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Small School Scouting: Directional Michigan Talk and a Visit to the Bronx

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This week in small school scouting, I look at the prospects from the Eastern Michigan-Western Michigan game on Tuesday and look back at the Fordham game from September against Nebraska.

Let’s look at how the top prospects from those games fared.


EMU pulled off the upset of their MAC rivals 22-21. The Eagles don’t have much in the way of NFL prospects. However, one player who has caught my attention is senior TE Thomas Odukoya. The 6’6” 263-pound prospect is more of a blocker than he is a receiving threat. Odukoya has caught 11 balls on the year for 114 yards. He was only targeted once against WMU but didn’t catch a ball. Odukoya is a very skilled blocker and he sealed the edge on a few big runs.


Broncos’ defensive lineman Ali Fayad looked much better in this game than the last one I watched him in. Fayad lines up all over on the WMU defensive front. He recorded one sack against EMU while rushing from the inside. Fayad had three tackles for loss as well. His style of play and lack of size reminds me of former Washington State standout Hercules Mata’afa.

Junior QB Kaleb Eleby was a solid 22/29 for 307 yards and a TD. He also rushed for a score. I doubt Eleby declares for the draft this year. If he did, Eleby likely wouldn’t be selected.


Earlier this week, the Senior Bowl announced that Fordham offensive tackle Nick Zakelj would play in this year’s game. Since I haven’t watched a Fordham game since I was scouting their former tight Phazahn Odom, I had to get my eyes on him. As luck would have it, the official Nebraska Football YouTube channel has the complete game from September versus the Rams uploaded, so I had to check him out.

Zakelj plays left tackle for Fordham and is listed at 6’5” 325. He appears to have the requisite arm length and strength to hold up outside but may lack the athleticism. Zakelj is a finisher and plays to the whistle. I noticed he gets caught leaning sometimes but uses his length to not let it bother his play. I would expect him to play guard as well as tackle down in Mobile.

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