Last season, NFL Draft Diamonds gave readers & fans a taste of two all-star events that are on the rise to help small school NFL prospects (FCS, D-II, D-III, NAIA) showcase their talents & gain exposure among NFL & CFL scouts. The Dream Bowl and The HBCU Spirit of America Bowl are those two all-star games that are doing just that. Past players that have participated in both games, and have gone on to the NFL include OL JylanWare (2017 7th Round Pick-Oakland Raiders), RB De’LanceTurner (2018 Undrafted Free Agent-Baltimore Ravens), and WR Chester Rogers (2016 Undrafted Free Agent-Indianapolis Colts). Week 1 of the college football season has come & gone, and these three players stood out to me the most. Here are three skill players that you might see in either game in 2020. Brandon Davis our All-Star Scout broke down the film from week 1 and found a few players that really shined. Check it out!
Shai McKenzie, HB, Hampton: The former Virginia Tech Hokie put up great numbers against Elizabeth City State (ECSU) on limited touches in week 1 and played a big part in the Pirates’ 65-7 win over the Vikings. McKenzie racked up 121 yards and 2 touchdowns on only 9 carries. The difference in talent between Hampton (FCS) & ECSU (D-II) was definitely on display Saturday night with McKenzie stat line. At 5110 and 224 lbs., he’s a north/south runner who runs behind his pads and isn’t afraid of running through contact. With 11 games to go in the regular season, McKenzie is most certainly on my radar for both all-star games.
Chris Rowland, WR, Tennessee State: The 5080 receiver from Nolensville, TN had a performance in week 1 in the John Merritt Classic against Mississippi Valley State (MVSU) that should have Tiger fans hungry for more. Rowland showed why he was an all-OVC selection as both a receiver & returner in 2018, along with being a 3rd team All-American selection as a returner by recording 11 receptions, 173 receiving yards, 7 punt returns for 61 yards, and 1 rushing attempt for a total of 235 all-purpose yards against the Delta Devils in the Tigers’ 26-20 win. His skill set & versatility reminded me of former West Virginia WR/current Dallas Cowboy WR Tavon Austin. If Rowland builds on this good start, an invite to the Dream Bowl or the HBCU Spirit of America Bowl could be in his future.
De’Montrez Burroughs, WR, South Carolina State: In week 1 against Wofford, Burroughs had a performance that should have pro scouts coming to Orangeburg, SC real soon to get a closer look at him. In the Bulldogs’ 28-13 win against the Terriers, Burroughs had 4 receptions for 102 yards and 1 touchdown. The Charlotte, NC native at 6020 and 218 lbs. shows possession receiver type skills with the ability to gain yards after the catch. He’s a name to keep an eye on throughout the season as the Bulldogs battle their way through the MEAC. Definitely a potential Dream Bowl or HBCU Spirit of America Bowl invitee.
Louis Quinones, HB, Valley City State: The NAIA doesn’t get a lot of attention from the average college football fan, but this running back from Colorado Springs, CO is someone to watch after his week 1 performance. In the Vikings’ 20-14 win against the Jamestown Jimmies, Quinones had a day, gaining 249 yards on 26 carries for 1 touchdown. The 5090 195 lbs. running back, a 2-time all-conference selection, demonstrated that he can carry the load for a full game despite his size. A stat line like this week in and week out this year could land him in front of pro scouts at an all-star game for sure. I have my sights set on him as a player to keep track of this season.