NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
Although the Sun Belt Conference isn’t thought of as a college football powerhouse and BCS conference, they do produce their share of NFL prospects. Just last year the Sun Belt produced Demario Davis, Dwight Bentley and TY Hilton, all of whom were picked in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. Which players have a chance to become NFL prospects and potentially NFL draft picks?
Continue reading to see the top Senior prospects in the Sun Belt Conference for 2013.
Ryan Aplin, QB – Aplin is an undersized, but athletic Quarterback. Led Arkansas State in passing and rushing yards as a junior. Completed 63.9% of his passes showcasing good accuracy both in the pocket and on the run.
Josh Jarboe, WR – Oklahoma transfer, stands 6’3″ 217 pounds. Plenty of athleticism to make it at the next level. Had 54 catches for 730 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those numbers should go up big time, as he becomes the number one WR in the Red Wolves offense.
David Hinds, LB – Productive player, who has experience playing in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses. Unlike many players from the conference Hinds, has the frame and build to become and legitimate NFL prospect. Has developed into the team leader and should be one of the best defensive players in the Sun Belt this year.
Tourek Williams, DE – Pre-Season defensive player of the year in the Sun Belt. The best returning pass rusher in the conference. At 6’4″ 255 pounds, Williams has the prototypical size for a 4-3 defensive end. A mid-late round NFL draft prospect.
Javone Lawson, WR – Had a breakout year as a junior with 1092 yards and 8 touchdowns. Louisiana-Lafayette is one of the more underrated football programs in the country in terms of producing NFL talent. With #1 target LaDarius Green gone to the NFL, Lawson will see an increase in production. Lawson has adequate speed and created good separation from defensive backs in the two games I have seen.
Melvin White, CB/FS – White has a big frame (6’1″ / 192) and some versatility, as he can also play some corner as well as safety. He can also contribute on special teams. White led him team with 8.5 tackles for a loss and had two picks last year.
Jonathan Gill, OG – I can’t say I have seen Gill play live. But, based on All-Conference teams, Gill’s size and his three year’s starting experience, Gill is the best Warhawk’s prospect.
Middle Tennessee State
Omar McClendon, DE/OLB – The best player on the Middle Tennessee defense, had 54 tackles 4.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks as a junior. Doesn’t have the bulk to stay at DE, but has improved his strength enough to where he could be a viable 3-4 OLB prospect.
Aaron Fortenberry, OC – North Texas has two very good Sophomore guards in Cam Feldt and Cyril Lemon. Fortenberry is the man between the two and has a pretty good future ahead of himself as well. A very good run-blocking center, North Texas has been one of the most successful run offenses in the NCAA over the last 3 years, often running right behind Fortenberry.
Jack Johnson, LB – South Alabama makes the move up to FBS football this year and their best prospect is the former Virginia Tech ILB Jack Johnson. Great build and bulk for a LB, productive and smart player, led the team in tackles last season.
Brynden Trawick, SS – Former Michigan State player. 2011 was his first season at Troy and was the team’s best defensive player. Recorded 123 tackles, possesses the ideal combination of size, speed and fearlessness that NFL teams look for in a Strong Safety. Next to Tourek Williams, Trawick is the best NFL defensive prospect in the Sun Belt.
Quanterus Smith, OLB – Smith is 6’5″ 250 pounds and possesses a good combination of speed and power. Led the Hilltoppers with 7.5 sacks. A first team All-Conference selection, Smith will be in the mix for Conference Defensive Player of the year.
Jack Doyle, TE – A massive TE at 6’6″ 251 pounds. Led WKU in receptions with 52 and yards with 614. One of the more productive Tight Ends in college football. Doyle will get a look from the NFL, as he has the size and receiving skills that are needed to play at the next level.