NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

North Texas and Troy don’t have a long list of NFL alumni, but they do have some superstar defensive linemen. “Mean” Joe Greene graduated from North Texas while Osi Umenyiora and DeMarcus Ware honed their skills at Troy. There likely isn’t that good of talent coming out of these schools this year, but there are still some to keep on the radar when the NFL Draft approaches. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl:

Troy Trojans:

Brandon Silvers, QB

NFL Draft Prospects in the 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Brandon Silvers (Photo by

Silvers is a quarterback that has a lot of experience under his belt at Troy. Last season he threw for over 3,000 yards and could do so again this season with a big game. He is most known for being accurate and doesn’t really stretch the field too much. Silvers also doesn’t throw for many touchdowns, which will likely mean he is in the mold of a game manager quarterback.

At 6’3″ and 213 pounds, Silvers has a good sized body to get a look from NFL scouts. His main selling points will have to be his size, football intelligence, accuracy and experience. If a team likes what they see out of him, they may take him in the later rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Jordan Chunn, RB

In the biggest game of his life, Chunn delivered. When the Troy Trojans upset LSU, Chunn was a major reason why. He rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown against a good SEC defense. That will get scouts to start watching. After that game he slowed down, and missed some time, finishing with under 800 yards. He did manage to finish the season averaging five yards a carry.

Chunn is a big, physical runner that is tough to bring down. He stands 6’1″ tall and weighs in at 235 pounds. The power running is good and the fact that he already has an NFL-ready body will help. Speed will be the question with Chunn and he’ll have to run a good 40 yard dash time at the NFL Combine.

As with any running back trying to make an NFL roster he’ll have to show he can catch the ball, pass protect and even play special teams.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Kamryn Melton, CB

Melton transferred in from Auburn and helped bring the Trojans’ defense to new heights. He didn’t play at Auburn and came into Troy fresh. Melton was a starter for two seasons for the Trojans.

He has decent enough size at 5’10” for most NFL teams. In his two season at Troy he only had two interceptions and 12 passes defended. At the next level, Melton will have to prove he can play with the big boys. This includes playing corner in the slot and on the outside as well as playing special teams.

Projected draft range: undrafted free agent

North Texas Mean Green:

Jeffery Wilson, RB

Wilson has been the lead back for the Mean Green this season. He puts up big plays for North Texas with 16 touchdowns and 6.5 yards per carry. In his college career, he has rushed for over 3,000 yards and has a lot of tape for NFL executives to evaluate.

At 6’0″ and 194 pounds, Wilson probably needs to add a little muscle to be an every down back in the NFL. He is seen as a power back by his coaching staff and that signifies that he needs that muscle for the next level. Being a good power runner and pass blocker, Wilson can justify being on the field during third downs. Because of his production, some NFL team will give him a chance.

*Wilson sat out the last two games and may not play in this game.

Projected draft range: undrafted free agent

Kishawn McClain, S

NFL Draft Prospects in the 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Kishawn McClain (Photo by

McClain has been a three year starter for North Texas in the secondary. He has experience at both corner and safety, but has more recently played safety. In his career McClain has totaled 323 total tackles, six interceptions and eight passes defended for a great start for an NFL scout to look at.

He may be a better fit at free safety/nickel corner in the NFL due to his 5’11” 187 pound frame. McClain has shown the ability to not only cover, but also come up and help in run support. If he can play special teams he could find his way onto an NFL roster.

Projected draft range: 6th round-undrafted free agent

Trevor Moore, K

Moore is impressive for never missing an extra point in his college career. He also hit over 90% of his kicks this season. While kickers are hard to project, he does seem to have a limited leg. Moore didn’t hit or attempt a field goal of over 50 yards this season. He was very good within 50 yards, with only two field goals missed this season.

In the NFL, Moore will need to show that he has more leg power, but his accuracy is good enough to give him a shot.

Projected draft range: undrafted free agent


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2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl preview

The 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will have teams from the Sun Belt and C-USA conferences squaring off in the Superdome. The North Texas Mean Green and the Troy Trojans will square off in a battle of quality teams from lower end conferences.

Troy Trojans (10-2)

2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Preview

Blace Brown (Photo by

Troy lost two games this season by 11 points each. One loss, at Boise State, was acceptable. The other loss, to South Alabama, raised some eyebrows. The Trojans were able to overcome those two losses to share a conference championship with Appalachian State. Beating LSU in Death Valley was the highlight of the season for Troy and they will be looking to cap off the great season with one more win.

