The 2022 Lending Tree Bowl is in the books. Southern Miss cooked Rice, 38-24.
There were several players in this game that could make their way into an NFL camp next season. A handful may even find themselves hearing their names called.
Let’s look at how the prospects from Southern Miss and Rice performed in the 2022 Lending Tree Bowl.
2022 Lending Tree Bowl: Prospect Rewind
SOUTHERN MISS GOLDEN EAGLES
USM 5th-year WR Jason Brownlee does an excellent job on 50/50 balls. He has decent straight-line speed. However, the question for him to answer will be can he separate from corners? I am higher than probably 90% of draft analysts on Brownlee as a prospect. But even I have my concerns. In the Lending Tree Bowl, he caught three passes for 72 yards and a TD. Brownlee was also charged with one of the more blatant offensive pass interference calls you will ever see.
Frank Gore, Jr has the bloodlines as the son of an NFL legend. His versatility isn’t in question. Whether running between the tackles as a wildcat QB or as a running back, Gore consistently picks up yardage. He is explosive through the hole, as evidenced by his 64-yard TD in the 2nd and 59-yard run in the third quarter. Gore then ripped off a 56-yard TD to seal the win. That run set the Southern Miss single game, the Lending Tree Bowl, and the all-time bowl game rushing yardage record. I don’t think he will enter the draft this year.
Camron Harrell is an undersized cornerback. The 6th-year defender plays nickel for the Golden Eagles. Harrell is solid in run support and is ok when called upon in the passing game. The USM DB was flagged for a bad DPI call in the fourth quarter. It was easy to spot him as he was wearing a bright gold hoodie under his jersey. Harrell finished the contest with for tackles (two solos).
Luke McCaffrey is the younger brother of Christian McCaffrey and the son of former NFL WR Ed McCaffrey. Like his dad, the younger McCaffrey is a reliable target for his quarterback. Unlike his older brother, I don’t know how much of an athlete he is. In the Lending Tree Bowl, he caught seven passes for 67 yards.
7th-year WR Bradley Rozner is a big target at 6’5″ and 205 pounds. He also lacks the upper-echelon athleticism to be an NFL wide receiver. He can win his share of 50/50 balls, however. Rozner had three receptions for 42 yards and a score (on 11 targets).
6th-year WR Isaiah Esdale caught two TD passes on two consecutive plays for Rice. The 6′ 205-pound pass catcher separates well from defenders. Esdale finished the Lending tree Bowl with three catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Ikenna Enechukwu is a powerful defender who needs to develop a wide array of pass-rush moves. The 5th-year prospect played five-technique for a large chunk of the defensive snaps. Enechukwu is too small to win there consistently at the next level. In the Lending Tree Bowl, he did flash at times. Enechukwu finished the game with four tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR DRAFT COUNTDOWN
Coming up on Tuesday, Shane P Hallam and I will each have a breakdown of the top prospects from every week one bowl game.