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MAC players land 10 invites to NFL Combine

Six MAC programs will be represented in Indianapolis at the Combine, starting in late February.

NCAA Football: Toledo at Western Michigan Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Get the stopwatches ready for the 40-yard dashes. Throw a pair of 45s on each side of the bench press bar. The NFL Combine is less than three weeks away, and the invitations have already been delivered.

Ten athletes from six different Mid-American Conference schools earned selections to the 2019 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, which runs from February 26 to March 4.

  • Jamal Davis, DE, Akron
  • Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo
  • Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo
  • Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan
  • Xavier Crawford, CB, Central Michigan
  • Maxx Crosby, DE, Eastern Michigan
  • Max Scharping, OT, Northern Illinois
  • Sutton Smith, DE/OLB, Northern Illinois
  • Diontae Johnson, WR, Toledo
  • Cody Thompson, WR, Toledo

Five MAC Combine invites hail from the offensive side of the ball, while five defenders drew selections. Among the invites are the MAC Offensive Player of the Year, Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson, and the MAC Defensive Player of the Year, Northern Illinois defensive end Sutton Smith.

Jackson’s stock greatly escalated when pitted against other NFL prospects at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January. Despite a losing effort for the South team, Jackson shined with a 13-of-21 showing, with 165 passing yards and two touchdowns. As a result, the Buffalo grad claimed South Offensive MVP honors.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Jackson’s frequent target, Anthony Johnson, also received an invite. Johnson participated in the 2019 Senior Bowl as well, hauling in one reception for 14 yards in the event. Other offensive selections include a pair of Toledo wide receivers, Cody Thompson and Diontae Johnson. Thompson ranks second in receiving yards in Rockets history, while Johnson checks in at tenth.

Northern Illinois claimed two selections, Max Scharping and Sutton Smith. Both First Team All-MAC selections lined up with the North in the Senior Bowl. Scharping played valuable minutes at left tackle in the game, while Smith, FBS’s sack leader in 2017, saw action at outside linebacker — switching from his typical defensive end role.

Defensive ends Maxx Crosby (Eastern Michigan) and Jamal Davis II (Akron) received Combine invites as well. To round out the defense, Central Michigan’s cornerbacks Sean Bunting and Xavier Crawford will travel down from Mount Pleasant to Indianapolis later this month to exhibit their skills.

Eastern Michigan v Miami Ohio Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The MAC improved on its nine NFL Combine invites from 2018, but fell short of its 11 from 2017. The Combine begins on February 26 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, with many of its events broadcast on NFL Network. Following the skills showcase from April 25-27 is the NFL Draft, a common landing place for most Combine participants.