Brandon Silvers is the senior quarterback for Troy. He has thrown for 2,985 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions on the season. He does have four games with over 300 passing yards, but for the most part just helps the Trojans move the chains. He spreads the ball out to a lot of receivers, seven of which have over 200 receiving yards. Deondre Douglas is Silvers’ best target with 628 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

Jordan Chunn is the leading rusher with 774 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He missed two games this season, which hurt his overall stats. His best game came against LSU, when he rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown. Since then he has slowed down, but he has still managed to average five yards a carry.

The offense is average, but the defense is the reason why this team is so good. The Trojans have the 11th best scoring defense, allowing just 17.5 points per game. They specialize in stopping the run and rank 14th in rushing yards allowed. Defensive back Blace Brown helps the turnover margin with his five interceptions.

North Texas Mean Green (9-4)

2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Preview

Mason Fine (Photo by

North Texas is coming off of a loss to Florida Atlantic in the C-USA Championship Game. Florida Atlantic accounted for two of their losses this season, with the other two coming at the hands of Iowa and SMU. It was a pretty successful season for the Mean Green.

The North Texas offense is good. They rank 20th in points scored with 35.9 points per game. Mason Fine leads the offense from his quarterback position with 3,749 yards passing, 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He ranks ninth in passing yards in the FBS. He’s just a sophomore and has a bright future ahead. The Mean Green have four receivers with over 500 receiving yards, but Jalen Guyton and Michael Lawrence lead the way with over 700 receiving yards. Guyton has nine touchdowns on the season as well.

There is some balance to the North Texas offense. Their leading running back, Jeffery Wilson, has 1,215 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. He helps set up the passing game with his 6.5 yards per carry. He has been injured and missed the last two games, but Nic Smith has been able to fill in well for Wilson. They’ll be in good hands no matter who is in the backfield come game time.

The Mean Green defense leaves a lot to be desired. They allow 33.8 points per game, which is one of the highest amount of points allowed in the country. Their defense allows 208 rushing yards and 223 passing yards per game. They will need someone to step up in this game to help shut down Troy.


Troy has proven they can play with the best, even if they can slip up at times. Jordan Chunn will have a big game against a bad rush defense, which will help the Trojans control the clock. With their defense fresh, North Texas won’t be able to be as effective as usual. The Trojans will win the game because of their defense the turnovers they force.

Final score: Troy Trojans 27 North Texas Mean Green 20


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College football coaches set to get better jobs after the season

In about a month the coaching carousel is going to heat up. The conclusion of the regular season always marks a time when programs fire coaches in order to get a new one in as soon as possible to recruit. With that being said, these coaches will be prime targets for some of the best available jobs in college football:

Matt Campbell, Iowa State

Campbell started off as the head coach of Toledo and went 35-15. He was then able to step up to the power five level at Iowa State. He is only in his second season as the head coach in Aimes, but has done so well that there are rumors swirling around his name.

In his two head coaching jobs, Campbell has been successful. At Iowa State he has turned the program around in a short period of time. The Cyclones won three games the year before he took over. He didn’t experience too much success in his first year, but this season he has done a great job. Iowa State has six wins already this season, including two wins over top five opponents.

With recruiting ties to Ohio and success in the Big 12, Campbell will be highly sought after. His ability to turn a program around quickly will make him appealing to a lot of the bigger programs who need a new identitiy.

Scott Frost, UCF

Enough can’t be said about the great job Scott Frost has done at UCF. Frost has had a lot of stops along the way before getting a head coaching job though. He has been an assistant at Nebraska, Kansas State, Northern Iowa and Oregon. With a ton of experience as an assistant and some early success as the man in charge, Frost is a lead candidate for a big job.

A few years before Frost got to UCF, the Golden Knights were able to make the Fiesta Bowl with Blake Bortles at quarterback. Unfortunately after Bortles left troubles started. In 2015 the program hit a low point, as they went 0-12. Long time coach George O’Leary was now gone and UCF found the right guy for the job in Frost. In his first season he won six games before losing in the Cure Bowl to Arkansas State. This season is what has people really appreciating Frost though, as he and the Golden Knights are undefeated. They will have a chance to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl, just two years after not winning a single game. What a turnaround.

Frost has been all over the country so it is hard to put a finger on where he may end up. He did play for Nebraska who may be looking for a new head coach after the season.

