Lynn Bowden

NFL Draft recruiting
Getty Images

Exactly half of the players selected in first two rounds of NFL draft were four-star recruits; nearly 70% were four- and five-stars

2 Comments

As the current NFL draft continues to show, recruiting rankings don’t mean everything. But they do mean a lot. Especially when it comes to the first two rounds.

In the first two rounds, a total of the 64 players found themselves their first professional football homes.  And, of those more than five dozen players selected, exactly half of them (32) were four-star signees* coming out of high school.  On top of that, another 11 were five-star prospects when they signed with their respective schools.

Of the first 20 players picked, 16 of them were either four-star (11) or five-star (five) signees.  The No. 1 overall pick, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, was a four-star coming into Ohio State.  His former five-star teammate, OSU defensive end Chase Young, was selected No. 2 overall.

As the No. 6 pick in the first round, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was the highest-drafted three-star.  Offensive lineman Robert Hunt out of Louisiana was drafted with the seventh pick of the second round, making him the highest-drafted two-star.  And the highest-drafted zero-star?  Div. II Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger, who was selected two picks before Hunt.

All told, 46 of the 106 players (43.4 percent) selected in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft were four-stars in the recruiting rankings.  The next highest percentage was three-stars at 34.9 percent (37 out of 106).

After 11 in the first two rounds, just one five-star, Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim, was taken in the third round.

(*According to the 247Sports.com composite.)

FIRST ROUND
1. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow: four-star
2. Ohio State defensive end Chase Young: five-star
3. Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah: five-star
4. Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas: four-star
5. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa: five-star
6. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert: three-star
7. Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown: five-star
8. Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons: three-star
9. Florida cornerback CJ Henderson: four-star
10: Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills: four-star
11: Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton: three-star
12. Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III: four-star
13: Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs: four-star
14. South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw: four-star
15. Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy: five-star
16. Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell: four-star
17. Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb: four-star
18. USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson: four-star
19. Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette: three-star
20. LSU defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson: four-star
21. TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor: four-star
22. LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson: three-star
23: Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray: three-star
24: Michigan center Cesar Ruiz: four-star
25: Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk: three-star
26: Utah State quarterback Jordan Love: three-star
27: Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks: three-star
28: LSU linebacker Patrick Queen: four-star
29: Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson: five-star
30: Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene: four-star
31: TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney: three-star
32: LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire: three-star

Five-star: 6
Four-star: 15
Three-star: 11
Two-star: 0
Zero-star: 0

SECOND ROUND
33. Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins: five-star
34. USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.: four-star
35. Georgia running back D'Andre Swift: five-star
36: Alabama safety Xavier McKinney: four-star
37: Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger: zero-star
38: Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos: four-star
39. Louisiana guard Robert Hunt: two-star
40: TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock: four-star
41: Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor: three-star
42: Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault: three-star
43: Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet: four-star
44: LSU safety Grant Delpit: four-star
45. Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr.: three-star
46. Penn State wide receiver KJ Hamler: four-star
47. Auburn defensive tackle Marlon Davidson: four-star
48. Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor: four-star
49. Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool: four-star
50. Utah defensive back Jaylon Johnson: four-star
51. Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs: four-star
52. Florida State running back Cam Akers: five-star
53. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts: four-star
54. Iowa defensive end AJ Epenesa: five-star
55. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins: four-star
56. Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis: four-star
57. Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson: four-star
58. Boise State offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland: three-star
59. Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims: three-star
60. Michigan linebacker Josh Uche: three-star
61. LSU defensive back Kristian Fulton: five-star
62. Boston College running back AJ Dillon: three-star
63. Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr.: four-star
64. Southern Illinois defensive back Jeremy Chinn: zero-star

