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East-West Shrine Game has Indiana College Football Flavor

 

Photo - Purdue Athletics
Photo – Purdue Athletics

Jake Arthur
Associate Editor

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – For seniors who have completed their college football careers and hope to head to the NFL, opportunities like the East-West Shrine Game or the Senior Bowl can really help them prove to NFL scouts that they can play. Every year, players from these games put themselves into the conversation of breakout stars to look for at the NFL Combine or before the NFL Draft.

This year, there is a bevy of players in the East-West Shrine Game from colleges in the state of Indiana, Notre Dame and Purdue being well-represented. Here is an update on how these players have been performing in practices before the game this Saturday.

 

Tommy Rees | Quarterback | Notre Dame
Monday (1/13), Michael SchotteyBleacher Report:
“Scouts are torn on Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees. The physical tools are there, but his inconsistency was in stark contrast to Wenning, and the ball sailed on him because of poor footwork. His father, Bill Rees, works for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a college scout, so there is a good chance he ends up there following the draft.”

Wednesday (1/15), Charlie CampbellWalterFootball.com:
“Washington’s Price and Notre Dame’s Rees have Canadian football written all over them. Both are short on physical tools to be an NFL starter, and they could be considered to be more on display for the Canadian scouts in attendance rather than NFL evaluators. Over the course of NFL history, plenty of great players have overcome those issues, but the majority don’t. Price and Rees could have careers in Canada if they can’t make an NFL roster as third-stringers.”

 

Photo - Ball State Athletics
Photo – Ball State Athletics

Keith Wenning | Quarterback | Ball State
Monday (1/13), Michael Schottey – Bleacher Report:
“Ball State’s Keith Wenning was the top quarterback of the first practice. A fellow media member turned me on to his footwork, and I was immediately impressed with Wenning’s overall mechanics. He lacks elite velocity on some intermediate perimeter passes, but his consistency is worth the price of the admission. He is the only quarterback on the West roster who looked like a draftable player Monday.”

Monday (1/13), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com:
“The West team doesn’t have as much quarterback talent as the East, but Ball State’s Keith Wenning was impressive. He showed off a strong arm with the ability to fire some fastballs into tight windows. Wenning (6-3, 220) doesn’t look as big as his listed measurements, but he had an impressive first day. Scouts and general managers were overheard praising Wenning’s arm strength, so he did his job by commanding the attention of the talent evaluators.”

Tuesday (1/14), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com, on a list of team interviews with players:
San Diego Chargers –Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning….”

Tuesday (1/14), Bucky Brooks – NFL.com:
“Ball State’s Keith Wenning was the most impressive thrower on the West squad on the first day of workouts. He threw the ball with better zip and velocity than his counterparts — Washington‘s Keith Price and Notre Dame’s Tommy Rees. Wenning also stood out with his accuracy and ball placement. He connected on a handful of curls and dig routes that showcased his anticipation, and a completion on a deep crosser highlighted his touch.

On the second day of workouts, Wenning continued to be the headliner of the class by showing consistent ball placement and accuracy on throws in drills. Additionally, he flashes superior anticipation and awareness releasing the ball well before his receivers make breaks. If Wenning can continue to build on his solid start this week, he will force scouts to revisit their grades on him from the fall.”

Wednesday (1/15), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com:
“The strong-armed Wenning could also play in Canada if he can’t stick in the NFL. Wenning was the most impressive quarterback on the West squad this week.”

 

TJ Jones | Wide Receiver | Notre Dame
Thursday (1/16), Eric Hansen – South Bend Tribune:
“Wide receiver TJ Jones, generally perceived as the top pro prospect among the four, will miss the game with a shoulder injury that he suffered then played with in ND’s 29-16 Pinstripe Bowl victory over Rutgers, Dec. 28 in New York.”

 

Ted Bolser | Tight End | Indiana
Monday (1/13), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com, on a list of team interviews with players:
Cleveland Browns  Indiana tight end Ted Bolser…”

Tuesday (1/14), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com, on a list of team interviews with players:
New York Jets – Indiana tight end Ted Bolser….”

Thursday (1/16), Daniel Mogollon – AllMediaNY.com:
“Surprisingly, the IU product was not a big part of Indiana’s prolific passing attack, but NFL scouts recognize his potential. Bolser has very good length and reliable hands, which could make him a late-round sleeper at tight end.”

 

Bruce Gaston, Jr. | Defensive Tackle | Purdue
Monday (1/13), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com:
“There were a few players who stood out on the line. Defensively, Georgia defensive tackle Garrison Smith and Purdue defensive tackle Bruce Gaston were impressive.”

Tuesday (1/14), Michael Schottey – Bleacher Report:
“Bruce Gaston Jr., a defensive tackle out of Purdue, looked like a bit of a physical specimen. It isn’t often that a defensive tackle shows off his midsection during practice—that’s a total D-back move. Yet Gaston looked chiseled and moved well for a man his size. He also had a J.J. Watt-esque batted pass, which drew some cheers from the assembled crowd.”

Wednesday (1/15), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com:
“Purdue defensive tackle Bruce Gaston has played well and had some nice run fills. He also got down the line to stuff a run in the team scrimmage.”

Thursday (1/16), Michael Schottey – Bleacher Report:
“Passes the look test with ease, but slowed down throughout the week.”

Thursday (1/16), Daniel Mogollon – AllMediaNY.com:
“Yes, Purdue’s defense had some good players. Gaston has a strong upper body and quick feet making him a disruptive interior lineman. The word out of Florida this week is that Gaston is drawing praise for his execution and effort.”

 

Prince Shembo | Linebacker | Notre Dame
Monday (1/13), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com:
“Another defensive player who stood out was Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo. He had a good run fill to stuff a carry. Shembo also had an interception on a deflected pass. College teammate Tommy Rees forced a pass into tight coverage, and Shembo was in the right place to catch the deflection. Shembo lacked consistency in his college career, so it is important for him to play well all week.”

Tuesday (1/14), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com, on a list of team interviews with players:
“New York Jets – Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo.”

 

Photo and cover photo - Purdue Athletics
Photo – Purdue Athletics

Ricardo Allen | Cornerback | Purdue
Monday (1/13), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com, on a list of team interviews with players:
New Orleans Saints – Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen…”

Tuesday (1/14), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com, on a list of team interviews with players:
Oakland Raiders – Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen.”

Thursday (1/16), Daniel Mogollon – AllMediaNY.com:
“Another Boilermaker with pro potential, Allen is quick, fluid and fearless. He not only has the toughness to play bigger than his size, but also the swagger needed to play in coverage in today’s NFL. He projects as a slot corner but his ball skills might have him playing a bigger role at the next level.”

 

Bennett Jackson | Cornerback | Notre Dame
Monday (1/13), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com, on a list of team interviews with players:
“New Orleans Saints – Notre Dame cornerback Bennett Jackson.”

Tuesday (1/14), Charlie Campbell – WalterFootball.com:
“Overall, the defensive backs really struggled in this drill. Benwikere had a nice pass breakup going against Toledo‘s Bernard Reedy. However, the defensive backs on the West team haven’t been impressing scouts. Scouts said there wasn’t anybody there to get excited about.”

 

Also, on Thursday (1/16), Schottey said:
“St. Vincent’s in Indianapolis is becoming a bigger pre-combine training locale each and every year. It’s a sports medicine facility attached to the hospital, and a member of the training staff described the conditions as “excellent…best I’ve worked with.” More and more Midwestern prospects are flocking there.”

 

Jake Arthur is the Associate Editor at the Indy Sports Report covering the Indianapolis Colts and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts and has full media access. You can follow Jake and ISR on Twitter.

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