Mike Norvell, Memphis

Coaches who will get better jobs

Mike Norvell (Photo by

Norvell took over for Justin Fuente at Memphis and has kept his foot on the pedal for the Tigers. He has had stops along the way at Central Arkansas, Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State. Like many assistants he has traveled across the country to finally get his own job at Memphis.

Fuente turned the program around getting them to a 10 win then a nine win season before leaving for Virginia Tech. Norvell was able to hold things steady in his first season with an 8-5 record. Taking into account how much talent they lost when Fuente left, which includes Paxton Lynch, Norvell did a fine job. This year though, he is doing even better as the Tigers are 8-1, with a chance to make a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Norvell will lose a lot of talent after the season and may want to leave Memphis before things start getting worse. He could be a candidate for the Tennessee job, seeing that he has a more successful team from the same state.

Dino Babers, Syracuse

Babers is the only coach with a losing record on this list, but he is doing a great job at Syracuse. He also did a good job at Bowling Green and Eastern Illinois before that. With stops literally, all across the country, Babers is a coach who could fit in just about anywhere.

In the FCS at Eastern Illinois he took the team to the FCS Playoffs twice in his two seasons. At Bowling Green Babers finished with an 18-9 record, which included a ten win season in his last of two years there. Babers then earned the job at Syracuse and had to take over a rebuilding job. So far he has eight wins in almost two full seasons there. Syracuse was able to upset Clemson this year, which shows that Babers can coach with the best of them, even if his team is inconsistent at times. The Orange are sitting at 4-5 and have three games left to make a bowl game. Although he is already in rumors to get a better job, it would go a long way for Babers to make a bowl game.

Babers could stay at Syracuse for one more year and see what happens, but he has been in the rumors for the Florida job.

Neal Brown, Troy

Coaches who will get better jobs

Neal Brown (

Brown is a young energetic guy that took over Troy and has taken them to the next level. He is just 37 years old and is well on his way to getting a big time job. As an assistant, the most notable programs that Brown worked for were Texas Tech and Kentucky.

The Trojans went 3-9 before bringing Brown on. Brown had a tough task replacing Larry Blakeney who retired after coaching at Troy from 1990-2014. With limited talent on the roster Brown got to work. In his first season Troy took a baby step to finish 4-8, but the year after they jumped to a 10 win season. They capped the season off with a win over Ohio in the Dollar General Bowl. This season Troy is 7-2 and can get to another 10 win season. The Trojans got a big upset win over LSU in Death Valley to make the season even sweeter thus far.

Brown has been an assistant in Texas and in the SEC and has been rumored for a lot of the SEC jobs. Those jobs, or ones in Texas, will suit Brown the best.

Jason Candle, Toledo

Candle took over for Campbell at Toledo and has Toledo on the right trajectory. Candle has only had stops at Mount Union and Toledo, which creates a bit of an issue. He has had a fast rise to the level of head coach and shows the desire for more. Being on the Campbell coaching tree right now is a plus.

After being promoted to head coach for the bowl game in 2014, which Candle won, he has been on fire. The Rockets won nine games in 2015, but lost in the Camellia Bowl. This season Candle has been doing a great job leading Toledo to a 8-1 record. Their only loss is to undefeated Miami. While there schedule isn’t the best, Toledo is fast approaching the top 25 and could finish with 11 or 12 wins.

With his limited number of jobs, it limits where Candle could be a good fit. He has only coached in Ohio, so he will most likely be a good fit somewhere in the midwest or east.



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Five things we learned in week 5 of college football

Week five of college football is in the books. With more good football, comes more knowledge. Here are five things we learned from the week of football:

1. Alabama and Georgia are the class of The SEC

College football week 5

Jalen Hurts (Photo by

Alabama and Georgia are both very, very good. This week both teams had their second straight blowout wins in SEC play and look like they are on a collision course to meet in the SEC Championship.

The Crimson Tide have won their last two SEC games by a combined score of 125-3. The offense is firing on all cylinders and have been running the ball phenomenally. There are still questions of whether Jalen Hurts can beat a team with his arm, but the good news for Alabama is: He may not need to. Alabama’s defense is the number one scoring defense in the country and is showing flashes of being yet another elite Crimson Tide unit.

