NFL Draft Prospects – 2018 Bowl Game Preview: December 21st

A couple of very interesting bowl games are scheduled for December 21. First up is the Bahamas Bowl which will see Florida International take on Toledo. The only thing better than bowl season is a trip to Bahamas and thankfully the Bahamas Bowl combines the two.

Later in the day, the most interestingly named Bowl game will take place as BYU takes on Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Speaking of names, there are a few big name players on the BYU defense that will catch the eyes of many.

BAHAMAS BOWL: Florida International vs. Toledo – 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Toledo Rockets certainly do have a rocket powered offense, averaging 41.1 points per game. Toledo’s running back committee is hard to stop as they have many capable runners on their roster. Junior running back Art Thompkins averaged 5.7 yards per carry and scored six touchdowns. His elusive speed and little stature, 5’8, 180 lbs helped make him hard to wrap up in the open field.

Senior wide receiver Cody Thompson will finish out his NCAA career in the Bahamas Bowl and he will look to put a bow on his own redemption story. Thompson has recorded over 3000 yards receiving in his NCAA career including a career high 1269 yards in 2016 but an injury in 2017 forced him to return for an additional senior year this season. The Toledo wide receiver returned in a big way, scoring 10 touchdowns with his 6’2, 205 lb frame.

Florida International comes in with a high-powered offense that averaged 34.6 points per game under Butch Davis this season. The play of junior quarterback James Morgan has a lot to do with that as his transfer from Bowling Green State sparked the Golden Panthers’ offense. Morgan had his best season yet as the starting quarterback for Florida International, recording his highest completion percentage (65.3%), most passing yards (2727) and an impressive 26-7 touchdown to interception ratio.

Morgan’s biggest playmaker was wide receiver C.J. Worton. A transfer from Florida, Worton flashed in his first significant playing opportunity, recording 36 receptions for 620 yards and six touchdowns. A junior, Worton has yet to declare for the NFL draft but should he do so, he will be an intriguing late round prospect.

FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL: BYU vs. Western Michigan – 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

Many were looking forward to seeing BYU defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi in this year’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Unfortunately, a knee injury is going to sideline the very talented senior defensive lineman. Kaufusi looked like a man among boys on the football field, standing at 6’9 and 275 lbs. He’s a talented pass rusher and pocket penetrator, recording 7.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss this season.

Fortunately, BYU will still have linebacker Sione Takitaki, another emerging star in the Cougars’ defense. The senior linebacker is comfortable blitzing and closes quickly against the run. Takitaki cracked triple digits in the tackle column for the first time in his career with 100 this season while also recording three sacks and a forced fumble.

Western Michigan will attempt to counter the stout BYU defense with speed. The Broncos’ offense has an abundance of speedsters who are more than capable of making a play in the open field.

No one made more plays for the Broncos this season than running back LeVante Bellamy. The junior running back enjoyed much success in his first season as the go to running back, carrying the football 190 times for 1172 yards. His ability as a receiver was also a nightmare for opposing defenses as Bellamy caught 24 passes for 140 yards as well.

He was backed up by touchdown machine Jamauri Bogan. Another small back at 5’7, 190 lbs, Bogan rushed for over 700 yards and found the end zone a whopping 15 times last season. Both Bogan and Bellamy are undersized backs with a knack for making big plays.

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