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SEC prospects with most on the line in bowl games

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Prospects with most on line in bowl season: Top 10 overall | ACC | Pac-12 | SEC | Big Ten


The first bowl is Saturday, and to get you prepared for what seemingly will be a never-ending onslaught of games -- there are a record 38 bowls this season -- CFB 24/7 is taking an in-depth look at some of the top prospects in the postseason.


» Tracking underclassmen intentions for 2015 draft


Today, we'll look at the 10 SEC prospects with the most on the line in the postseason. There already has been a national look, but we'll include underclassmen in our conference-by-conference breakdowns.

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1. Cedric Ogbuehi, OL, Texas A&M

Bowl game: Liberty Bowl vs. West Virginia, Dec. 29
Analysis: The Texas A&M offensive tackle said after last season he received a first-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board for his play as a junior at right tackle. But midway through his senior year at left tackle, after an injury elsewhere on the Aggies' line, he was moved back to the right side and one NFL scout suggested that the fourth round might be a more accurate projection. Now, Ogbuehi is back at left tackle with one more opportunity to show the NFL how well he can protect a right-handed quarterback's blind side.

2. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State

Bowl game: Orange Bowl vs. Georgia Tech, Dec. 31
Analysis: Prescott is among several Bulldogs considering turning pro early, and is the most valuable to the program among them. He has size, arm strength and athleticism, but questions center around whether the dual-threat quarterback could transition well from MSU's spread option offense to a pro-style one. Prescott fell out of the Heisman Trophy race the night he threw three interceptions at Alabama in MSU's first loss. Comparisons to Tim Tebow, who ran the same offense at Florida, have been frequent, although NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt saw Prescott as a "much better prospect" than Tebow back in early November.

3. Shane Ray, DE, Missouri

Bowl game: Citrus Bowl vs. Minnesota, Jan. 1
Analysis: Ray had a spectacular season with an SEC-leading 14 sacks on his way to SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors. But while NFL personnel executives have compared him to the likes of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, that doesn't mean there aren't questions about what he can and can't do at the line of scrimmage with his light frame (240 pounds). And after being ejected from the SEC title game, it's not as though Ray wouldn't like to make a different ending impression on NFL scouts.

4. Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State

Bowl game: Orange Bowl vs. Georgia Tech, Dec. 31
Analysis: The most talented member of the Bulldogs' defense has said more than once that he expects this year to be his last at MSU. But would he be smarter to return? NFL Media analyst Charles Davis thinks so, making McKinney the lone SEC player on his list of 10 underclassmen who should stay in school. Georgia Tech's triple-option offense is different from anything McKinney has faced this year. Defending from the middle linebacker position starts with having the discipline to read keys and carry out assignments.

In a weekly series, draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah polls five NFL personnel executives about college football's top prospects.

5. Danielle Hunter, DE, LSU

Bowl game: Music City Bowl vs. Notre Dame, Dec. 30
Analysis: From the standpoint of physical tools, Hunter has the look of a future pro. At 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, his length and athleticism are obvious. But how those skills translated into just 1.5 sacks this season is something of a head-scratcher that NFL scouts could have a hard time getting past. While Hunter didn't get to the quarterback much (even his QB hurry total -- two -- was low), he led the Tigers with 12 tackles for loss and deflected six passes. Nothing would help the junior's case for early entry more than a couple of sacks against the Fighting Irish.

6. Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina

Bowl game: Independence Bowl vs. Miami, Dec. 27
Analysis: Davis needs just 73 yards against the Hurricanes to reach 1,000 on the season, and yet, it still just wasn't his year. There were nagging injuries, and, of course, six losses for the Gamecocks. An offensive line that was expected to dominate was inconsistent at times, especially on the right side. But of more concern to NFL scouts is that Davis just didn't show the same explosiveness in 2014 that he did as a sophomore. Davis will have more than a few encounters with Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman, the Hurricanes' top defensive prospect, on Dec. 27. If he wants the Independence Bowl film to impress scouts, he'll need to win his share of those battles.


» Davis: 10 underclassmen who should forgo 2015 draft


7. Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss

Bowl game: Peach Bowl vs. TCU, Dec. 31
Analysis: The senior had a fantastic year for the Rebels, piling up an SEC-high nine interceptions plus a team-high eight pass breakups. At just 5-9, 180 pounds, however, the Jim Thorpe Award finalist could lack the length to be a true corner at the next level. Is he better suited for a nickelback role, where his straight-line speed won't be tested as much? These are some of the questions scouts will be asking in an ideal setting to judge him: against a standout quarterback (Trevone Boykin) who will throw 35-40 times, at a minimum, and test Golson's coverage skills by extending pass plays with his elusiveness.

8. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama

Bowl game: Sugar Bowl vs. Ohio State, Jan. 1; will advance to Jan. 12 national title game with win.
Analysis: There were 53 draft picks that went off the board in May before the first running back was chosen. Later in the draft, there was a stretch of 43 picks between running backs. Yeldon will soon decide whether to turn pro early, but at a devalued position, no underclassmen want to be on the wrong end of such a gap on draft day. Yeldon can make a final impression like few other backs, however, on a four-team playoff stage that begins against the No. 4 Buckeyes. With minor injuries that slowed him at times during the regular season well-healed, he should be able to put his best effort on display.

9. Martrell Spaight, LB, Arkansas

Bowl game: Texas Bowl vs. Texas, Dec. 29
Analysis: Before the season began, Spaight wasn't on the prospect radar. And why would he be? He spent two years in junior college and did little to distinguish himself on a terrible Arkansas team as a junior in 2013. But 123 tackles and a Senior Bowl invitation later, he might be the biggest reason an NFL scout would want to watch the Razorbacks in this game. He has the requisite NFL size at 6-3, 230 pounds, and brings a level of passion to the position that scouts love. A big game against Texas would help solidify his reputation as a draft riser.


» 2014-15 college football bowl schedule


10. Arie Kouandjio, OL, Alabama

Bowl game: Sugar Bowl vs. Ohio State, Jan. 1; will advance to Jan. 12 national title game with win.
Analysis: Although Kouandjio has garnered some impressive postseason recognition, including first-team All-SEC and second-team All-America, a source close to the program was surprised by the honors and told College Football 24/7 he has had a solid year, but not a spectacular one. Midseason struggles aside, Kouandjio has played some of his best football late in the year. That trend must continue against the Buckeyes and perhaps beyond if the senior is to improve his draft stock.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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