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Published: Dec. 28, 2016 at 12:40 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 28, 2016 at 12:51 p.m.

Top 10 prospects playing in Thursday's bowl games

Though there are only three bowl games on the schedule, it wasn't tough to find future pros worth watching on Thursday. The first bowl meeting between ranked teams will take place Thursday night, with Oklahoma State and Colorado facing off in the Alamodome. Here are 10 players scouts will be eyeing. All times listed are Eastern.

10 Photos Total

  • <b>Game:</b> Birmingham Bowl (vs. South Carolina), 2 p.m., ESPN<br>
Adams and Isaiah Ford are actually very similar talents, though Adams might have faster timed speed. If the Gamecocks play Cover 1, the safety had better get moving when Adams runs a vertical route; he will take away the angle in a heartbeat. The first-team All-American Athletic Conference pick is a straight-line runner who will get a shot as a kick returner and No. 2 or 3 receiver in the NFL. 10

    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    10. Rodney Adams, WR, USF

    Game: Birmingham Bowl (vs. South Carolina), 2 p.m., ESPN
    Adams and Isaiah Ford are actually very similar talents, though Adams might have faster timed speed. If the Gamecocks play Cover 1, the safety had better get moving when Adams runs a vertical route; he will take away the angle in a heartbeat. The first-team All-American Athletic Conference pick is a straight-line runner who will get a shot as a kick returner and No. 2 or 3 receiver in the NFL.

  • <b>Game:</b> Birmingham Bowl (vs. South Carolina), 2 p.m., ESPN<br>
South Florida coaches were ecstatic when they kept Mack, a four-star recruit, in Florida. They've given him ample chances to make plays on the ground and through the air the past three years, and he's delivered for them with about 4,000 total yards rushing and receiving. Mack's game is reminiscent of Green Bay Packer James Starks, a leggy back who cuts into creases and leans for additional yardage despite having very good speed. 9

    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    9. Marlon Mack, RB, USF

    Game: Birmingham Bowl (vs. South Carolina), 2 p.m., ESPN
    South Florida coaches were ecstatic when they kept Mack, a four-star recruit, in Florida. They've given him ample chances to make plays on the ground and through the air the past three years, and he's delivered for them with about 4,000 total yards rushing and receiving. Mack's game is reminiscent of Green Bay Packer James Starks, a leggy back who cuts into creases and leans for additional yardage despite having very good speed.

  • <b>Game:</b> Belk Bowl (vs. Arkansas), 5:30 p.m., ESPN)<br>
The Hokies' top receiver has taken the roof off of defenses the past three years, crossing the 1,000-yard barrier the last two seasons. The lean receiver relies on speed to beat the jam outside, using his silky-smooth strides to make big plays. Ford also high-points passes downfield and has the hands to snatch back-shoulder passes. Arkansas will have its hands full with both Bucky Hodges and Ford working open. 8

    Mike Groll/Associated Press

    8. Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech

    Game: Belk Bowl (vs. Arkansas), 5:30 p.m., ESPN)
    The Hokies' top receiver has taken the roof off of defenses the past three years, crossing the 1,000-yard barrier the last two seasons. The lean receiver relies on speed to beat the jam outside, using his silky-smooth strides to make big plays. Ford also high-points passes downfield and has the hands to snatch back-shoulder passes. Arkansas will have its hands full with both Bucky Hodges and Ford working open.

  • <b>Game:</b> Belk Bowl (vs. Arkansas), 5:30 p.m., ESPN)<br>
This tough-minded, dual-threat passer is trying to lead Tech to its first 10-win season since 2011. He's a strong runner who will find receivers downfield, and also make defenses pay with his feet. NFL scouts, however, are still wondering if Evans' game translates to the next level. Regardless, the Razorbacks had better bring their A game, or Evans will run and throw for 350 total yards in this matchup. 7

    Willie J. Allen Jr./Associated Press

    7. Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech

    Game: Belk Bowl (vs. Arkansas), 5:30 p.m., ESPN)
    This tough-minded, dual-threat passer is trying to lead Tech to its first 10-win season since 2011. He's a strong runner who will find receivers downfield, and also make defenses pay with his feet. NFL scouts, however, are still wondering if Evans' game translates to the next level. Regardless, the Razorbacks had better bring their A game, or Evans will run and throw for 350 total yards in this matchup.

  • <b>NOTE:</b> Sprinkle has been <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000765846/article/arkansas-suspends-te-jeremy-sprinkle-from-belk-bowl">suspended from the Belk Bowl</a><br>
<b>Game:</b> Belk Bowl (vs. Virginia Tech), 5:30 p.m., ESPN)<br>
NFL scouts are liking how the Razorbacks are getting their 6-foot-6, 256-pound tight end more than a sprinkling of touches since Hunter Henry left for the NFL last season. Virginia Tech is well aware of how a big-bodied receiver can open up the middle of a defense with Bucky Hodges on its squad, so defensive coordinator Bud Foster will try to confine Sprinkle to being a move-the-chains receiver, not a downfield threat. 6

    Samantha Baker/Associated Press

    6. Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas

    NOTE: Sprinkle has been suspended from the Belk Bowl
    Game: Belk Bowl (vs. Virginia Tech), 5:30 p.m., ESPN)
    NFL scouts are liking how the Razorbacks are getting their 6-foot-6, 256-pound tight end more than a sprinkling of touches since Hunter Henry left for the NFL last season. Virginia Tech is well aware of how a big-bodied receiver can open up the middle of a defense with Bucky Hodges on its squad, so defensive coordinator Bud Foster will try to confine Sprinkle to being a move-the-chains receiver, not a downfield threat.

