It’s January, which means a slew of senior-filled college all-star games will transpire across the nation.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, sponsored by the National Football League Players Associaton, was founded in 2012, as a Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Game and was open to underclassmen. In its short history, the game has evolved to an exclusive event for collegiate seniors and the division of teams has changed to American vs. National. Four Mid-American Conference representatives will compete in the 2017 edition of the game — Blair Brown (Ohio), Keion Adams (Western Michigan), Levon Myers (Northern Illinois), and Pat O’Connor (Eastern Michigan).
Ohio inside linebacker Blair Brown will be the lone member from the MAC for the National Team. Brown ranked fourth in the FBS with 128 combined tackles in 2016 — good for a First Team All-MAC selection. Brown additionally forced one fumble and recorded 4.5 sacks in his final 14 games as a Bobcat. CBS lists the redshirt senior as the 16th-ranked inside linebacker prospect. If Brown is not selected as a late-round pick, an NFL team will likely acquire him in free agency.
The remaining three MAC players will suit up together for the American squad. Defensive end Keion Adams starred on a 13-1 Western Michigan team in 2016. Adams tallied a team-high 7.5 sacks, complemented with 18 tackles for loss. The six-foot-two-inch, 245-pound pass rusher was an integral part of the culture change in the program at Kalamazoo. He was a member of an esteemed senior class that accomplished Western Michigan’s first bowl victory, earned a conference championship, and tied the single-season MAC record with 13 wins. CBS expects Adams’ name to be called in the seventh round of the draft or in free agency as the 27th-ranked defensive end in the 2017 class.
Offensive tackle Levon Myers also completed an undefeated regular season in his time in the conference. The Northern Illinois senior graduates after his Huskies were locked out of bowl season as the first team out. Myers saw action in all four years after his redshirt 2012 season, playing in three MAC Championship games in his time at DeKalb. He anchored a Huskie offensive line that powered running backs to 2,661 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2015. The two-time All-MAC selection is the 16th-ranked offensive tackle prospect by CBS — a projected fifth or sixth round pick.
Pat O’Connor, a two-time All-MAC honoree, will line up on defense for the American team. The Eastern Michigan standout finished his final season with 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. In 2014 and 2016, O’Connor terrorized backfields with 16 collective sacks and 29 tackles for loss. He led the Eagles to their first bowl appearance since 1987 — a narrow loss to Old Dominion in the Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl. CBS ranks O’Connor as the 33rd-top defensive end prospect, a likely free agent pickup or final day draft pick.
Brown, Adams, Myers, and O’Connor take the field at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA at 4:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 21. The game is viewable on FS1. Former NFL head coaches Mike Martz and Jim Zorn will coach the National and American teams, respectively.