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New Year’s Day Bowl Games: Prospects to know from Michigan, South Carolina, UCF and Auburn

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A look at the prospects in Outback and Peach Bowl.

Cincinnati v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Another day full of NFL talent to get to know as we are officially in 2018 NFL Draft mode for the Arizona Cardinals.

First, a look at the early games.

Outback Bowl - Monday Noon ET
Michigan vs South Carolina

#73 Maurice Hurst Jr. DT Michigan 6’2” 280
Season Stats: 59 TKL (25 solo) 13.5 TFL 5 SCK 1 FF 1 PBU 1 kick BLK

Hurst is a well-regarded, if undersized interior defensive lineman. He has compiled 25 tackles for loss over the past two seasons, and was named First Team All-Big Ten as a senior. Hurst’s father, Maurice Sr., played corner for the Patriots for seven seasons back in the late ‘80s/early ’90s.

#52 Mason Cole OL Michigan 6’5” 297

Cole will set a Michigan record when he makes his 51st consecutive start on the O-line Monday. He has experience a center and left tackle, and while many analysts are projecting him as an NFL center, in my experience, Cole’s height may be viewed as a detriment there. NFL teams will work Cole out all along the line while they figure out his best fit.

#15 Chase Winovich DE Michigan 6’3” 253
Season Stats: 74 TKL (29 solo) 17.5 TFL 8 SCK 2 FF

#81 Hayden Hurst TE SC 6’5” 250
Season Stats: 41 REC 518 YDS 12.6 AVG 2 TD receiving, 36 YDS 5.1 AVG 1 TD rushing

It looks as though Hurst will play despite the fact that he will forgo his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. The junior tight end played two seasons of minor league baseball after high school and before joining the Gamecocks’ football team. He will turn 25 years old in August.

#10 Skai Moore LB SC 6’2” 218
Season Stats: 88 TKL (59 solo) 8 TFL 2 SCK 3 INT 1 PBU 1 TD

After missing the 2016 season with a neck injury, Moore returned to enjoy a full, productive and healthy senior year. He’s an undersized ‘backer, who’s proven to be an asset against the pass, with 14 career interceptions heading into this game.

Peach Bowl - Monday 12:30 PM ET
Central Florida vs Auburn

#18 Shaquem Griffin LB UCF 6’2” 229S
eason Stats: 62 TKL (38 solo) 10 TFL 5.5 SCK 2 FF 1 INT 3 PBU 1 TD

Griffin’s story is well-known by now. He was born with a condition that lifted the development of his left hand, and had the hand amputated at four years old. Undeterred, Griffin excelled in athletics, and earned a scholarship to UCF. In 2016, he finished the season with 20 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and seven pass breakups, and was named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year. A year after his brother was drafted by the Seahawks, I expect Shaquem’s landing spot will be one of the running storylines on Day Three of the 2018 draft.

#8 Jarett Stidham QB Auburn 6’3” 214
Season Stats: 218/327 (66.7%) 2827 YDS 8.6 YPA 17 TD 4 INT passing, 178 YDS 2.0 AVG 4 TD rushing

Stidham transferred out of a scandal-riddled Baylor program to become the Tigers starter this season. He’s only a redshirt sophomore, but some analysts have followed him all season expecting him to declare. I suspect he will return to school in 2018.

#21 Kerryon Johnson RB Auburn 6’ 212
Season Stats: 1320 YDS 5.0 AVG 17 TD rushing, 23 REC 188 YDS 8.2 AVG 2 TD receiving

#71 Braden Smith OT Auburn 6’6” 303

Smith has experience starting at guard and tackle, and I expect him to test well at the combine and get an opportunity to play tackle in the pros.

#95 Dontavius Russell DT Auburn 6’3” 310
Season Stats: 41 TKL (21 solo) 6.5 TFL 3 SCK 1 FF 1 PBU