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Samford safety Jaquiski Tartt said to have 'SEC skills'

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Samford's Jaquiski Tartt will be one of the most closely scrutinized safeties at this week's Reese's Senior Bowl, and his hard-hitting style is one reason.

NFL Media analyst Charles Davis said Wednesday on NFL Network's "NFL AM" that Tartt (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) is "an absolute missile" and said Tartt had "SEC skills" while playing at the FCS level.


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Tartt should enjoy the surroundings at the Senior Bowl: He is native of Mobile, Ala., and thus is at home this week. He played just one season of high school football before moving on to Samford, which is in Birmingham, Ala.; he played at the same high school (Mobile's Davidson High) as San Francisco 49ers rookie safety Jimmie Ward, who was a first-round pick in the 2014 draft out of Northern Illinois.

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Tartt has been clocked as fast as 4.46 in the 40-yard dash and is known for his work in run support; he had a combined 160 tackles in his final two seasons. He finished his career with six interceptions, 20 pass break-ups and 6.5 tackles for loss. Tartt is the first Samford player ever selected for the Senior Bowl.

Tartt is one of 10 former FCS players at the Senior Bowl. In addition, there are two Division II players and one from a Division III school. Here's a quick look at some other non-FBS players worth watching this week:

Southeastern Louisiana QB Bryan Bennett: He was a late addition to the roster, as he was selected when Auburn's Nick Marshall decided he would play cornerback this week. Bennett (6-3, 215) was the quarterback Marcus Mariota beat out to earn the starting job at Oregon in 2012. Bennett was Mariota's backup that fall before transferring to FCS member Southeastern Louisiana before the 2013 season; in his two seasons with the Lions, he threw for 5,522 yards and 39 touchdowns and rushed for 1,715 yards and 31 TDs.

Northern Iowa RB David Johnson: Johnson was a three-year starter for the FCS-level Panthers, and was a part-time starter as a redshirt freshman in 2011. Johnson (6-1, 224) has a nice size/speed combo (he has been clocked in the high 4.4s in the 40) and ran for 4,687 yards and 49 TDs in his career. He also is a good receiver, finishing with 141 receptions and 14 TDs. And for a guy who was such a big part of UNI's offense, he also is proficient as a blocker.

Central Arkansas WR Dezmin Lewis: Lewis has excellent size (6-3 1/2, 215) -- he is the tallest receiver at the Senior Bowl -- and while he is raw as a receiver, he is a high-level athlete with an impressive upside. He had 197 career catches, and 24 went for touchdowns. He was a three-year starter for the FCS-level Bears.


» Brooks: Buzz-worthy, buzz-kill players from Day 1 at Senior Bowl


Harding (Ark.) WR Donatella Luckett: Luckett (6-0, 206) is one of the two Division II players at the Senior Bowl. He started his college career as a running back, but was moved to receiver as a sophomore and was a three-year starter. He also ran the 100 meters for Harding and qualified for the NCAA Division II track championships; his best time in the 100 meters is 10.44 seconds. Harding is a run-heavy team, and Luckett finished his career with just 79 catches (but 15 went for TDs, or 19 percent). He led the team with 23 receptions as a senior, and no other player had more than six catches.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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