Five-star: 5
Four-star: 17
Three-star: 7
Two-star: 1
Zero-star: 2

THIRD ROUND
65. Wyoming linebacker Logan Wilson: two-star
66. Memphis wide receiver Antonio Gibson: three-star
67: Notre Dame linebacker Julian Okwara: four-star
68: Cal defensive back Ashtyn Davis: zero-star
69. LSU guard Damien Lewis: three-star
70. Texas defensive back Brandon Jones: four-star
71. Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike: four-star
72. Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones: three-star
73. Ohio State defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton: three-star
74. Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun: three-star
75. Ohio State offensive lineman Jonah Jackson: three-star
76. Vanderbilt running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn: four-star
77. Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia: three-star
78. Temple center Matt Hennessy: two-star
79. Florida defensive end Jabari Zuniga: three-star
80. Kentucky wide receiver Lynn Bowden: four-star
81. South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards: four-star
82. Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore: four-star
83. LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry: three-star
84. Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis: four-star
85. Utah defensive back Julian Blackmon: three-star
86. Utah running back Zack Moss: three-star
87. Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings: four-star
88. Missouri defensive tackle Jordan Elliott: four-star
89. Mississippi State cornerback Cameron Dantzler: three-star
90. Florida defensive end Jonathan Greenard: three-star
91. UCLA tight end Devin Asiasi: four-star
92. Texas wide receiver Devin Duvernay: four-star
93. Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans: two-star
94. Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara: two-star
95. Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim: five-star
96. TCU offensive tackle Lucas Niang: three-star
97: LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips: four-star
98. Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison: three-star
99. UConn offensive tackle Matt Peart: two-star
100. Clemson safety Tanner Muse: three-star
101. Virginia Tech tight end Dalton Keene: three-star
102: Charlotte linebacker Alex Highsmith: zero-star
103: Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor: four-star
104: Utah safety Terrell Burgess: three-star
105: Dayton tight end Adam Trautman: zero-star
106. Mississippi State offensive tackle Tyre Phillips: three-star

Five-star: 1
Four-star: 14
Three-star: 19
Two-star: 5
Zero-star: 3

Lynn Bowden Jr. powers Kentucky to wild Belk Bowl win over Virginia Tech

Belk Bowl
Getty Images
3 Comments

For Virginia Tech and Bud Foster, the Belk Bowl didn’t provide the storybook ending they wanted to see.

Following a chippy first half, a last-minute touchdown pass powered Kentucky to a 37-30 win over Tech in the 18th Belk Bowl.  This will also be the final Belk Bowl as the title sponsor confirmed earlier this year that they were pulling out of the postseason game after 2019.

Lynn Bowden Jr., who began the season as a wide receiver before moving to quarterback due to injuries, connected with Josh Ali from 13 yards with 15 seconds left for the game-winning score.  It was Bowden’s sixth completion of the game and just his third touchdown pass on the season.

It was Bowden’s legs, though, that propelled UK to the win.

Bowden, who previously announced he’s leaving early for the NFL, ran for 233 yards and two touchdowns in the win.  The senior broke Johnny Manziel‘s record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a bowl game. This was the sixth-straight game Bowden, named the Hornung Award winner as the nation’s most versatile player, has rushed for at least 100 yards.  In the regular-season finale against Louisville, Bowden put up 284.

The final margin was provided by Jordan Wright‘s 28-yard fumble return for a touchdown with no time left on the clock.

In a losing effort, Tech’s Deshawn McClease ran for 126 yards on just 11 carries.  Hendon Hooker also passed for a pair of touchdowns, with both of those coming in the first half.

Tech, incidentally, became the first team to score 30 or more points on Kentucky this season.

As for Foster, it was his last game as the Hokies’ defensive coordinator after 33 seasons at the school.  The school announced in August that Foster would be stepping down.

Foster began his three decades-plus tenure with the Hokies as inside linebackers coach in 1987.  In 1995, Foster was promoted to defensive coordinator, a post he’s held for the past 24 seasons.  He also continued coaching the team’s linebackers.

With the win, Kentucky improved to 8-5 on the season.  They now have 18 wins on the season, the most in any two-year stretch since 1976-77.

Virginia Tech finished the year 8-5 as well in Justin Fuente‘s fourth season at the school.

Pregame punches thrown as Kentucky, Virginia Tech hit halftime of chippy Belk Bowl

Belk Bowl
Getty Images
1 Comment

To say that things are a little chippy at this year’s Belk Bowl would be a bit of an understatement.

Prior to this afternoon’s matchup between Virginia Tech and Kentucky, starting UK quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. was caught on video throwing a punch on VT defensive tackle DaShawn Crawford.  It was also reported that a punch was thrown at Bowden as well.

Myriad players had to be separated multiple times in the run-up to kickoff.  These dustups were preceded by an altercation at Charlotte Motor Speedway during an event involving both teams.  That altercation continued on social media in the days leading up to the bowl game.

Despite all of the pregame huffing and puffing and punching, there were no penalties assessed on anyone involved.

