A pair of teams with terrific stories face-off for supremacy of Conference USA. Two years removed from back-to-back four win seasons, Rice enters the game with a 9-3 record and just one loss in league play. Marshall matched that record and is bowl eligible for the first time in two years.
Jordan Taylor*/WR/Rice: Taylor is a receiver prospect on the rise. The junior is a tall wide out with consistent hands and a nose for the end zone. He’s not a field stretcher rather a possession wide out with potential as a number four at the next level. 5th-6th Round
Tommy Shuler*/WR/Marshall: Shuler could not be any more different from Taylor in terms of size and speed but does offer reliable hands as well as a nose for the end zone. The small (under 5-foot, 7-inches) wide out is unstoppable and makes plays both down the field or in underneath coverage. He’s projects as a slot receiver at the next level and Shuler would help his cause by showing ability as a return specialist. 6th Round
Devon Smith/WR/Marshall: Like his teammate, Smith is a small yet dangerous receiver when on his game. The Penn State transfer averaged 18.5 yards on 31 receptions this season and was dynamic returning punts. He does not possess Shuler’s consistency yet his big play ability as a return specialist and receiver will get him late round looks. 7th Round
Phillip Gaines/CB/Rice: Gaines was barely noticed by scouts due to poor size (6-foot, 178-pounds) speed (4.6) numbers yet he’s a baller once the game starts. Gaines comes with excellent ball skills and the ability to shut down opponents. The senior posted a team leading 4 interceptions along with 6 pass break-ups this season. Unlikely to be selected even in the late rounds, he could play at the next level in certain zone schemes. Free Agent