For the second year, our Reese’s Senior Bowl scouting team will be on 10-plus college campuses around the country every week during the 2023 college football season. This year’s scouting team includes 10 former NFL scouts with more than 200 years of league experience. The Senior Bowl has had 100-plus players drafted, accounting for more than 40 percent of the past three NFL draft classes.
Follow @JimNagy_SB on Twitter on Saturday to see up-close, field-level videos on the following players:
Scouting College Football Week 3
All games are on Saturday.
Penn State at Illinois — Noon ET, FOX
Penn State TEs Theo Johnson (6-foot-6, 258 pounds, 33 1/8-inch arm) and Tyler Warren (6-foot5 7/8, 256 pounds, 32 1/4-inch arm) — The Nittany Lions might have lost Jacksonville Jaguars second-rounder Brenton Strange. Still, they return arguably the country’s top senior tight end duo in Johnson and Warren. These guys possess prototype NFL measurables and the type of versatility scouts seek. Johnson is an easy-moving seam-stretcher who staffers say will test very well next spring. Warren is a sneakier receiving threat who catches everything thrown within his reach. The pair has accounted for only nine catches for 60 yards and one TD so far this season working with new QB Drew Allar, so they are due for a breakout game on Saturday in Champaign, Ill.
Kansas State at Missouri — Noon ET, SEC Network
Kansas State QB Will Howard (6-foot4, 244 pounds, 9 1/8-inch hand) — We’ve been very clear through our social media posts this offseason that Wildcats’ QB Will Howard was one of our favorites based on 2022 tape. What he did last year being pressed back into duty in what was expected to be a personal “regroup” redshirt season was impressive. Howard, who accounted for five touchdowns last week against a usually stingy Troy defense, has prototype size, underrated mobility and natural accuracy. We like to check in with opposing coaches after they go up against potential Senior Bowl quarterbacks to get their perspective. Troy head coach Jon Sumrall, who faced some good ones as a defensive coordinator at Kentucky, thinks he is a “dude” for our game.
Iowa State at Ohio — Noon ET, ESPNU
Iowa State CB T.J. Tampa (6-foot-1, 198 pounds, 32 3/8-inch arm) — Sometimes our Senior Bowl players will give us an early heads-up about their college teammates, and that’s exactly what happened last year when Iowa State pass rusher Will McDonald IV (and eventual New York Jets’ first-round pick) sang the praises of then-junior CB T.J. Tampa. NFL teams that play a high volume of Cover 1 and Cover 3 will like Tampa’s skill set.
The Cyclones play a lot of press-man coverage, so that the evaluation won’t take much projection from NFL evaluators. Tampa has 32 3/8-inch arms, which is well above the standard for every NFL team, and he plays even longer than that. Tampa’s length shows up in all phases of his game — playing off blocks, tangling up the legs of ball-carriers and erasing throwing lanes. We go way back over the years with Tampa’s high school coach at Lakewood HS in St. Petersburg, Fla., former NFL player Corey Moore, and he raves about his former player’s pure athleticism. Tampa will have a nice challenge this week going up against Ohio University QB Kurtis Rourke, the only MAC passer on this year’s Senior Bowl Watchlist.
South Carolina at Georgia — 3:30 pm ET, CBS
Georgia C Sedrick Van Pran (6-foot-4, 315 pounds, 31 1/4-inch arm) — True natural centers have been in short supply the past few draft cycles, but it’s a deeper and more talented class this year. One of the best in the group is Georgia’s Sedrick Van Pran. The three-year starter (32 straight games) has played a bunch of ball against top competition, so he’s about as NFL-ready as any college center could possibly be. What we like about Van Pran is that he’s quick, alert and tough.
His shorter arms will assuredly be nit-picked by scouts, but he compensates by knowing how to use his hands and big body to cover people up. We had the chance to meet Van Pran at SEC media days this summer, and he’s the type of high intangibles player who could help himself in team interviews during Senior Bowl week. Another Bulldog prospect we’ll be keeping a close eye on Saturday is left guard Xavier Truss.
Pitt at West Virginia — 7:30 pm ET, ABC
West Virginia DE Sean Martin (6-foot-5 3/8, 291 pounds, 35 1/8-inch arm) — West Virginia lost some defensive linemen in the portal this offseason. Still, the one who stayed, versatile DT/DE Sean Martin, was the best one based on our junior tape study. It’s hard to find defensive linemen with Martin’s length and power. He is stout in the run game, holding down two gaps versus side pressure and he can affect the quarterback in two ways, by collapsing the pocket with the extension he gets on his bull rush and disrupting passing lanes with his excessive reach.
Our scout who does that part of the country, former longtime Steelers scout Mark Gorscack, did the school visit in Morgantown. W.V., this week and says Martin has the frame to add weight to his fit-looking angular frame, which means he could fit at the next level as both a 4-3 DT or 3-4 DE and moldable scheme diverse DL typically don’t get out of Day 2 in April.
San Diego State at Oregon State — 3:30 pm ET, FS1
Oregon State LT Joshua Gray (6-foot-4 3/8, 306 pounds, 32-inch arm) and RT Taliese Fuaga (6-foot-6, 325 pounds, no verified arm length) — Much has been made these first two weeks about the solid play of Clemson transfer QB D.J. Uiagalelei and a big reason behind his resurgence is the stellar play of a Beavers’ offensive line that has only allowed one sack so far this season. While bookend tackles Joshua Gray (left) and Taliese Fuaga (right) are very different prospects — the former being a more athletic and mobile guard prospect, the latter being bigger and more powerful right tackle — they both entered the 2023 season with fringe Top 100 grades on our Senior Bowl board. Longtime Pac-12 OL Coach Jim Michalczik deserves recognition for what he’s done developing this unit. Our staff sees both players as potential NFL starters.
Holy Cross at Yale — Noon ET, ESPN+
Yale OT Kiran Amegadjie (6-foot-5 1/8, 321 pounds, 36 3/4-inch arm) — Our staff is fired up to be at the Yale Bowl in New Haven on Saturday to check out our highest-graded small-school (sub-FBS) player off junior tape: Bulldogs’ left tackle Kiran Amegadjie. Few tackles in this year’s class stack up to Amegadjie regarding measureables or upside. Amegadjie worked with a friend of the Senior Bowl, former Cincinnati Bengals all-time great Willie Anderson, this offseason, and we can’t wait to see what he looks like with more refined technique and greater tenacity.
Strong weeks in Mobile, Ala., have solidified Top-50 grades for a bunch of FCS-level O-linemen in recent years, including eventual first-rounders like Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa/Saints) and Cole Strange (Tennessee-Chattanoonga/Patriots). Amegadjie is the best bet to become “that guy” this year. NFL teams are already sending director-level evaluators to this long, naturally light-footed pass protector.
Before taking over as executive director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl in 2018, Jim Nagy was an NFL scout for nearly two decades, having worked for five teams that won a combined four Super Bowls. Follow him on Twitter @JimNagy_SB.