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Draft Scout Weekly 2020

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 Draft Scout College Football Player News

  In normal times, former UTEP defensive end Denzel Chukwukelu would be scrambling to meet with NFL teams, laying the groundwork for a free-agent deal following the NFL Draft in two weeks. Instead, he's locked down in his El Paso apartment, doing what he can to stay in shape, keep in touch with NFL teams and wait to learn what his future holds. "I do 500 pushups everyday, staying healthy, staying in football shape, doing workouts," Chukwukelu said. "When I get to a team I won't have to catch up." Chukwukelu, fellow defensive lineman Chris Richardson and quarterback Kai Locksley are the three Miners with the best chance of landing with an NFL team. But even though the draft is still set to take place from April 23-25, everything after that is on hold. That means the first set of "OTAs" (organized team activities), set for May, are unlikely to happen and that's not good for players who figure to be in a scramble to make a roster like this Miner trio. "It's got to be harder," UTEP coach Dana Dimel said. "Teams aren't able to bring kids in. If you're not a big-name guy, you're not getting as much exposure. The good news was we had our pro day (on March 11), that's the positive. A lot of kids (at other schools) are having to send in film of their pro days. "In general this hurts the whole evaluation process." - El Paso Times

(DS#90 DT) Sr/2020 DT Denzel ChukwukeluTexas-El Paso
News Source: El Paso Times
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  Mississippi State coach Mike Leach is expected to participate in "listening sessions" with student and community groups and tour the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum after he tweeted an image of a noose last week. Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen released a statement Tuesday that said, "No matter the context, for many Americans the image of a noose is never appropriate and that's particularly true in the South and in Mississippi. Mississippi State University was disappointed in the use of such an image in a tweet by Coach Mike Leach."

Leach, who was hired away from Washington State in January, apologized on social media last week for posting a tweet that drew criticism from Bulldogs players and an assistant professor at the school before it was deleted. The image Leach tweeted depicted an elderly woman knitting, with the caption: "After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf...", but the picture showed her knitting a noose with the hangman's knot already tied. Cohen's statement added, "The university is confident that Coach Leach is moving quickly and sincerely past this unintended misstep and will provide the leadership for our student athletes and excitement for our football program that our fans deserve and that our students and alumni will be proud to support." - AP College Football

(DS#999 DT) rSo/2023 DT Fabien LovettMississippi State
News Source: AP College Football
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  March 30 arrived and departed on USF's desolate campus with nary a bench press or broad jump. The Bulls' pro day, scheduled for that bright Monday morning, became yet another coronavirus cancellation. Or did it? Since the nixing of the annual pre-draft event, which typically attracts dozens of NFL and CFL scouts, a handful of would-be Bulls participants have improvised with personal pro day-style workouts, posting their "combine" results on social media.

Offensive lineman Marcus Norman and defensive end Greg Reaves, training these days at Cooper Performance in west Tampa, did theirs locally on March 24-25. Norman was the only USF alumnus among the Cooper trainees who did most of their combine drills on Skyway Park's synthetic-turf field. "And the county actually came and shut it down because we had too many people out there," Reaves said. "So (the defensive prospects) actually ended up having to go out to USF. We were able to get on the field for about an hour and get some stuff done." - Tampa Tribune

(DS#59 OLB) Sr/2020 OLB Greg ReavesSouth Florida
News Source: Tampa Tribune
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  Mike Gundy wants a plan, and he's already pushing one for Oklahoma State football. With Stillwater's current shelter in place declaration being through April 16 - which could be extended - Gundy said he is hopeful to return to some form of normalcy by the beginning of May in a teleconference Tuesday as his first interaction with the media since the NCAA and Big 12 Conference shut down sports for the remainder of the spring. "How fast that can happen based on the tests that are available, I can't say right now, but that's the plan," Gundy said. "We have to have a plan, and the plan right now is for them to start on May 1.

"It might get backed up two weeks. I don't know, I can't make that call, but if it does, we'll start with the employees of this company, the ones that come in this building. Then we'll bring the players in, and slowly but surely we'll test them all in." He said they had 105 athletes on campus for spring football, but sent most of them home - with only three remaining on the Stillwater campus. But he's hopeful to have them all back soon, and to be able to play football this fall. - Stillwater Press

(DS#1 RB) rJr/2022 RB Chuba HubbardOklahoma State
News Source: Stillwater Press
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  04/07/20 - QB Spencer RattlerSo/2023, Oklahoma, 6-0, 191 (DS#999 QB) + More +

  Rattler and Mordecai have appeared in a combined 11 collegiate games. Rattler, who's already being given odds at winning the Heisman Trophy, is considered the favorite for the job after appearing in just three games. Face time with Riley - no pun intended - is important as they sit atop OU's depth chart for the first time. "One thing that neither one of them has a ton of right now is live, game experience. They would have gotten better throughout spring," Riley said. "They're competitive guys, they're self starters. They're at home working their tails off right now." OU's last three quarterbacks transferred into the program with some level of experience before getting more acclimated. Either Rattler or Mordecai is set to become Riley's first QB at OU who was recruited straight from high school.

