purpose yards with 4 scores in 2018. Caught his season-high 11 passes vs San Diego had 111  yds & caught the game-winning score. I n a triple-overtime Victory thriller last season. Had his season longest reception vs  Youngstown State for 60 yds. 

Catch radius is  outstanding with the skills to beat the DB in 1 on 1 situation.  Big strong hands can snatch the ball out of the air. 

Has a nice frame to block or to break tackles after the catch. Think Hendrix has NFL written all over him. He can play outside which is important. With good size to create mismatches in the red zone. 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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