  • <b>Game:</b> Alamo Bowl (vs. Colorado), 9 p.m., ESPN<br>
When a nose tackle leads his team in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (six), you know he's talented. Taylor is a load, so you'd think that he was a two-down player. But his strength against double teams belies his agility and hustle to split them to provide pressure when quarterbacks hold onto the ball for too long. The Buffaloes had better block Taylor in this bowl game, or he'll cause issues up the middle. 5

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    5. Vincent Taylor, DT, Oklahoma State

    Game: Alamo Bowl (vs. Colorado), 9 p.m., ESPN
    When a nose tackle leads his team in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (six), you know he's talented. Taylor is a load, so you'd think that he was a two-down player. But his strength against double teams belies his agility and hustle to split them to provide pressure when quarterbacks hold onto the ball for too long. The Buffaloes had better block Taylor in this bowl game, or he'll cause issues up the middle.

  • <b>Game:</b> Alamo Bowl (vs. Oklahoma State), 9 p.m., ESPN<br>
The senior has been a stalwart in the secondary since his true freshman year, starting both at nickel and on the outside. Watch for him to come off the edge from the nickel spot against QB Mason Rudolph in the Alamo Bowl, as well as manning up against WR James Washington and others outside. That versatility will serve him well in the NFL. 4

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    4. Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

    Game: Alamo Bowl (vs. Oklahoma State), 9 p.m., ESPN
    The senior has been a stalwart in the secondary since his true freshman year, starting both at nickel and on the outside. Watch for him to come off the edge from the nickel spot against QB Mason Rudolph in the Alamo Bowl, as well as manning up against WR James Washington and others outside. That versatility will serve him well in the NFL.

  • <b>Game:</b> Alamo Bowl (vs. Colorado), 9 p.m., ESPN<br>
Washington, who intends to return to OSU for his senior season in 2017, was one of four receivers selected as first-team all-conference by Big 12 coaches this season. Mason Rudolph's favorite target eclipsed 1,200 yards in the regular season, averaging nearly 20 yards a reception. He makes his living beating the corner off the line and getting downfield for Rudolph's deep throws. Washington's not a tall receiver, but his vertical and want-to to hit jump balls make him a reliable target. 3

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    3. James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

    Game: Alamo Bowl (vs. Colorado), 9 p.m., ESPN
    Washington, who intends to return to OSU for his senior season in 2017, was one of four receivers selected as first-team all-conference by Big 12 coaches this season. Mason Rudolph's favorite target eclipsed 1,200 yards in the regular season, averaging nearly 20 yards a reception. He makes his living beating the corner off the line and getting downfield for Rudolph's deep throws. Washington's not a tall receiver, but his vertical and want-to to hit jump balls make him a reliable target.

  • <b>Game:</b> Belk Bowl (vs. Arkansas), 5:30 p.m., ESPN)<br>
Call Hodges a receiver or call him a tight end -- in the end, it doesn't matter. The 6-7, 245-pound Hokie is a natural pass-catcher who's able to challenge cornerbacks with his size and linebackers with his agility. Don't be surprised to see Hodges in the backfield, as Tech likes getting the ball in his hands whenever possible. 2

    Steve Helber/Associated Press

    2. Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech

    Game: Belk Bowl (vs. Arkansas), 5:30 p.m., ESPN)
    Call Hodges a receiver or call him a tight end -- in the end, it doesn't matter. The 6-7, 245-pound Hokie is a natural pass-catcher who's able to challenge cornerbacks with his size and linebackers with his agility. Don't be surprised to see Hodges in the backfield, as Tech likes getting the ball in his hands whenever possible.

  • <b>Game:</b> Alamo Bowl (vs. Colorado), 9 p.m., ESPN<br>
Flying a bit under the radar this year, Rudolph, who has announced he'll return to OSU for his senior season, has quietly put together a nice season, improving in all passing categories in his second year as a starter. Rudolph has thrown just four interceptions out of 416 pass attempts. When comfortable in the pocket, Rudolph can hit all levels of the field. Colorado will be coming after him, however, so the junior will need to show he can move within and outside the pocket to make plays. 1

    Jim Cowsert/Associated Press

    1. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

    Game: Alamo Bowl (vs. Colorado), 9 p.m., ESPN
    Flying a bit under the radar this year, Rudolph, who has announced he'll return to OSU for his senior season, has quietly put together a nice season, improving in all passing categories in his second year as a starter. Rudolph has thrown just four interceptions out of 416 pass attempts. When comfortable in the pocket, Rudolph can hit all levels of the field. Colorado will be coming after him, however, so the junior will need to show he can move within and outside the pocket to make plays.