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2023 Hula Bowl: Roster Breakdown

Hula Bowl

The 2023 Hula Bowl will take place in Orlando on Saturday on the campus of UCF. The game will kick off at Noon eastern.

This will be the 77th edition of the all-star game, making it the second oldest in existence. It boasts a historical roster with over 60 players that are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and 200 in the College Football Hall of Fame. Scouts from the NFL, CFL, XFL, and USFL will be in attendance. Both coaching staffs will be made up of former NFL coaches.

Today, I will look at the Hula Bowl roster, position by position.

2023 HULA BOWL: ROSTER BREAKDOWN

QUARTERBACKS

Chase Brice, Appalachian State

Holton Ahlers, East Carolina

Tanner Morgan, Minnesota

Tim DeMorat, Fordham

Adrian Martinez, Kansas State

Sean Clifford, Penn State

There is a lot of experience in this quarterback group but I don’t see a draftable passer in the lot. The only player that I am intrigued to see is Fordham QB Tim DeMorat. The 6’4” 220-pound passer is the only one I don’t have a firm grasp on who they are at the next level.

RUNNING BACKS

Charles McClelland, Cincinnati

Christopher Brooks, BYU

Elijah Dotson, Northern Colorado

Isaiah Bowser, UCF

Jaleel McLaughlin, Youngstown State

Jordan Mims, Fresno State*

Khalan Laborn, Marshall

Toa Taua, Nevada

Calvin Tyler Jr., Utah State

Of the players that will play in this game, BYU RB Christopher Brooks is the top prospect. Brooks isn’t the player that Tyler Allgeier was but he is solid. Fresno State RB Jordan Mims will attend the Hula Bowl but not play. Khalan Laborn did a great job stepping up for Marshall after Rasheen Ali stepped away. Toa Taua and Isaiah Bowser are both solid short-yardage backs.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Amare Jones, Georgia Southern

Ryan Miller, Furman

Deuce Watts, Tulane

Ed Lee, Rhode Island

Elijah Cooks, San Jose State

Keylon Stokes, Tulsa

Keytaon Thompson, Virginia

Sam James, West Virginia

Tre’Shaun Harrison, Oregon State

Trea Shropshire, UAB

Tyler Hudson, Louisville

Jesse Matthews, San Diego State

Matt Landers, Arkansas

Jared Wayne, Pittsburgh

Kade Warner, Kansas State

The production levels of the receiving group are great. Elijah Cooks was tremendous at Nevada before coming over to SJSU this season. Keylon Stokes was one of the FBS leaders in receptions this season. I love Jesse Matthews in 50/50 situations and he is a touchdown-maker. I love the versatility of Virginia’s Keytaon Thompson.

TIGHT ENDS

Case Hatch, Arizona State

Ben Sims, Baylor

Caleb Warren, Rhode Island

EJ Jenkins, Georgia Tech

Jamal Turner, Toledo

Julian Hill, Campbell

Kemore Gamble, UCF

Lachlan Pitts, William & Mary

Mike Ezeike, UCLA

Trent Thompson, UTEP

Luke Ford, Illinois

There isn’t a top name in this group. EJ Jenkins has been intriguing to me over the last two seasons but his production hasn’t followed. Last year, Youngstown State TE Andrew Ogletree emerged in this game. Hopefully this year one of the FCS guys will emerge.

OFFENSIVE LINE

CENTERS

Corey Luciano, Washington

Brad Cecil, South Florida

Erik Sorensen, Northern Iowa

GUARDS

Dillan Gibbons, Florida State

Eric Abojei, Wyoming

Grant Miller, Baylor

Khalil Keith, Baylor

LaQuinston Sharp, Mississippi State

Chris Toth, Aurora

Johari Branch, Maryland

JD DiRenzo, Rutgers

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

Adonis Boone, Louisville

Alex Jensen, South Dakota

Anderson Hardy, Appalachian State

Dylan Wonnum, South Carolina

Jarrett Horst, Michigan State

Joshua Lugg, Notre Dame

Mason Brooks, Mississippi

Samuel Jackson, UCF

Tyler Beach, Wisconsin

Noah Henderson, East Carolina

The top candidates to be drafted in this group are likely Mason brooks (Mississippi) and Joshua Lugg (Notre Dame).

