clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

9 MAC players in the 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

MAC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year recipients will be showcasing their skills for NFL scouts in L.A. on January 23.

Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is still really young. For the fifth year, college players around the nation will be playing in this year-end bowl game to showcase their in-game talents in front of NFL scouts as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft, in hopes that somebody would make the investment in fulfilling their dreams.

Nine players from the MAC have pledged to participate in the bowl game on Saturday January 23 at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. Practices on January 20 and 21 will also be televised on ESPNU and streamed through the WatchESPN app.

Here is the list of players out of the MAC that will be participating, sorted alphabetically by last name:

Jatavis Brown

LB- Akron

  • (2015) MAC Defensive Player of the Year
  • (2015) First Team All-MAC
  • (2014) First Team All-MAC
  • (2013) First Team All-MAC
  • (2015) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 4 player in the MAC
  • (2014) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 13 player in the MAC

Consistent dominance: the first two words that probably come to mind when you think of when Brown is the topic. 116 total tackles (62 solo), MAC-best 12 sacks (90 yards), MAC-best 20 tackles for loss (115 yards), Brown was the centerpiece of Akron's defense, which helped them win their first bowl game in school history.

Trayion Durham

FB- Kent State

  • (2012) Third Team All-MAC
  • (2015) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 64 player in the MAC
  • (2013) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 26 player in the MAC

Durham didn't receive a lot of praise after his sophomore season when he instantly became a good compliment to Dri Archer's speed as Kent State made it to the MAC Championship game. The offense utilized different backs many times throughout the season, but Durham finished his senior season as the team leader with 428 yards (fifth in school history with 3,140) and three touchdowns (seventh in career rush TD with 27). A big body, 6-foot-1, 248 pounds, Durham was listed as a running back, but will participate in the NFLPA Bowl as a fullback.

Travis Greene

RB- Bowling Green

  • (2015) First Team All-MAC
  • (2013) Second Team All-MAC
  • (2015) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 22 player in the MAC
  • (2014) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 4 player in the MAC

Shortly after Greene became a Falcon, he switched from being a wide receiver to a running back. This probably goes without saying, but it worked out in his favor. An effective athlete out of the backfield, Greene broke the all-time career rushing record at Bowling Green, was the MVP of the MAC Championship game as a senior, and was the MAC's leading rusher with 1,299 yards (28th nationally).

Darius Jackson

RB- Eastern Michigan

  • (2015) Third Team All-MAC

Before the season began, Darius Jackson was on the Doak Walker Award Watch List, despite only having 295 rushing yards the season before. In his first season as a starter, the senior from Sparta, Illinois showed that he would be a dependable back in various situations: up the middle, on the outside edge, catch a pass out of the backfield, even at goal line situations. His 16 total TDs (14 rushing) were a single-season record at EMU, also recorded 90+ rushing yards in eight contests.

Matt Johnson

QB- Bowling Green

  • (2015) MAC Offensive Player of the Year
  • (2015) First Team All-MAC
  • (2013) MAC Championship GaMVP
  • (2015) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 9 player in the MAC
  • (2014) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 1 player in the MAC

It was a long shot, but Matt Johnson was considered to be the only player out of the MAC to actually receive considerations for the Heisman Trophy. Just under a 100 yards behind the nation's leading passer, Brandon Doughty (WKU), Johnson was also second in the nation in touchdowns thrown (46), third in completions (383) with only eight interceptions. He was able to surpass Ben Roethlisberger and Omar Jacobs as the MAC's single-season record holder in passing yards (4,946) and touchdowns.

Boomer Mays

LB- Northern Illinois

  • (2015) First Team All-MAC
  • (2014) Second Team All-MAC
  • (2015) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 39 player in the MAC

After being fifth on the team with 75 tackles as a redshirt-junior, the middle linebacker led the Huskies with 92 this year (59 solo). In a comeback win against Western Michigan, Mays had a career-high 15 tackles (12 solo). He earned MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors after having 10 tackles and a interception at Toledo, which helped seal the victory.

Andrew Ness

OL- Northern Illinois

  • (2015) First Team All-MAC
  • (2014) First Team All-MAC
  • (2015) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 14 player in the MAC

Ness has had a consistent presence on the Huskies' offensive line through the years. 56 straight starts is a school record at Northern Illinois for the center. His leadership and football smarts helped the Huskies average 5.33 yards per play and 31.1 yards per play. The Huskies offense has had six games with at least 500 yards of offense this year, two north of 600.

Alonzo Russell

WR- Toledo

  • (2015) Second Team All-MAC
  • (2014) Third Team All-MAC
  • (2013) Third Team All-MAC
  • (2012) Third Team All-MAC
  • (2015) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 26 player in the MAC
  • (2014) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 16 player in the MAC
  • (2013) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 62 player in the MAC

Really good, not great? Because he never made the list of First Team players? Quit trying to split hairs, the guy's got talent. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Russell has caught a pass in all 50 games of his career and was an All-MAC performer every year. He was fifth in the MAC this year with 17.2 yards per catch (36 receptions, 5 TD) and is one of the top receivers in Toledo's history.

Jordan Williams

WR- Ball State

  • (2015) Second Team All-MAC
  • (2014) Second Team All-MAC
  • (2013) Third Team All-MAC
  • (2015) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 44 player in the MAC
  • (2014) Hustle Belt's preseason No. 15 player in the MAC

Williams has been a consistent threat on the Ball State offense, even with all of their quarterback changes. As a senior, the 6-foot-3 target caught 72 passes for 920 yards with eight touchdowns. His first season as a starter in 2013 he also caught 72 passes, but for 1,050 yards and 10 scores. For his career, he's fourth in school history with 200 catches and 2,723 yards, as well as tied for third with 24 TD.