The 2023 R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl is in the books. Jacksonville State defeated Louisiana 34-31 in overtime. It was the Gamecocks’ first-ever bowl game.
There may have not been a single player who played in this game who will be drafted in 2024. However, several could be in a camp next year with a chance to make a 53-man roster.
2023 New Orleans Bowl Prospect Review
JACKSONVILLE STATE GAMECOCKS
The best prospect for JSU was IOL Clay Webb (6’3″ 290). Webb is a former five-star recruit who signed with Georgia out of high school. He is an incredible athlete when he is pulling. Webb is an A+ run blocker who is also a B- pass blocker. If teams are okay with his off-field behavior, then Webb has a chance to be selected.
Gamecocks’ safety Kolbi Fuqua (6’3″ 212) is a versatile defensive back. He can lineup at nickel and cover or be a free safety. Fuqua is a sure tackler who hustles everywhere. Special teams will likely be his initial ticket in the NFL. Against ULL, he had nine tackles (three solos).
When I saw them earlier this year against South Carolina, both edge rushers Chris Hardie (6’2″ 270) and Devin Baldwin (6’4″ 270) stood out to me.
Hardie didn’t do much in this game rushing the passer but did have four tackles.
Baldwin flashed penetration ability in limited reps. He was mostly a rotational player in the New Orleans Bowl. Baldwin had two tackles for loss against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
LOUISIANA RAGIN’ CAJUNS
The top prospect for Louisiana is likely OT Nathan Thomas (6’5″ 334). Thomas has accepted an invite to the Shrine Game and appears to have opted out of this game.
The best player I watched in this game for ULL was IOL A.J. Gillie (6’2″ 312). Gillie is not a great athlete but is more than solid in the run game and pass protection.
While not someone I expect to enter this draft class, I have to talk about Louisiana safety Jalen Clark. The third-year player had two defensive touchdowns in the New Orleans Bowl. A 46-yard fumble return and a 16-yard interception return. Clark also had three tackles.
WRAP IT UP
Getting to cover a game in the Caesar’s Superdome was a bucket list item for me. I went to that monolith of a stadium as a child and was awestruck. To be able to cover a football game there was awesome for me. I would like to thank the staff of the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl for their hospitality.