For this series I am going to do what I would call the Ultimate 2014 Small School Draft. The guys who I believe are the best in small school at their position. Today I give you QB, RBs and WRs.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Eastern Illinois
After an excellent senior season at EIU capped off by winning the Walter Payton Award Garoppolo burst into the National spotlight. Garoppolo is an athletic QB with a lighting release and a superbly touched deep ball. The offence Garoppolo played whilst at EIU was in many ways a similar to what RGIII played in at Baylor but with a few more pro wrinkles attached to it. Garoppolo will go through the over analysing, the look for every weakness phases after he stellar showing at the East West shrine game and Senior Bowl but I’m taking Garoppolo over any other FCS QB and a few of the more established named FBS QBs.
Click here for in depth Analysis of Jimmy Garoppolo
Terrance West – Towson
West finished his career at Towson with the most dominant season that a FCS RB has ever produced. 2509 rush yards, combined with 41 rush TDs. The past season has seen West become one of the most talked about FCS RBs in draft history. West has the ability to cut in a micro second leaving defenders stuck in turf and grasping at air. West is one of the best RBs in the draft at bouncing his way to the outside and balancing himself down the sideline superbly. Add into the mix West is more than willing to drop his shoulder and deliver a crowd ‘woo’ just adds to why West has been such a pleasure to watch through the 2013 FCS season. Whoever draft West is not only getting one hell of a talent on field but one that has also shown off field he’s not going to give up.
Isaiah Crowell – Alabama State
After a promising 2011 season at Georgia the buzz was high for Crowell to be of the stars of the 2012 SEC season. A couple of arrests later and trouble with the law Crowell found himself at FCS level with AlabamaState. The first thing that jumps out with Crowell in game is the simple fact that he looks and plays like a top SEC RB. Crowell’s ability to see lanes opening up when just receiving the hand off is sublime. He’s already one step ahead just as he gets the ball. Add in Crowell has the burst of a 100m sprinter, the balance of a tightrope walker and the stiff arm like when a wrecking ball first hit a caravan you’ve got a RB to be excited about. Whenever you watch Crowell you cant help but wonder what could have been at Georgia but don’t let that subtract from the player Crowell is. Crowell in my opinion who still is a top SEC RB but who just so happens to be playing at FCS leavel.
John Brown – Pittsburg State
One of the most electrifying players in D2 football. Think of a cross between DeShaun Jackson at receiver and Devin Hester on kick off returns and you have D2 John Brown. Ok im not saying Brown is on that level but you get the idea of the type of player Brown is. The first thing that jumps out when watching Brown is wow this guy is fast. Second is are we watching a game of Madden with his juke moves and cutting in the open field. Thirdly Brown has the double move down by the goal line to a fine art. Many a time leaving a DB on his bum just wondering what happened. You cant help but watch Brown and say you want him to find his way onto an NFL roster. In his final season with Pittsburg State Brown averaged 99.8 yards receiving a game, along with a 32.4 yards average on kick off returns. Whilst some might knock him for his size (5-10, 175lbs) I just cant help but watch Brown and think this guy can contribute some way to an NFL team.
Jeff Janis – Saginaw Valley State
When over the last two seasons you have caught 189 passes for 3207 yards with 31 touchdowns you are going to get noticed. When you measure in around 6 foot 3, 215 pounds to go with it there is no hiding. Jeff Janis has been blowing away D2 opposition and this off season got noticed for that by becoming only the 4th GLIAC player and 2nd only Saginaw Valley State player in history to receive an invite to the Senior Bowl. On the field when watching Janis you see a WR who within two steps has the CB beaten. Give Janis the ball in space and you see that rumoured 4.33 to 4.43 speed in action. The whole package of speed, height, weight, body control and decent hands means little to no matchup issues for Janis at D2 level. Janis has spoken about it and everyone wonders it, will his skill set be enough against pro DBs? Is his superb first steps enough against pro DBs? How will he fair when DBs get physical with him at the LOS? Right now we don’t know but its going to be fun and interesting to find out. Oh and just to let you know Detroit Lions, Tawas City native Janis has spoken of how cool it would be to play for the Lions. Hint, hint.