The idea of them missing an entire spring of practice, with the possibility existing that summer workouts could remain off campus, might make some coaches nervous. Riley's trying to approach this as an extended summer period, where coaches' access is strictly limited. And although Rattler and Mordecai's don't have many game repetitions to lean on, they're steeped in the system. He's confident in both of them. "You'd like to have a bunch of receivers and a bunch of group workouts, and not all of those things are possible right now, and we get that," Riley said. "But also, there's a chance to continue to study film, continue to work on themselves physically, continue to work on the fundamental parts of this game … Anytime you're limited on what you can do, you put a greater focus into those other areas, and sometimes you end up better in those areas than you would've without it." - Norman Transcript

(DS#999 QB) So/2023 QB Spencer RattlerOklahoma
News Source: Norman Transcript
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  04/07/20 - SS Jalen ElliottSr/2020, Notre Dame, 6-0, 205 (DS#10 SS) + More +

  April 1, aside from its traditional reputation, was supposed to be about second chances and bringing some substance to dreams for Jalen Elliott. So when Notre Dame's Pro Day showcase, scheduled for that day, became a casualty of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the former Notre Dame safety and three former Irish football teammates concocted a do-it-yourself version on Thursday. The positive feedback that's rolled in from NFL scouts and coaches the past few days naturally centered on a dramatically revised 40-yard dash time for Elliott, from the 4.80 recorded at the NFL Combine on March 1 to 4.54 and 4.56 showings at the Notre Dame rugby fields.

He and defensive end Julian Okwara and cornerbacks Donte Vaughn and Troy Pride Jr. also scored big points for their ingenuity in setting up a makeshift, pre-draft NFL audition. Others, such as defensive ends Khalid Kareem and Jamir Jones, also have done taped workouts recently but away from campus, as NFL personnel are banned from traveling to pro days and prospects are unable to take in-person visits to NFL teams. "We can't always control the situation that we're in," Elliott said via telephone on Tuesday, "but I think that I made the best of the situation. And I'm going to continue to work regardless of what the circumstances are." The end game remains the 2020 NFL Draft, still on schedule to be held April 23-25, though in a much more virtual form than usual. - South Bend Tribune

(DS#10 SS) Sr/2020 SS Jalen ElliottNotre Dame
News Source: South Bend Tribune
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  04/07/20 - C Levi BrownrSr/2020, Marshall, 6-3, 301 (DS#18 C) + More +

  Marshall center Levi Brown was always known as one of the more outlandish personalities within the Herd's football program. On each of his biceps, he had each of his names - one arm "Levi," one arm "Brown." And he loved to joke around and flex with teammates and opponents to show them exactly who blocked them, whether in practice or games. Brown was also known for his easy-going, wild and fun personality. During television timeouts, it was not uncommon for Brown to start dancing on the field. Normally, it would take something completely beyond the realm of normal to catch Brown by surprise. As he prepares for the 2020 NFL Draft, though, even Brown can't believe the situation at hand, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Wild times, man," Brown said. "This is just wild. Everything is so weird because all the training facilities are closed down due to the virus."

Brown was one of many Marshall seniors who came in for the Herd's Pro Day festivities on March 11. In the Chris Cline Athletic Complex, Brown showcased his skills for many NFL and professional scouts who were in attendance. He and his teammates at Marshall were among the last in college football to have an organized Pro Day in front of NFL scouts before the landscape of sports - and the world in general - changed. "Actually being able to get my Pro Day in, it makes it easier," Brown said. "A lot of schools haven't been able to do that." In another sense, though, Brown - like so many other college athletes - is unlucky. The 2020 NFL Draft class will be the first in recent memory that will be hindered by limited ability to get in front of interested teams. The draft, which takes place April 23-25, is also going to a virtual format with teams not even being allowed within their own facilities. - Charleston Gazette

(DS#18 C) rSr/2020 C Levi BrownMarshall
News Source: Charleston Gazette
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  04/07/20 - CB Tiawan MullenSo/2023, Indiana, 5-10, 175 (DS#999 CB) + More +

  The loss to Tennessee in the Gator Bowl still resonates with Indiana rising sophomore cornerback Tiawan Mullen. In a breakout freshman season, Mullen became a starter by early October and led the Big Ten with 13 pass breakups, earning honorable mention all-conference honors. The season closed with Mullen returning to his home state of Florida, but the 5-foot-10, 176-pound Fort Lauderdale native said the 23-22 loss to the Vols on Jan. 2 has driven him through offseason workouts. "Losing by one point, it kind of like boils my stomach, tears my stomach, but not the wrong way," Mullen said. "We lost by one point. What can we do differently? How can we approach the 2020 season? There's always a chip on my shoulder. That's how I want to approach my sophomore season."

Mullen has set high goals for himself since first stepping on campus, including winning the Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in college football. In addition to the 13 pass breakups, Mullen tied for the IU lead last season with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. That season has put Mullen on the radar nationally, as Athlon Sports recently named him as one of the top 35 breakout candidates in college football in 2020. "I just want to improve on that, become a more vocal leader out there on the field," Mullen said. "Just being comfortable for when they need me to make big-time plays." Mullen is back in Fort Lauderdale as IU players are scattered throughout the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. But he's found parks to work out at and weights to lift. He's also got a pair of familiar workout partners in his older brother, Trayvon Mullen, who just finished his rookie NFL season with the Oakland Raiders, and his younger brother, Trevell Mullen, a four-star Class of 2022 recruit who already has offers from IU, Kentucky and Oregon. - Herald Bulletin

(DS#999 CB) So/2023 CB Tiawan MullenIndiana
News Source: Herald Bulletin
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