Three College Football Players the Eagles Should Watch During the First Week of Bowl Games

Who should Eagles fans keep an eye on during the first week of bowl games?

Nico Siragusa. (USA TODAY Sports)

Nico Siragusa. (USA TODAY Sports)

The holidays are here, and that means it’s bowl season. There’s a total of 40 Division I bowl games that will be played in the next few weeks, and that’s not including the College Football Playoff National Championship or the Celebration Bowl between the conference champions from the MEAC and SWAC. We’ll be intrigued by many of these games, and there’s also plenty of players to look out for, as many of them will be playing in their final collegiate games.

Here are three players Eagles fans should keep a close eye on during the first week of bowl games.

1. Nico Siragusa, OL, San Diego State
Bowl opponent: vs. Houston (Las Vegas Bowl) — 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

For the entire season, we haven’t profiled any linemen. That is until now. Sunday’s game against the Redskins showed why the Eagles need to upgrade their offensive line in the offseason. Siragusa is a good prospect that should be available in Day 3 of the draft that can help. He’s not related to former NFLer Tony Siragusa, but he is a huge part for the success of senior running back Donnel Pumphrey, who’s become one of the best runners in the nation. Siragusa has nimble feet for his size, and if Doug Pederson wants to run the ball more in order to give Carson Wentz‘s arm a rest, Siragusa is the right guy to draft.

2. Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
Bowl opponent: vs. Appalachian State (Camellia Bowl) — 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Hunt is on a run of four straight games with over 100 yards rushing, including putting up 200 yards in the MAC Championship against Western Michigan. So far this year, Hunt has rushed for 1,355 yards on 240 carries for eight touchdowns. He’s scored double-digit touchdowns the past two seasons, but he has become more reliable catching the ball in the backfield this season after suffering a hamstring injury and a suspension last year. The senior has a low center of gravity and makes it hard for defenders to tackle him. He has patience and run tempo to control his momentum, and started to show his hands on screen plays more this season. But he lacks long-speed and a second gear while running in the open field, with his patience being a con at times as well. Hunt’s also projected as a Day 3 pick.

3. Greg Ward Jr., WR, Houston
Bowl opponent: vs. San Diego State (Las Vegas Bowl) — 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Ward is the next college quarterback that could switch positions when he comes into the NFL, joining guys such as Keenan ReynoldsBraxton Miller, and Terrelle Pryor. Ward is an excellent college quarterback, but many teams will try to turn him into a wide receiver, and he definitely has the talent to be a pass catcher in the pros. While at Houston, he spent some time as a wide receiver and a return specialist, showing his speed and versatility. He worked in the open field well as a receiver, similar to what Miller did when he became a receiver in his final year at Ohio State. Enjoy watching him in what could be his final game as quarterback, but the NFL Scouting Combine will be big for Ward. Look for him as a late round pick.

Bowl Game Of The Week: Houston vs. San Diego State (Las Vegas Bowl) — 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Bowl season starts off with a pretty good game, with two of the best Group of Five teams in the nation. The Cougars had an outstanding start, even reaching the top four in the AP polls, before falling completely out of the polls, until a home win over Louisville put them back in the polls for a short time. Probably the biggest loss for the Cougars came when former head coach Tom Herman headed to Texas to become their head coach. The Aztecs edged out Wyoming in the Mountain West Championship game two weeks ago, and have Pumphrey in the backfield, who’s trying to become the all-time leading rusher in FBS history in his hometown. The Aztecs also have cornerback Damontae Kazee, whom we profiled last week.

Here’s the entire bowl schedule for the week:

Bowl GameDesignated Away TeamDesignated Home TeamDate & TimeTV
Celebration BowlGrambling StateNC CentralDecember 17, NoonABC
New Mexico BowlNew MexicoTexas-San AntonioDecember 17, 2 p.m.ESPN
Las Vegas BowlHoustonSan Diego StateDecember 17, 3:30 p.m.ABC
Camellia BowlAppalachian StateToledoDecember 17, 5:30 p.m.ESPN
Cure BowlCentral FloridaArkansas StateDecember 17, 5:30 p.m.CBSSN
New Orleans BowlSouthern MississippiLouisiana-LafayetteDecember 17, 9 p.m.ESPN
Miami Beach BowlCentral MichiganTulsaDecember 19, 2:30 p.m.ESPN
Boca Raton BowlMemphisWestern KentuckyDecember 20, 7 p.m.ESPN
Poinsettia BowlBYUWyomingDecember 21, 9 p.m.ESPN
Idaho Potato BowlIdahoColorado StateDecember 22, 7 p.m.ESPN
Bahamas BowlEastern MichiganOld DominionDecember 23, 1 p.m.ESPN
Armed Forces BowlLouisiana TechNo. 25 NavyDecember 23, 4:30 p.m.ESPN
Dollar General BowlOhioTroyDecember 23, 8 p.m.ESPN

Here are the players we’ve previously highlighted:

December 3

Jahad Thomas, RB, Temple

Artavis Scott, WR, Clemson

Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State

November 26

Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

Curtis Samuel, RB, Ohio State

Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

November 19

Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

November 12

Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson

Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee

November 5

Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

Tarean Folston, RB, Notre Dame

Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU

October 29

Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington (Division I-AA)

Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

October 22

Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin

Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma

Marquis Haynes, OLB/DE, Ole Miss

October 15

Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt

Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State

Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR, Ole Miss

October 8

John Ross, WR, Washington

Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan

Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina

October 1

Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

September 24

Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

September 17

Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

Travis Rudolph, WR, Florida State

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

September 10

Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech

Desmond King, CB, Iowa

Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee