Top FCS candidates for NFL Draft

Philadelphia, PA ( – NFL teams don’t overlook what the small
school players can offer them,

An average of 18-19 players from the FCS level have been selected in each NFL
Draft over the last decade.

Samford strong safety Jaquiski Tartt could be the first FCS player selected in
this year’s draft, and a solid group of running backs also help to highlight
the prospects from the lower half of Division I.

This year’s draft will be held from April 30 to May 2 in Chicago.

Following are bios of many of the top prospects from the FCS level:

Malcolm Agnew, RB, Southern Illinois, 5-9, 207

Senior season was cut short by an ankle injury. In eight games, he still led
the Salukis in rushes (136), rushing yards (820), yards per carry (6.0), long
run (65), rushing yards per game (102.5) and rushing touchdowns (10) …
Transferred to SIU after playing two seasons at Oregon State, where he ran for
223 yards and three touchdowns in his first game as a true freshman in 2011.
However, he later suffered a hamstring injury and managed only 469 additional
rushing yards over the two seasons … A balanced back who works patiently
behind blockers, using his vision to find holes and then quickly cuts into them
… Reliable ball catcher out of the backfield.

Jermaine Barton, OT, Illinois State, 6-7, 315

Never missed a start at right tackle in 39 career games over three seasons at
Illinois State after transferring in from Miami (Fla.) … Tall and physical,
Barton anchored the offensive line of the 2014 FCS national runner-up Redbirds
and their national rushing leader, Marshaun Coprich … With his long body, he
can get out and run in the screen game. He may have only scratched the surface
of his potential … Earned third-team All-America honors from The Sports
Network as a senior.

Bryan Bennett, QB, Southeastern Louisiana, 6-2, 211

Marcus Mariota’s former backup at Oregon, Bennett spent his final two seasons
in the Southland Conference, where he led Southeastern to back-to-back
championships … Finished as the school’s career leader with 70 touchdowns
responsible for and 31 rushing touchdowns. He also totaled 1,715 rushing yards,
5,522 passing yards and 39 passing touchdowns … A dual-threat with the power
to run through tacklers and possessing a strong arm, he must start to make
better decisions as a passer … Late addition to the Senior Bowl, where he was
5-for-10 for 80 yards but with two interceptions … Enjoyed an impressive NFL

Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware, 6-4, 268

Noted for being a tough, physical blocker in open space, he has to develop more
of a nasty streak in the run game … Senior Bowl selection has reliable 10
3/8-inch hands and moves well for his size … In 41 career games, he caught
101 passes for 984 yards and 12 touchdowns. Seven of the TDs came in his junior
season … Was named to the All-CAA first team and The Sports Network FCS All-
America third team as a senior … Has the ability to be a longer snapper or
line up at fullback.

DeAndre Carter, WR, Sacramento State, 5-9, 185

Totaled 33 touchdowns (31 receiving) in 23 games over his junior and senior
seasons … Had 99 receptions for 1,321 yards and 17 touchdowns through the air
as a senior. Included was a 16-catch, 273-yard, four-touchdown performance in a
win over Southern Utah … Uses quickness to adjust to defensive coverages …
Can be utilized as a returner … Made The Sports Network FCS All-America first
team in 2014 … Played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Imoan Claiborne, CB, Northwestern State, 5-10, 181

College quarterbacks have shied away from Claiborne, but he was still a
playmaker at Northwestern State, totaling four interceptions and three fumble
recoveries as a senior … His ability to play physical press man coverage is
outstanding, and he’s a physical run defender. Also a special teams standout
… Earned All-Southland Conference first-team honors as well as a third-team
selection to The Sports Network FCS All-America team as a senior … Played in
the Senior Bowl.

Anthony “Ace” Clark, SS, Western Carolina, 6-2, 220

Four-year starter racked up 339 career tackles, second-most in Western Carolina
history. He also forced three fumbles as a senior and added three fumble
recoveries and three interceptions in his career … Strong in run support but
able to go one-on-one with larger receivers … Receptive to a transition to
linebacker … Earned 2014 All-Southern Conference first-team honors.

John Crockett, RB, North Dakota State, 6-0, 217

A 1,000-yard back for the last three of NDSU’s four straight FCS national
championship squads, Crockett finished second on the career rushing chart with
4,309 yards after setting a single-season rushing mark of 1,994 yards in 2014
… He will power between the tackles and can cut to win one-on-one matchups
and break off long runs. Also a solid pass catcher out of the backfield and
will return kickoffs … Must lower upright running style … The Sports
Network second-team All-American played in the East-West Shrine Game just one
week after the FCS championship game.