Georgia has won their two SEC games by a combined score of 72-3. The offense is running the ball well and just asking freshman quarterback Jake Fromm to manage the game. On defense, Georgia has the second best scoring defense in the country, right behind Alabama. If they continue playing like this, there is no one in the SEC East that can touch them.

It’s still relatively early, but these two teams are by far the most likely to be playing each other in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.

2. Saquon Barkley isn’t the only good running back

College football week 5

Bryce Love (photo by

Week five afforded the opportunity for a lot of running backs to have big games or to continue their good seasons. While Saquon Barkley has been getting a lot of the headlines, there are other backs who are having really impressive seasons.

Bryce Love of Stanford already has 1,000 yards on the season in just five games. He averages an astonishing 11.1 yards per carry. The fact that he averages a first down with every touch of the ball will start getting more love, no pun intended. If Stanford can win at least eight games and if he can continue to produce he will be invited to the Heisman ceremony.

San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny only amassed 107 yards in the Aztecs’ win over Northern Illinois, but had to deal with his eye being poked intentionally at the bottom of the pile. On the season 823 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. His performances have helped the Aztecs rise up to 19 in the polls before this week and they aren’t done climbing yet.

An under the radar running back this season is Josh Adams of Notre Dame. He has 658 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns on nine yards a carry. This week he rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries, while Notre Dame crushed Miami (OH). Adams is also a great receiver out of the backfield, which makes him an exciting player to watch. If Notre Dame can keep winning, Adams will see more publicity come his way.

3. The Pirate has Washington State rolling

Mike Leach, the pirate, has made Washington State a relevant football program. The Cougars are 5-0 and are coming off an upset win of USC in Pullman. As of now, they are a serious contender for the Pac-12 North and the College Football Playoff, but still have a lot of tough games on the schedule.

This week they were able to hold off the Trojans behind a solid offensive effort. Quarterback Luke Falk was able to throw for 340 yards against USC, which is impressive given that they have some NFL level talent in their secondary. The Cougar defense was able to limit Sam Darnold to just 164 yards passing.

While having the five wins is big for Washington State going forward, they haven’t played a road game yet. They will be tested in their next game when they play Oregon in Eugene along with a few other games down the stretch.

4. Big Night games in Blacksburg are needed

College football week 5

Lane Stadium (Photo by

One of the biggest games of the weekend was Clemson visiting Virginia Tech. The Tigers were able to handle the Hokies 31-17 in a hostile atmosphere. It was another impressive win for Clemson, who looks like they are on their way to the College Football Playoff.

Virginia Tech came up short of scoring a big upset, but the fans created such a unique and awesome environment for a prime time game. From the time “Enter Sandman” started playing through the loud speakers, the fans were ready for this game. It is a place unlike any other and more night games like this are needed.

The way the Hokies have played the last two years, this doesn’t look like it will be the last time we will see the Hokies host a big game. Justin Fuente has the team on a roll and when they continue to progress, more crazy games at Lane Stadium will be had.

5. The Grass isn’t always greener

College football week 5

Ed Orgeron (Photo by

LSU fired Les Miles during the middle of last season, despite having a great record as the head coach of the Tigers. LSU couldn’t beat Alabama out for the SEC West title very often, but they were a successful program under Miles, who were not to be messed with.

Ed Orgeron was hired as the interim coach after Miles was fired and was retained after the season. The Tigers have been wanting more offense, but have not really seen many results. This weekend they really struggled and ended up losing to Troy at home. It takes time to get an offense going, but things aren’t looking good early for Oregeron. The defense also looked to have its fair share of problems against Troy.

It is too early to give up on Oregeron because he hasn’t had a chance to get his type of players in, but he needs to improve the offense. The huge buyout in his contract will prevent LSU from firing him. Miles may not have been the greatest coach in the world, but sometimes comparing a program to Alabama can force people to make decisions they may regret.

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NFL Draft Prospects To Watch In The 2016 Dollar General Bowl

The Dollar General Bowl is new this season, giving everyone a chance to see even more prospects in bowl games. Both teams produce NFL talent. Ohio has three players in the NFL, while Troy has six players currently on rosters. Here are the prospects to watch in the Dollar General Bowl:

Ohio Bobcats

Tarell Basham, DE

Projected Draft Range: Sixth round-undrafted free agent

Basham has a huge chance to slow down the Troy offense as I mention in my bowl preview. Even though he goes to a MAC school, Basham has good size for a defensive end. He stands at six feet four inches tall and weighs in at 262 pounds. The most impressive thing about Basham is his consistency as a pass rusher. He only had three games all season, without at least half a sack. He also showed up big time in the Bobcats’ game against Tennessee with two sacks and a forced fumble. This showing against good competition should make NFL scouts interested.

