Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Breaking down all of Friday's bowl games with an eye on the NFL Draft.
Independence Bowl, 2 p.m. EST, ESPN
Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Truth be told, there isn't much of an NFL Draft angle to this game. Neither team has much in the way of quality draft prospects, though a handful of players are still battling to get their names called on draft weekend.
Louisiana-Monroe's defense should provide a stiff test for the Ohio offense. Safety Khari Usher hasn't been too special this season and is probably looking at an uphill battle to get drafted. Linebacker R.J. Young, however, has a better chance. He was named second team all conference after leading the team in tackles and collected 10.5 tackles for loss this season. For the Bobcats, senior guard Eric Herman has the best chance to latch on with an NFL team.
The biggest matchup of the day will come when Louisiana-Monroe is on offense. Wide receiver Brent Leonard is slowly climbing boards after a strong senior season. He will be matched up on Ohio senior cornerback Travis Carrie, who has an outside shot at being drafted as well. Those two should be fun to watch.
Russell Athletic Bowl, 5:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech
This is easily the game of the day, as a potential first round pick will be on display.
Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene has been outstanding this season and has a chance to come off the board late in the first round. A former safety, Greene is a tremendous athlete who has shown balance as a weak side linebacker the last two seasons. Next to Greene on Rutgers' front-seven is Steve Beauharnais, an inside linebacker who has flown under the radar a bit despite solid production. The other big time Rutgers prospect is cornerback Logan Ryan, another Scarlet Knight that could sneak into the first round.
Virginia Tech's offense is going to have a big test. Quarterback Logan Thomas has struggled during his junior season. He's been inaccurate and made poor decisions far too often. His top two wide receivers, seniors Marcus Davis and Dyrell Roberts, haven't been much better.
The Hokies' strength lies on the defensive side of the ball. Linebackers Bruce Taylor and Jack Tyler both make life very difficult on opposing ground games. Rutgers redshirt sophomore running back Jawan Jamaison will certainly have his work cut out for him. In addition to Virginia Tech's linebackers, defensive end James Gayle provides a nice burst of the edge and is the team's best pass rusher. Rutgers tight end D.C. Jefferson may have a tough time finding any room to work against Virginia Tech's tough linebackers. Meanwhile, Rutgers wide receivers Mark Harrison and Brandon Coleman will have an interesting matchup in Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Meineke Car Care bowl, 9 p.m. EST, ESPN
Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
The night cap of Friday's bowl action doesn't offer much NFL Draft excitement. With the exception of Texas Tech tackle LaAdrian Waddle, I haven't seen enough of any player on either side to warrant a mention in this write up.