Ryan Delaire, DE, Towson, 6-4, 254

Athletic transfer from Massachusetts played two seasons at Towson, contributing
17.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries to the Tigers’
2013 FCS national runner-up squad … Made the All-CAA Football first team in
both seasons at Towson … Could switch to outside linebacker in the NFL and
will have to shed blocks better … Tigers coach Rob Ambrose lauds Delaire for
having a surgeon’s ability to study a situation and put the attention to detail
to work … Underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in January, forcing him to
decline invitations to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and Medal of Honor Bowl.

Nick Easton, C, Harvard, 6-3, 300

Two-time Ivy League first-team selection has the body type and strength of a
pro center to attack nose guards playing in a 3-4, but also is athletic and
versatile to shotgun snap and move versus 4-3 defenses … Harvard squad went
10-0 in his senior season while he earned second-team All-America honors from
The Sports Network … Played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Kyle Emanuel, DE, North Dakota State, 6-3, 255

Emanuel was a runaway winner of the 2014 Buck Buchanan Award after dominating
the FCS ranks all season. Finished his career with more FCS national titles
(four) than defeats (58-3 record) … Played in all 61 career games, with 49
starts … Has terrific instincts, a relentless style and flashes good moves
with low pad level to get around tackles. But he doesn’t have prototypical size
for an NFL defensive end … Collected 41 sacks in his career, including 19.5
as a senior – the FCS seasonal high along with 32.5 tackles for loss … Played
in the East-West Shrine Game one week after NDSU won the national title.

Antoine Everett, OG, McNeese State, 6-2, 325

Fundamentally sound offensive lineman with quick feet and great strength …
Explodes off the ball well and plays on his feet. He uses his 325-pound girth
in pass protection … Making a transition from left tackle … Didn’t miss a
start the past two seasons while earning All-Southland Conference first-team
honors … Selected to The Sports Network FCS All-America second team as a
senior … Played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Daniel Fitzpatrick, SS, Tennessee State, 6-2, 215

Ball hawk was set back by injuries as a senior after leading the FCS with eight
interceptions (three for touchdown returns) in 2013 … Hard-hitting safety who
prepares himself in the weight and film rooms … Heady player who displays
strong instincts in getting to the ball … Finished career with 261 tackles
… Made The Sports Network FCS All-America second team and All-Ohio Valley
Conference first team in 2013.

Jacob Hagen, S, Liberty, 6-3, 205

Kept getting better during college career, finishing with 14 of his 15 career
interceptions over the last two seasons … Was on The Sports Network FCS All-
America first team in 2014 after collecting 108 tackles, eight interceptions,
seven pass breakups, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery while leading
Liberty to its first-ever FCS playoff berth and win … Blends size and heady
style with good movement to make plays.

Chad Hamilton, OL, Coastal Carolina, 6-2, 295

Played a big role in Coastal Carolina’s recent assention in the FCS, gaining
All-Big South Conference first-team honors in both his junior and senior
seasons … In his junior season, he helped the Chanticleers average the fewest
tackles per loss in the FCS. As a senior, he had only three penalties and
allowed only two sacks in CCU’s 433 pass attempts … Bulked up for senior
season, but will have to transition from tackle to guard or center in the NFL
… Intelligent with good foot movement and a strong sense of preparation …
Selected to The Sports Network FCS All-America Team as a senior.

Tavrean “Sage” Harold, OLB, James Madison, 6-4, 245

Enjoyed a breakout senior season as a pass-rushing defensive end and earned
All-CAA Football first-team honors … Size necessitates a transition to
outside linebacker in the NFL … Displays a good instinct for the ball and
rarely lets a runner escape his grasp … Collected 23.5 tackles for loss, 13.5
sacks and six forced fumbles – all CAA highs – with 73 tackles as a senior …
Finished with 13 forced fumbles over career … Must improve in pass coverage.

R.J. Harris, WR, New Hampshire, 6-0, 203

Earned All-CAA Football first- or second-team honors in all four seasons of his
career. Racked up 310 receptions for 4,328 yards and 36 touchdowns in that time
… Not a fast receiver, but he moves well out of breaks and has good hands.
Will mix it up as a blocker in the run game … Selected to The Sports Network
FCS All-America first team in 2014 while New Hampshire reached the FCS national
semifinals for a second consecutive season … Scored a Maryland high school-
record 28 touchdowns as a senior in 2009.

