The 2018 college season is over for the Miami Hurricanes. Given the manner in which the season ended, that may be welcoming news for some of the fanbase. However, the trek along the road to the 2019 NFL Draft is getting into gear. Most of Miami’s NFL hopefuls have figured out their representation in terms of agency and will be sequestered with other draft prospects to prepare for the gauntlet of testing they’re set to endure in the coming months. One of the first showcases along the journey to the pros is participation in the college all-star game circuit.
The first two games that set draft season in motion will be the 94th annual East-West Shrine Game taking place in St. Petersburg, Florida. Many Canes have participated in the all-star game — Hurricanes such as LB Anthony Chickillo, OL Jon Feliciano, OL Joaquin Gonzalez and QB Ken Dorsey have taken part in the game in recent memory — with the goal of each player to try and make a better case for their draft stocks in the months before the draft. While how fast or strong a player is will shortly be the topic of conversation as April peeks above the horizon, yet all-star games such as this serve as a make-up test to boost your GPA after evaluators have watched the game film. This time around, the Hurricanes will be represented by CB Michael Jackson Sr. and OL Tyree St. Louis.
The most surprising name on this list is Michael Jackson, who only a year ago would have been considered a high draft pick coming off his breakout season where he nabbed four interceptions and deflected five passes. Mike Jack didn’t record an interception during the 2018 season and gave up some big plays in coverage during the season that caught the concern of some scouts. However, Jackson’s size 6’1, 205 pound is right in line with the prototype for the position at the next level. With college all-star games neutered down to the basics — no blitzing, with only man or zone coverage behind a four-man pass rush — Mike Jack has an ideal platform to illustrate that his coverage abilities are just as pronounced as his skill set in run support.
Michael Jackson Sr. (DB, Miami) defends Terry Godwin Jr. (WR, UGA). pic.twitter.com/XzeYK56qS4— PewterReport (@PewterReport) January 14, 2019
Tyree St. Louis is facing an uphill challenge as he embarks on the path to the pros. There have been times when St. Louis has been good enough to stonewall edge-rushers at the point of attack. Other times, the tackle hailing from IMG Academy struggled against both bull rushes and speed rushes. St. Louis would be better to slide back over to right tackle looking ahead, yet evaluators are going to want to see what he can do on both sides. St. Louis’ footwork and kickstep off the snap will be highly scrutinized during practice session throughout the week. If Tyree is able to show some promise, it could garner an invite to the premier all-star event — one that we’ll discuss next week.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is the new kid of all-star circuit. Having debuted less than five years ago, the event gives players on the fringes a chance to put themselves on the radar for NFL clubs digging for some deeps gems. Former Hurricane S Adrian Colbert took part in the game and was drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In the 2019 edition of the game, the Hurricanes will be represented by C Tyler Gauthier. Of note, Tyree St. Louis was also invited to this game, but appears to have chosen to attend the Shrine Game instead. For Gauthier, the Collegiate Bowl marks the final game in Hurricane-affiliated apparel after being suspended by the school for academic reasons. The intrigue for the center will come down to how well the lineman is able to establish himself as a run-blocker. As mentioned earlier, there’s little to no blitzing in all-star games, turning each matchup into a battle of wills, especially in the trenches.
Gauthier won’t be the lone Hurricane when the game kicks off at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. The game also serves as a coaching clinic of sorts, made up of former stars from the league who may have an interest in manning the sidelines in the foreseeable future. On the National team, UM will be represented by Clinton Portis, who will serve as the team’s RB coach. On the American Team, former UM DB coach Chuck Pagano will serve as the head coach, with Hurricane legendary S Ed Reed working as the team’s defensive coordinator. Miami WR Andre Johnson will coordinate with Plaxico Burress as the WR coaches for the American team. NFLPA President Eric Winston spoke to the players earlier in the week regarding the opportunity presented to them.
Last night’s NFLPA University featured NFLPA President @ericwinston, @CameronLynch50 and 2018 #NFLPABowl alum @J_FranklinMyers— The Collegiate Bowl (@NFLPABowl) January 16, 2019
It’s about opportunity and this year’s players are taking advantage of the knowledge they are learning every day. pic.twitter.com/vNmXpfGdnZ
At yesterdays American Team practice, the rain returned but only briefly providing the players with a great afternoon coached by some well known former NFL players including @TwentyER, @johnson80 and @plaxicoburress. #NFLPABowl pic.twitter.com/cSjWKj4u9l— The Collegiate Bowl (@NFLPABowl) January 16, 2019
We wish all these ProCanes and future NFL stars good luck this weekend.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!