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Shawn Oakman eager to clear air on Penn State dismissal

MOBILE, Ala. -- Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman's dismissal from Penn State is a topic he's having to discuss anew this week as NFL scouts and personnel executives meet with some of the nation's top draft prospects at the Reese's Senior Bowl.

But unlike some players who might be reluctant to explain a troubled past, it's a conversation Oakman is happy to have. Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien, then at PSU, dismissed Oakman in 2012 after an incident in which he reportedly grabbed the wrist of a store clerk.

"It made me into the man I am today. That's why people love me. I don't have any bad people around me, all good vibes, and I'm here today so that shows for itself," said Oakman, who will put his skills on display in the game that will air exclusively on NFL Network on Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET). "Everything can be taken in the blink of an eye. It's a blessing not everybody gets to achieve. From where I'm from, when people get kicked out of school, they go back to the hood. And they don't leave."

Oakman, however, merely left Penn State. He matured extensively at Baylor, becoming one of the top pass rushers in the Big 12 conference. His tall, 260-pound frame (Oakman said he is 6-foot-9, though he measured 6-7 1/2 at the Senior Bowl weigh-in) make him an intriguing prospect as a pass rusher with athleticism and length to spare.

Here are 10 other things we've learned at the Senior Bowl:

2. Carroo clearing air: Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo is getting some tough questions from NFL scouts this week regarding his September suspension over an assault charge that was later dropped. Carroo was accused of slamming a woman onto a concrete surface outside Rutgers' High Point Solutions Stadium after the Scarlet Knights' September home loss to Washington State, but the alleged victim ultimately opted not to pursue the case.

"With what happened this past season, this is a way for me to show scouts what type of character I have and let them know that all that stuff is in the past. Everything got dismissed and I'm able to focus on football now," Carroo said. "It's a chance to clear up any doubts they might've had and let them know I am a good kid."

Carroo withdrew from the game after Wednesday's practice with an injury.

3. Dixon dazzles.North RB Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech showed as much explosiveness Wednesday as any running back in Mobile this week, causing trouble for linebackers with his acceleration and cutback ability. An NFC scout told College Football 24/7 that Dixon is the most complete running back participating in the Senior Bowl.

4. Spriggs on Bosa: Indiana left tackle Jason Spriggs, one of the top tackles in the draft, went head to head against Ohio State star DE Joey Bosa three times in his IU career. The battles were prolific, and Spriggs said Bosa -- who is expected to be a high first-round pick -- came to know Spriggs' game well.

"The fact we were going against each other so much, we kind of knew each other. We knew each other's weaknesses and strengths," Spriggs said. "We were both trying to expose those. We knew how to attack each other. Year one, I got thrown into a whirlwind."

So who came out on top?

"I'm not going to throw shots," Spriggs said.

5. Roster moves: Arkansas State TE Darion Griswold, who performed well last week in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the East-West Shrine Game, has been added to the roster to replace injured Florida TE Jake McGee. Along with Carroo, Ohio State LB Joshua Perry and UMass WR Tajae Sharpe have also withdrawn for injury reasons.

6. Sleepers on the move. There are a number of prospects from smaller colleges who have helped their draft stock this week, but Kyler Fackrell's place in the draft didn't need much help. The Utah State linebacker could have a chance to go in Round 1, according to the Senior Bowl director Phil Savage.

7. Hoopsters. Two Senior Bowlers, BYU DE Bronson Kaufusi and Southeast Missouri WR Paul McRoberts, played basketball at the college level for one season (2012-13) before focusing full-time on football.

8. Ragland rising. Alabama LB Reggie Ragland's place in the draft is only getting more secure as the Senior Bowl practice week passes. NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock called him a top-20 pick who will be running an NFL defense as a rookie.

9. Miller Time. Ohio State WR Braxton Miller made a few outstanding plays Wednesday and figures to be a big part of the North squad game plan. On one play, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett's staff even called a reverse to the speedy former Buckeye.

10. Kessler over the top. USC QB Cody Kessler connected with Carroo during coverage drills Wednesday, beating Minneosta's Eric Murray with this well-thrown deep ball.

11. Holding the cards. Although the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff is getting an up-close look at one of the draft's top quarterback prospects in North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, club owner Jerry Jones wasn't about to concede a need to set up an eventual  replacement for the aging Tony Romo in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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