The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is an annual collegiate all-star game that gives draft prospects the chance to showcase their skills against other high-level talents. The players have the opportunity to show off in front of media and scouts while learning from coaching veterans and young minds. Many participants were great on Saturday, but there were six who stood out from the rest.
During the game, the American Team coached by Jeff Fisher faced Marvin Lewis‘ National Team. After the American Team took the lead early, the National Team rallied back late to win 25-24.
Cole Kelley – QB, Southeastern Louisiana
Kelley was named the Most Valuable Player of the game and for good reason. He displayed excellent pocket presence and a strong arm. One of Kelley’s most notable moments came near the end of the third quarter with his team down seven points. He delivered a well-placed ball to Blake Kern up the seam who was able to score and tie the game. Kelley can improve his consistency, but he flashed exemplary traits on and off the field during the week.
After the National Team forced the turnover, Cole Kelley finds Blake Kern downfield and the TE gets up to finish the play for the game-tying TD‼️ #SouthlandStrong #LionUp @LionUpFootball https://t.co/sCFdcHL2x8
— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) January 30, 2022
“His leadership has been tremendous on the field… I think he has that innate ability which is going to help him as he pursues an NFL career,” Lewis said about Kelley to reporters after the game.
Chase Garbers – QB, California
Garbers led the American Team early in the game with outstanding drives to start. The California product showed off an impressive ability to improvise when the pocket broke down. Garbers stayed poised throughout the game and did not make any costly mistakes while still pushing the ball down the field. He finished the game 10-of-13 with 119 passing yards and a touchdown; Garbers also picked up 25 yards on two rushes.
.@ChaseGarbers finds @JequezE for the American Team TD!@CalFootball @BearkatsFB
📺: @NFLPABowl on NFL Network pic.twitter.com/pnGio3cbBy
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 29, 2022
“It is great to play football again. For a lot of us, it is our first game since late November/early December. Just getting back on the field, playing ball, and doing what you love. As a quarterback, you just have to go out there and execute,” Garbers said after the game.
Aqeel Glass – QB, Alabama A&M
Another player who was excellent all week was Glass. The Alabama A&M product stood out during practice and on the big stage. During the game, Glass displayed his excellent arm strength with fast passes over the middle and deep throws. He threw for 141 yards and a touchdown with an 81.8% completion rate. Glass represented his alma matter and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities well in the Collegiate Bowl.
.@Aqeel_Glass4 goes DEEP to Dai’Jean Dixon!@AamufbR @GeauxColonels
📺: @NFLPABowl on NFL Network pic.twitter.com/B42ug3zXPL
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 30, 2022
“It was huge. To get out here and compete against some of the best in the country was huge. It was not only about representing me but also Alabama A&M and other HBCUs to show football is football no matter where you at,” Glass said after the game.
Jequez Ezzard – WR, Sam Houston
While the American Team surged in the first half, two receivers consistently made big plays; one of them was Ezzard. He made difficult catches in traffic, showed off versatility after the catch, and ability on special teams with kick and punt returns. Ezzard caught four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown on Saturday.
Dai’Jean Dixon – WR, Nicholls State
The other receiver who was impressive from the American Team was Dixon. Big play after big play, Dixon was constantly in the spotlight. He made catches in traffic and also long yardage plays showing off his physicality and toughness. Dixon finished the day with six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown.
.@Aqeel_Glass4 throws a 🎯 to Dai’Jean Dixon for the American Team TD!@AamufbR @GeauxColonels
📺: @NFLPABowl on NFL Network pic.twitter.com/03lE9wPVIK
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 29, 2022
Samuel Williams – DE, Ole Miss
Williams was impressive throughout practice all week and he showed his skills off during the game. His excellence at disrupting the passing attack was on full display. After a quiet first half with just one assisted tackle, the Ole Miss product came up big for his team in the second half. Williams forced a fumble which led to his team tying the game and pressured the opposing quarterback to force uncomfortable throws. The National Team came back in the second half to win with Williams playing a key role on the defensive side of the ball.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images