EDGE RUSHERS

Andrew Farmer, Lane

Brevin Allen, Campbell

Brock Martin, Oklahoma State

DJ Coleman, Missouri

Jordan Ferguson, Middle Tennessee

Kelle Sanders, UAB

Spencer Waege, North Dakota State

Jalen Harris, Arizona

After watching the Hawaii Bowl, I came away impressed with MTSU’s Jordan Ferguson. Ferguson has been productive as a collegian and has a chance to be drafted. DJ Coleman thrived at Jacksonville State and then had success this year at Mizzou. Every time I watched North Dakota State this season, Spencer Waege stood out. I have heard a ton of positives about Campbell’s Brevin Allen, so I want to see him play in the Hula Bowl.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Caleb Sampson, Kansas

Cory Durden, NC State

Darel Middleton, Bethel (TN)

Devonnsha Maxwell, Chattanooga

Jeffery Johnson, Oklahoma

Jerron Cage, Ohio State

Robert Cooper, Florida State

TK McClendon, Eastern Kentucky

Ami Finau, Maryland

D’Anthony Jones, Houston

I loved Jeffery Johnson as a prospect at Tulane but his tape didn’t equal that this season. Devonnsha Maxwell was a game-wrecker this season for Chattanooga. I think Jerron Cage, Ami Finau, and Robert Cooper are Power 5 prospects who could compete for NFL roster spots in August.

LINEBACKERS

Austin Ajiake, UNLV

Caden McDonald, San Diego State

Colby Reeder, Iowa State

Liam Anderson, Holy Cross

Merlin Robertson, Arizona State

Patrick O’Connell, Montana

Ryan Greenhagen, Fordham

DaShaun White, Oklahoma

Dyontae Johnson, Toledo

Brandon Bouyer-Randle, UConn

Ryan Smenda, Wake Forest

Santrell Latham, Southern Miss

Merlin Robertson was highly thought of when the 2022 NFL Draft process started. However, he has really fallen off since. Austin Ajiake and Caden McDonald were two highly productive LBs in the Mountain West this year. Speaking of productivity, the Hula Bowl features two from the FCS level, Ryan Greenhagen (Fordham) and Liam Anderson (Holy Cross).

CORNERBACKS

Anthony Cook, Texas

Art Green, Houston

Avery Young, Rutgers

Christian Braswell, Rutgers

Jaylin Williams, Indiana

Jeremy Lucien, Vanderbilt

Nehemiah Shelton, San Jose State

Steven Gilmore, Marshall

Tre Hawkins III, Old Dominion

Tre Wortham, Uconn

Tyler Richardson, Tiffin

Jarrick Bernard-Converse, LSU

Justin Ford, Montana

Tyon Davis, Tulsa

One of the bright spots on the LSU defense this year was corner Jarrick Bernard-Converse. I thought the length and ball skills of Montana’s Justin Ford may see him on the Senior Bowl radar. Their loss is the Hula’s gain. Nehemiah Shelton had a great year and he also has the requisite length. Shelton is slated to play in the Shrine Bowl as well. The younger brother of former NFL All-Pro Stephon Gilmore, Steven has a chance to earn time as a nickel early in his career. Avery Young struggled this season and may be transitioning to safety. The talent is there but the tape didn’t hold up.

SAFETIES

Alex Cook, Washington

Benny Sapp, III, Northern Iowa

Darius Joiner, Duke

Divaad Wilson, UCF

Erick Hallett II, Pittsburgh

Jaydon Grant, Oregon State

Jordan Jones, Rhode Island

Kenderick Duncan Jr., Louisville

Latavious Brini, Arkansas

Christian Izien, Rutgers

Tanner McCalister, Ohio State

I was impressed by Washington’s Alex Cook this year and will be my highest-graded safety in this game. Latavious Brini played well for the Hogs after transferring over from Georgia. Also, don’t sleep on Northern Iowa’s Benny Sapp III.

SPECIALISTS

KICKERS

Christopher Dunn, NC State

Jack Podlesny, Georgia

Tanner Brown, Oklahoma State

LONG SNAPPERS

Alex Ward, UCF

Chris Stoll, Penn State

Evan Deckers, Duke

PUNTERS

Andy Vujnovich, Wisconsin

Ethan Evans, Wingate

Shane McDonough, NC State

The 2023 Hula Bowl will be telecast live on CBS Sports Network.

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