The chippiness continued on into the early portion of the game, with the Wildcats penalized 15 yards twice on the opening drive — one a personal foul, the other roughing the passer.

As far as the game goes, Tech has taken a 17-14 lead into the halftime locker room.  UK has 181 yards of offense; Bowden has accounted for 136 of those (90 rushing, 46 passing).

Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker has tossed a pair of touchdown passes the first two quarters.

CFT Previews: Belk Bowl

Getty Images
Leave a comment

WHO: Virginia Tech (8-4) vs. Kentucky (7-5)
WHAT: The 18th (and final, under this name at least) Belk Bowl
WHEN: Noon ET on ESPN
WHERE: Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
BUY TICKETS: Click Here

THE SKINNY: It’s the 20th meeting between these two in what should be as spirited a mid-afternoon, weekday game can get, as Virginia Tech is less than three hours from Charlotte and Kentucky is fired up to play anywhere this time of year.

In the final game of Bud Foster‘s esteemed career, he’ll have his hands full with Kentucky’s improvised offense. Behind quarterback Lynn Bowden, Jr., the Wildcats essentially run the Wishbone, just from the shotgun. Bowden has thrown for just 330 yards this season, but ran for 1,235 — almost all of them coming over the last seven games. The Hornung Award winner as the nation’s most versatile player, Bowden eviscerated Louisville to the tune of 284 yards and four touchdowns on just 22 carries en route to a 45-13 win.

Virginia Tech has struggled to contain running quarterbacks (though Bowden may more accurately be described as a throwing running back at this point; he was 1-of-2 for four yards against Louisville). In fact, the entire reason Foster’s farewell is today and not last night’s Orange Bowl was because Bryce Perkins rushed for 164 yards and two touchdowns in addition to his 266 yards and two scores through the air in Virginia’s 39-30, ACC Coastal clinching, Commonwealth Cup streak ending win on Nov. 29.

With Virginia Tech fired up to send Foster out a winner, the guess here is the Hokies corral Bowden just enough to get the win.

THE PICK: Virginia Tech 24, Kentucky 22

LSU, Ohio State headline AP All-America team

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Everyone’s got an All-America team these days. In fact, I was at Target this weekend and a cashier tried to hand me a pamphlet with their All-America team. I took it to be polite but pitched it in a trash can on my way out of the store. (I’m kidding. If Target had its own All-America team, I’m absolutely taking that flier home with me.)

There’s no shortage of All-America teams, but the gold standard will always be the Associated Press All-America team. That team was released Monday.

As should surprise no one, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country led the way, as both No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Ohio State placed three players apiece on the First Team.

LSU’s were Heisman winner Joe Burrow, Biletnikoff winner J’Marr Chase and not Thorpe Award winner Grant Delpit, but instead true freshman Derek Stingley, Jr. (Delpit made the second team.) For Ohio State, guard Wyatt Davis, defensive end Chase Young and cornerback Jeff Okudah made the first team, while backfield mates Justin Fields and JK Dobbins made the Second Team, and guard Jonah Jackson and linebacker Malik Harrison earned Third Team spots.

Elsewhere, three teams placed two players among the 25 on the First Team — Georgia, Wisconsin… and Kentucky. The 7-5 Wildcats were immortalized by punter Max Duffy and quarterback Lynn Bowden, Jr., whose 330 passing yards, 1,235 rushing yards, 348 receiving yards, 200 kick return yards and 53 punt returns yards were enough to earn him a nod as an all-purpose player.

The First Team can be found below.

OFFENSE
QB: Joe Burrow, LSU
RB: Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State; Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
WR: Ja'Marr Chase, LSU; CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
TE: Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic
OT: Penei Sewell, Oregon; Andrew Thomas, Georgia
OG: Wyatt Davis, Ohio State; Kevin Dotson, Louisiana-Lafayette
C: Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
AP: Lynn Bowden, Jr., Kentucky
K: Keith Duncan, Iowa

DEFENSE
DE: Chase Young, Ohio State; James Lynch, Baylor
DT: Derrick Brown, Auburn; Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
LB: Isaiah Simmons, Clemson; Evan Weaver, Cal; Micah Parsons, Penn State
S: Antoine Winfield, Jr., Minnesota; JR Reed, Georgia
CB: Derek Stingley, Jr., LSU; Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
P: Max Duffy, Kentucky