Throughout the season, each Saturday, I will look at the best prospects from the FCS (or lower level) prospects I watched the weekend before. Or, I will look at the 2023 NFL Draft prospects from the Sun Belt schools I watched the prior weekend. During week five I saw one game involving Sun Belt teams and a few others with FCS prospects.
SUN BELT SATURDAY
JAMES MADISON MONARCHS
James Madison is transitioning this year from FCS to FBS. In their first season in the Sun Belt, they have been nothing short of dominant. The Monarchs are 5-0 and ranked in the Top 25. Unfortunately, thanks to a short-sighted rule, they are ineligible to play in the SBC championship or a bowl game.
Against Arkansas State, it was hard not to notice JMU edge rusher Isaac Ukwu. The 6th-year player has dealt with injury issues in his career. He missed all (or most) of the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Ukwu seems recovered now, however. He can win with a bull rush or he can win with a sweet arm-over move. Ukwu had six tackles (five solos), two sacks, and a forced fumble against the Red Wolves.
QB Todd Centeio is a transfer from Temple. He lacks the prototypical arm talent but throws with touch. Centeio sees the field well. He completed 28/37 passes for 394 yards and four touchdowns in the big win.
Another veteran 6th-year player is RB Percy Agyei-Obese. The 6’ 211-pound ball carrier has shifty feet and runs hard through contact. PAO ran 21 times for 158 yards and two scores last Saturday.
5th-year offensive tackle Nick Kidwell has excellent size (6’6” 315), a wide frame, and a nice arm length. He still needs refinement in his game. Kidwell could be an undrafted practice squad development candidate.
ARKANSAS STATE RED WOLVES
The amount of NFL talent at Arkansas State is sorely lacking. Head coach Butch Jones will need a season or two to remake this roster.
Remember James Blackmon? The former Florida State starting QB has settled in Jonesboro. Unfortunately, he isn’t an NFL-level passer and still sports a wiry frame.
A 2024 NFL Draft-eligible player to monitor is TE Seydou Traore. The London-born prospect is still learning the game and needs to add weight (only 218 pounds) but his potential is significant. Traore is a move TE who is still learning how to block. But he tries. Traore already has a solid grasp on route running and catching the football. Traore leads FBS tight ends in most categories. Through six games this year, he has 23 catches for 366 yards and two scores.
I will be back with more Sun Belt Saturday next week.