What we learned from New Year's Day bowl games


Could Ole Miss get star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell be back for another season? The Rebels' junior left open the possibility Friday after dismantling the Oklahoma State secondary for three touchdown receptions in a 48-20 Sugar Bowl rout.

"I wouldn't say that," Treadwell said when asked if the Sugar Bowl was his last game as a Rebel. "I'll go home, sit down with my parents ... I'll just continue to wait for that right feeling, that gut feeling."

If that gut feeling keeps Treadwell in Oxford, Miss., in 2016, quarterback Chad Kelly would certainly appreciate it. In accepting the MVP trophy, Kelly shouted "One more year!" in reference to Treadwell's future at Ole Miss.

In just two and a half seasons with Ole Miss (a devastating injury cut his sophomore season short), Treadwell holds the Rebels' school record in receptions with 202. Underclassmen have until a Jan. 18 deadline to apply for early draft eligibility, and Treadwell is a key member of a talented Ole Miss junior class that has several players considering the NFL, including left tackle Laremy Tunsil and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who was suspended for the Sugar Bowl. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein got a close look at Tunsil Friday night in New Orleans, and sees great potential in the third-year starter. Another of Ole Miss' top juniors, tight end Evan Engram, has announced he will stay in school.

Here are six other things we learned in college football Friday:

2. New Year's routs. If you were hoping for some competitive football on New Years Day, it's not been your year. Five bowls brought an assortment of blowouts, the first four of which were no closer than 16 points.

3. Brotherly Berry. Tennessee's Evan Berry, the younger brother of Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown against Northwestern in a 45-6 Outback Bowl win.

4. The bright side for Smith. Here's the silver lining for Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith, who suffered what coach Brian Kelly referred to as a "significant" knee injury in what was likely the last college game for the Fighting Irish star junior: If he's unable to participate in the pre-draft circuit of the NFL Scouting Combine, pro day and workouts with individual clubs, he'll have to rely solely on his game film to establish his draft standing. And by all accounts, his film will do plenty of talking for him.

5. Bosa tossed. Ohio State DE Joey Bosa's ejection for targeting in the Fiesta Bowl was met with plenty of social media criticism, but it was a textbook violation of targeting rule 9-1-3, which is called less frequently than rule 9-1-4, which deals with defenseless players receiving blows to the head. Agree? See it here. Good call or bad, it brought Bosa's career to an end, as he intends to enter the NFL draft as an underclassman.

6. Eleven Peppers, huh? Michigan two-way star Jabrill Peppers caught wind of Florida CB Jalen Tabor suggesting that the Gators defense was made up of "11 Jabrill Peppers" earlier this week. And after Michigan rolled UF 41-7 in the Citrus Bowl, he couldn't resist a response. Next year, the gifted Peppers should be one of the most heavily scouted juniors in the nation.

7. McCaffrey looks the part. Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey lit up Iowa for 368 all-purpose yards in the Rose Bowl, and NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks came away impressed, likening the Cardinal star to former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Westbrook. As a sophomore, however, McCaffrey won't be draft-eligible until 2017 or 2018.

Prospects to watch in Saturday's bowl games:

Taxslayer Bowl

*Penn State vs. Georgia (Noon ET, ESPN) *

Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia:A quick first step and a long frame make Floyd an attractive prospect as a pass-rushing linebacker in a 3-4 scheme at the next level. He had just 4.5 sacks this season as a fourth-year junior, but that's in part because he was asked to play some at inside linebacker. Floyd -- who intends to enter the 2016 NFL Draft -- lacks the mass to defend power rushing attacks.

Carl Nassib, DL, Penn State:The Nittany Lions' senior had a storybook finish to his career as a former walk-on, being named the Lombardi Award winner and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, among other awards. He made an FBS-high 15.5 sacks with 19.5 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State:The enigmatic quarterback has all the physical tools to be a pro, but the tools haven't translated into production. While a porous offensive line has been a major reason Hackenberg has struggled, he lacks accuracy, and his footwork has suffered as a result of constant pressure.

Liberty Bowl

Kansas State vs. Arkansas (3:20 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas:The Razorbacks' top tight end received a first-round draft grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, according to Arkansas News. The junior played like it in 2015, catching 46 passes for 647 yards and earning consensus All-America honors, but has yet to announce whether he will apply for early draft eligibility.

Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas:It was somewhat lost in an uninspiring 7-5 season for his team, but Allen had a tremendous season for the Razorbacks with over 3,000 yards, 29 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions. ... Allen has drawn some praise from NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah.

Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State:Whitehair had a fantastic senior year for the Wildcats, being named first-team All-Big 12. Athletic at 6-4, 305 pounds, and has strong hands in pass protection. Whitehair played tackle at KSU, but projects as a potential first-round pick at guard in the NFL.

Alamo Bowl

TCU vs. Oregon (6:45 p.m. ET, ESPN)

DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon:The Ducks' top draft prospect, a senior, has a similar build (6-7, 300) to last year's first-round defensive lineman from UO, Arik Armstead. Buckner, however, is a more consistent playmaker and has better instincts for the game. Buckner was Oregon's biggest impact player in 2015 with 16 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.

Bralon Addison, WR, Oregon:The Ducks' fourth-year junior caught 58 passes for 775 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, a strong campaign given that Oregon's offense wasn't quite as dominant as it's come to be known for. Addison has excellent deep speed, but is smallish at 5-10, 190 pounds. He has yet to announce whether he will return to UO for 2016.

Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU: Listenbee had to take over for Josh Doctson as the Horned Frogs' top receiving threat since Doctson sustained a season-ending injury on Nov. 7, but with QB Trevone Boykin out also, he hasn't been especially productive. He's a speedy downfield threat, averaging 20.6 yards per catch, but has just 29 receptions on the year (he's missed two games with an injury).

Cactus Bowl

Arizona State vs. West Virginia (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)

D.J. Foster, WR, Arizona State:Foster is one of the most versatile offensive threats in the Pac-12, playing both running back and receiver for the Sun Devils. His production dropped off significantly as a senior as his role at running back was reduced. Still, he managed 544 receiving yards and 276 on the ground.

Top prospects out with injury or suspension:

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU; Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU; Karl Joseph, DB, West Virginia

*NFL Media analysts Lance Zierlein and Chad Reuter contributed to this report. Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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