Blair Brown, LB

Projected Draft Range: undrafted free agent

Dollar General Bowl

Blair Brown (Photo courtesy:

Brown was also mentioned in the Dollar General Bowl Preview. He is a tackling machine, which is increasingly important in the NFL. Most experts will tell you they have seen a lot of bad tackling games in the NFL season, so a guy like Brown is valuable. He has 65 solo tackles on the season. Another area he is good at is blitzing. Brown has 4.5 sacks, which is impressive for a non-edge rusher. To improve draft stock he has to show he can cover running backs and tight ends.

Troy Trojans

Antonio Garcia, OT

Projected Draft Range: undrafted free agent

Dollar General Bowl

Antonio Garcia (Photo courtesy:

Garcia has a lot of college experience with four years as a starting lineman. The main appealing thing about him is his size at six feet seven inches and 302 pounds. He will get a shot to make a roster, but will have to prove he can block athletic pass rushers at the NFL level.


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2016 Dollar General Bowl Preview

The Mac-East winner Ohio takes on the Troy Trojans in the 2016 Dollar General Bowl in Alabama.

Ohio Bobcats

The Bobcats had a bad loss to Texas State to start the year, but then finished the year at 8-5 and made it to the MAC Championship Game. They had key wins over Miami (OH) and Toledo, both of which are bowl eligible.

Greg Windham and Quinton Maxwell both played quarterback this year and combined for 2,830 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns and eight interceptions. They both have bad completion percentages at around 55%. Both players have the capability to run the ball as well to change the game. For this game, both quarterbacks will likely see some action.

Dollar Genral Bowl

Papi White (Photo courtesy:

Sebastian Smith and Papi White are the two best targets for the quarterbacks. Smith is a big receiver who plays on the outside. He currently has 877 receiving yards, but only four touchdowns. That isn’t good enough for his size. Papi White is a running back that moves around a lot. With 203 rushing yards and 608 receiving yards he is a key player for the offense.

Ohio has two running backs who have rushed for over 400 yards on the season. Dorian Brown has rushed for 802 yards and four scores. Maleek Irons rushed for 434 yards and 5 touchdowns. Brown has a good yards per carry average at 5.3.

Luckily for Ohio, they have the seventh best rush defense in the country and only allow 105 yards per game on the ground. Unfortunately, they have one of the worst pass defenses in college football and allow 257 yards per game.

Defensive lineman Tarell Basham has 11.5 sacks on the season to be their star. To go with Basham, Ohio boasts one of the best tacklers in college football, Blair Brown, who has 65 solo tackles on the year.

Troy Trojans

The Trojans had a really nice season at 9-3. Their only bad loss came at the hands of Georgia Southern, who can be a tricky team to beat. Troy’s solid wins include USA, Idaho and Appalachian State.

At quarterback, Brandon Silvers has played well. He has 2,945 yards passing on 65% passing. His 22 to 10 touchdown to interception ratio is also solid, as he will have to prove he doesn’t turn the ball over often with Basham pressuring him.

Silvers has three receivers with over five touchdowns: Emanuel Thompson (five), Deondre Douglas (six) and Tevaris McCormick (five). Thompson is the leader in yardage with 737 yards, but all three are valuable targets for Silvers.

Dollar General Bowl

Jordan Chunn (Photo courtesy:

Jordan Chunn has had a great season for the Trojans in the run game. 1,232 yards and 13 touchdowns. His yard per carry average of 4.8 could be a little higher, but is still good enough.

With their offense scoring 34.2 points per game, the defense usually just needs a few key stops per game. The rush defense for Troy gives up 124 yards per game, which is one of the best in the country. The weak link for Troy is the pass defense, which allows 241 yards per game.

Defensive lineman Rashad Dillard is the best on the team in creating pressure on the quarterback with 7.5 sacks. Defensive back Blace Brown takes full advantage of this pressure and has picked up six interceptions this season.



Troy will shut down the run game of Ohio and force them to pass. Dillard and Brown will help force turnovers, leaving it up to the Trojan offense. Ohio’s defense won’t be able to keep up with Troy’s offense.


Troy Trojans 38 Ohio Bobcats 23


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