Zack Hodges, OLB, Harvard, 6-2, 250

Possessing raw power and speed off the edge, Hodges will transition from
defensive end in college to outside linebacker in the NFL … Named the Ivy
League’s defensive player of the year in 2013 and shared the honor as a senior
on an unbeaten 2014 Harvard squad… Ranks first on Crimson all-time chart with
27 sacks … A first-team All-Ivy League selection for three straight seasons
and selected to The Sports Network FCS All-America second team as both a junior
and a senior … Must get stronger against the run … Played in the Senior
Bowl after turning down invitation for the East-West Shrine Game.

David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa, 6-1, 224

Offers coveted size and versatility with a shifty running style to get into the
open field. He patterns his hard-to-tackle style after Matt Forte of the
Chicago Bears … Likely raised stock with a game-high 141 all-purpose yards
and a rushing touchdown at the Senior Bowl … Set 15 school records at UNI,
finishing with 4,682 rushing yards, 6,854 all-purpose yards and 64 touchdowns
in his career … Excellent pass catcher, totaling 203 receiving yards in a
2014 game at Iowa, and returns kickoffs … Posted impressive measurables at
the NFL Combine.

Landon “Gus” Johnson, RB, Stephen F. Austin, 5-10, 215

A big-play running back who is short but thick, he doesn’t shy away from
contact. He lacks a great burst, but was highly productive during his SFA
career, often adding yards after contact … Although not a workhorse back, he
does a good job to use his physical strength and change directions against
defenders … Was named the 2014 Southland Conference player of the year after
setting conference records with 1,683 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground …
Made The Sports Network FCS All-America first team and was a Walter Payton
Award finalist.

Dezmin Lewis, WR, Central Arkansas, 6-4, 214

Tall, agile receiver battled injuries as a senior, finishing with 50 receptions
for 721 yards and seven touchdowns … Finished productive career with 183
receptions for 2,444 yards and 22 touchdowns … Background in basketball is
evident as Lewis is a reliable go-to receiver with excellent hands and an
ability to make the tough catches in traffic … Though not blessed with
blazing speed, he took a short pass in the flat for a 90-yard touchdown as a
senior … Played in the Senior Bowl, catching three passes for a game-high 59

Kyle Loomis, P, Portland State, 6-2, 221

Big, strong punter began career at Oregon State in 2006 before leaving for the
Army a year later, then returned to action at Portland State in 2013. He wound
up leading the FCS in punting average in both 2013 (46.5 yards) and 2014 (46.0)
… Combines hang time with the distance for excellent nets on his punts …
Made The Sports Network FCS All-America second team as a junior and first team
as a senior … Punted in the Senior Bowl … One of the older draft prospects
at 27 years old.

Derrick Lott, DT, Chattanooga, 6-4, 314

Returned for a sixth season in 2014 and made the most of it with 13.5 tackles
for loss, six sacks and a first-team All-Southern Conference selection …
Natural talent who moves quite well for his size and can shed blocks to get
into the backfield … Missed much of the 2013 season with an elbow injury and
regained the season of eligibility. Spent 2009-2011 at Georgia, redshirting in
his first season and then playing in only five games the next two seasons …
Played in the East-West Shrine Game … Will turn 25 in June.

Jerry Lovelocke, QB, Prairie View A&M, 6-4, 248

Big pocket passer who is viewed as a developmental prospect coming out of the
Southwestern Athletic Conference … Has to improve mechanics, but has the
physical tools … Highly experienced after being relied on early in his
Prairie View career … In a 10-game schedule as a senior, he passed for 2,473
yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 10 TDs … Played in the NFLPA
Collegiate Bowl.

Dean Marlowe, FS, James Madison, 6-1, 203

Missing only two starts in 49 career games, Marlowe earned All-CAA Football
honors in each of his four seasons, including twice on the first team … Had a
career-high 96 tackles as a senior to finish with 326 in his career. Also has
30 passes defended and 12 interceptions during his career … Disruptive hard-
hitter who reads quarterbacks and routes to get to ball carriers, but lacking
great speed … Became only the second JMU player ever selected for the East-
West Shrine Game.

