It’s completely understandable that college prospects have begun a trend of skipping their Bowl games. There, I said it. The risk of injury is always there, sure, but players also run the risk of playing poorly in front of a national audience and hurting their draft stock in the process. Every year come Bowl season, certain players can’t deal with the increase in competition and get exposed as “overrated” or “over-hyped” pro prospects. That’s essentially what happened to these five prospects.
DT Jerry Tillery (Notre Dame)
Tillery has been the most-hyped senior prospect at defensive tackle, and if the Fighting Irish were going to pull off an upset against Clemson they needed Tillery to have a monster game. Unfortunately, Tillery exited the game with zero statistics—not even a tackle—to his name. Worst of all, his egregious roughing-the-passer penalty late in the second quarter allowed Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence to throw a miraculous touchdown pass with nine seconds left in the half, putting his team up 23 to 3. Tillery did manage to block an extra point though, so there’s that.
LB Christian Miller (Alabama)
It’s tough to label a player a “loser” for getting injured, but this isn’t the first time for the senior linebacker. After coming back from a torn bicep last season, Miller was hoping to put the “injury-prone” label behind him. But early on in the game against Oklahoma, after having sacked Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray, Miller went down with a hamstring injury. He is now questionable for the College Football Championship. A player of Miller’s talent deserves to be drafted in the second round, but injury concerns may push him down to the third round or even Day 3 of the draft.
OG Dru Samia (Oklahoma)
Going against the consensus best defensive tackle in the country was never going to be easy for Samia, but he was manhandled by Alabama’s Quinnen Williams all night. Samia just could not keep up with Williams’s quickness off the snap and wasn’t prepared to deal with the sophomore pass rush repertoire. Some scouts and front-office members may give him a pass for this game but, regardless, it’s not a good look for the senior guard.
RB LJ Scott (Michigan State)
For a player that’s 6’1”, 225 pounds, it sure was easy for the Oregon Ducks’ linebackers to bring him down. The Ducks completely shut down the Spartans’ running game, and particularly Scott, in the Redbox Bowl. Scott finished the day with 84 yards on 24 attempts, with his longest run a 13-yard gain. When evaluators watch this tape, they won’t be impressed with the senior’s ability to run through tackles or avoid defenders in tight windows. Scott is a lower round prospect at this point who will need to spend the off-season shedding the dreaded “JAG” label.
QB Shea Patterson (Michigan)
While the junior transfer has announced that he’s returning to Michigan, he’ll have to spend the 2019 season hoping to rehabilitate his image after a poor performance in the Peach Bowl. While he made some nice throws, particularly early in the game, his pocket presence and decision-making while under pressure was Patterson’s undoing against Florida. The Gators absolutely flummoxed him and his offensive line with exotic blitzes throughout the game. His two interceptions in the second half sank any chance of coming back and making it a game. Patterson has much to work on in the off-season.