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Pro Prospects to Watch Out For in Las Vegas Bowl

While some casual fans will just watch the three college football playoff games, the other 36 bowl games should provide a lot of entertainment. The non-playoff bowl games will also give fans an opportunity to see future NFL stars they didn’t see during the regular season.

During the next few weeks, I will be pointing out the biggest pro prospects from varies bowl games. Today, I will be writing about the top prospects to watch for during the Las Vegas Bowl (Utah Utes vs Colorado State Rams).

Nate Orchard, Senior, Defensive End, Utah

Utah defensive end Nate Orchard is probably the most talented prospect playing in the Las Vegas Bowl. Last week, he won the Ted Hendricks Award, which is given to the top defensive end in college football.

Orchard finished second in the country in sacks this season with 17.5. He was also the second-leading tackler on the Utes with 81.

Orchard would probably be best used in the NFL in a 3-4 scheme where a team could use him as an edge rusher. Although he has good size at 6’4, 255 pounds, he isn’t a true defensive end on the next level. Orchard is a projected as a late first, early second round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Garrett Grayson, Senior, Quarterback, Colorado State

One of the main reasons Jim McElwain got the head coaching job at Florida was because of his development of Garrett Grayson.

Grayson finished the 2014 season with 32 touchdowns against only six interceptions. The quarterback also finished second in the country in passer rating (171.3) to Heisman winner Marcus Mariota. Grayson has the size (6’2, 220 pounds), mobility and accuracy you want in a signal caller.

Right now, Grayson is projected as a fourth round pick, but he will have a few chances to improve his draft status. Not only could his draft stock improve after the Las Vegas Bowl, Grayson will also have a chance to impress scouts during the Senior Bowl on January 24.

Devontae Booker, Junior, Running Back, Utah

The 5’11, 209 pound Booker finished second in the Pac-12 in rushing with 1,350 yards. Scouts have compared Booker’s game to former Giants running back Tiki Barber and current Houston Texan Arian Foster. With Booker’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield (39 catches and two receiving touchdowns), the comparison isn’t bad at all.

Booker has one season of eligibility left, but at 22-years-old, he may decide to enter the NFL Draft early. The junior is projected anywhere from the third to fifth round.

Eric Rowe, Senior, Cornerback, Utah

Eric Rowe had a solid season for the Utes in 2014 as he was fifth on the team in tackles with 53, three of them for a losses. He also recorded an interception, recovered a fumble and led the team with 11 passes defended.

Rowe could be drafted as a safety or a corner. He played safety during the first three seasons of his college career, but switched to cornerback during his senior season.

Tom Hackett, Junior, Punter, Utah

Tom Hackett led the nation with 35 punts inside the 20-yard-line and 19 punts inside the 10-yard-line. His 47.0 yards-per-punt average was second in the country. Because of his excellent 2014 season, Hackett became the first Ute and Pac-12 player to win the Ray Guy Award, which is given to the nation’s top punter.

Follow Antwan on Twitter @blackredsoxfan

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