Douglas “Tre” McBride, WR, William & Mary, 6-0, 210

Terrific athlete who works hard on his technique to offset lack of size and
blazing speed … Breaks well and attacks the ball with a smooth, polished
style … Best season was as a sophomore (55 receptions, 897 yards, 10
touchdowns), although he had over 50 receptions and 800-plus yards in each of
his final three seasons … Was the CAA special teams player of the year in
2013 and racked up 1,294 kickoff return yards in his William & Mary career
… Has fared well against FBS competition and played in the East-West Shrine
Game … Had an impressive 4.41-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

Tevin McDonald, FS, Eastern Washington, 5-11, 195

Son of six-time NFL All-Pro safety Tim McDonald and brother to T.J. McDonald, a
third-round draft choice in 2013 by the St. Louis Rams … UCLA transfer is
small for an NFL safety and will have to bulk up. He is an excellent tackler
and had good outings for Eastern Washington against better competition … His
production rose significantly in his second season at EWU, gaining 78 tackles,
four tackles for loss, three interceptions, seven pass breakups, three forced
fumbles and two fumble recoveries … Started the final 24 games of a two-
season career at UCLA before being dismissed for violating a team policy …
Played in the East-West Shrine Game.

Robert Myers, OG, Tennessee State, 6-5, 326

Intriguing upside despite never earning higher than All-Ohio Valley Conference
second-team honors … Strong coachability has led to his maximizing
athleticism and technique … Has fared well with movement in the run game and
against the pass, although he will face challenges against stronger NFL
defenders … Has the body frame to put on more weight … Participated at the
Senior Bowl.

MyCole Pruitt, TE, Southern Illinois, 6-2, 251

Was incredibly consistent throughout his four seasons at SIU, including three
Missouri Valley Football Conference first-team selections and twice on The
Sports Network FCS All-America first team … Finished as the MVFC’s career
record holder among tight ends in receptions (211), receiving yards (2,601) and
receiving touchdowns (25) … As sure-handed as tight ends come, Pruitt makes
smart decisions and runs precise routes … Doesn’t have the height or speed of
today’s NFL tight end, so H-back could be considered … Played in the East-
West Shrine Game.

LeBranden Richardson, OLB, Bethune-Cookman, 6-2, 255

Former Central Florida player is long and agile with the excellent range to
convert to outside linebacker after playing defensive end at Bethune-Cookman
… Known for getting to ball carriers, he must get stronger for the next level
… Selected to the All-MEAC first team as a senior after gaining 15 tackles
for loss and eight sacks … Finished with 42.5 TFL and 21 sacks in three
seasons with the Wildcats.

Jake Rodgers, OT, Eastern Washington, 6-6, 315

Versatility is unquestioned after he made all 12 starts over four offensive
line positions at Washington State in 2012, including one at left guard against
Eastern Washington, before he transferred to the Big Sky Conference school for
his final two seasons … Has terrific balance in both run and pass situations
and uses his big frame well while being aggressive …. Strong understanding of
defenses is a plus for second-team FCS All-American, but he must improve
against speed rushers … Played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

De’Ante Saunders, CB, Tennessee State, 5-10, 200

A transfer from Florida, where he made nine starts in 2011 as a true freshman
but was kicked off the team a year later after a handful of off-the-field
issues … Though not a speedster, Saunders is quick to the ball, as evidenced
by his 51 tackles, five interceptions and six pass breakups as a senior …
Doesn’t shy away from physical play in the run game … Named to the 2014 All-
Ohio Valley Conference first team … Played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl …
Nicknamed “Pop.”

Ross Scheuerman, RB, Lafayette, 6-0, 204

Ended highly productive career with a 304-yard, three-touchdown performance
against Lehigh at Yankee Stadium … Has flashed sub-4.4 speed, as evidenced by
his ability to break away from defenders in multiple duties. Finished career
with 3,504 rushing yards, 1,197 receiving yards, 1,645 kickoff return yards and
41 touchdowns … Comes from a multiple pro system and has improved running
between the tackles and as a pass blocker, but he must bulk up some more …
Made at least All-Patriot League second-team honors in each of his four seasons
… Participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Deon Simon, NT, Northwestern State, 6-4, 321

Surprisingly agile for his large frame, Simon has the strength to handle the
physical work of double teams in the run game … His athleticism fared well in
early season games against FBS opponents Baylor (five tackles, forced fumble)
and Louisiana Tech, but his 2014 campaign was cut nearly in half by injuries
… Collected 93 tackles, with 42 solo stops, 14.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks
and three pass deflections in his career … Must show a higher level of
consistency … Was one of the top performers in the bench press (35 225-pound
reps) at the NFL Combine,

Tye Smith, CB, Towson, 6-0, 195

Had strong finish to senior season to earn All-CAA Football first-team honors
… Good in coverage, he’s an intelligent decision maker who uses his good
length and tackle skills to make plays. Put on weight as a senior without
losing speed, but doesn’t display elite hip movement … As a 3 1/2-year
starter, Smith collected 312 tackles, six interceptions, six forced fumbles and
26 pass breakups … Played for the 2013 FCS national runner-up squad … Had a
solid week at the East-West Shrine Game.

Neal Sterling, WR, Monmouth, 6-4, 235

Has the size, strength and long arms of an NFL receiver and knows how to put
his body to use with a physical style … Tracks the ball with excellent body
control and hand-eye coordination … Caught a program-record 202 passes in
four seasons as a starter, and finished a 57-reception, six-touchdown senior
season on the All-Big South Conference first team … Has come back strong from
an injury-plagued sophomore season in 2012.

Jaquiski Tartt, S, Samford, 6-1, 221

Three-time nominee for the Buck Buchanan Award and two-time finalist … Has
the speed (4.46 seconds in 40-yard dash) and sideline-to-sideline style to make
plays against the run or pass. Has excellent range and is physical at the point
of contact … Returned to his hometown of Mobile, Alabama, to play in the
Senior Bowl. NFL Network analyst Charles Davis described Tartt as “an absolute
missile” at safety during practice week … Over his career, Tartt tallied
277 tackles, including 199 solo stops, with 6.5 tackles for loss, six
interceptions and 20 pass breakups … Noted for good character and upside.

Lynden Trail, OLB, Norfolk State, 6-7, 269

Former University of Florida player has terrific speed and movement for his
large frame, with the ability to play outside ‘backer or a 4-3 defensive end.
He also could be considered for tight end … Has a long wingspan, but must
improve hand usage at the point of attack … Disruptive player who tied for
the FCS high with five forced fumbles in 2013 and totaled 41 tackles for loss
and 19.5 sacks in three seasons at Norfolk State. Earned first-team All-MEAC
honors each season … A two-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, Trail
played in the Senior Bowl and received an invite to the East-West Shrine Game
… Will turn 24 in March.

Davis Tull, DE/OLB, Chattanooga, 6-2, 246

First three-time winner of Southern Conference defensive player of the year
award since Dexter Coakley from 1994-96 … Started all 48 games in his
Chattanooga career and set school records with 60 tackles for loss, 37 sacks
and 10 forced fumbles … Intelligent player with a high motor who displays
explosive movement off the snap … Needs to get stronger for the next level
and a likely candidate to transition from defensive end to outside linebacker,
where he will utilize his running ability … Two-time Buck Buchanan Award
finalist played in the East-West Shrine Game and had both a 42.5-inch vertical
jump and 11-foot broad jump (both among the best) at the NFL Combine.

Tyler Varga, RB/FB, Yale, 5-11, 222

CFL scouts no longer need to concern themselves with this Canadian, he’s NFL-
bound … The Ivy League’s offensive player of the year rushed for two
touchdowns in the Senior Bowl, finishing with 31 yards on four carries as well
as three receptions for 39 yards … A two-time second-teamer on The Sports
Network FCS All-America Team, he averaged 6.1 yards per carry and 142.3 rushing
yards per game with a school-record 26 touchdowns in only 10 games as a senior
… Relies on power and patience, and defenders find it difficult to tackle him
… Has be compared to NFL back Toby Gerhart … Can be a kickoff returner.

Zack Wagenmann, DE, Montana, 6-3, 247

Three-time All-Big Sky Conference first-team selection, and the conference’s
2014 defensive player of the year, was a dominant pass rusher in the FCS ranks.
He combines solid technique with a relentless style of pursuit … Set school
career records for sacks (37.5), tackles for loss (49) and forced fumbles (11)
… Could make a transition to outside linebacker on the next level … Played
in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Xavier Williams, DT, Northern Iowa, 6-2, 315

Helped Northern Iowa lead the FCS in sacks in 2014 by gaining eight from the
interior of the defensive line. Monster senior campaign also included 93
tackles and 14 tackles for loss … Set a school record as a sophomore with
five blocked kicks … Athletic for his size and able to move well in all
directions … Quick off the snap … Needs to cut down on penalties and add
strength to play as a one-technique tackle … Played in the East-West Shrine

Zach Zenner, RB/FB, South Dakota State, 5-11, 223

Became the first player in Division I history to surpass 2,000 rushing yards in
three different seasons (2012, ’13 and ’14) … Three-time Walter Payton Award
finalist and first-team All-American went on to finish third in FCS career
rushing with 6,548 yards. Workhorse also set Missouri Valley Football
Conference career records for all-purpose yards (8,211), rushing touchdowns
(61) and total touchdowns (69) … Has a patient, north-south style, but can
find another gear in the open field (five runs of 75 yards or more in his
career) … Played in the East-West Shrine Game … A highly decorated honors