The postseason leadup to the NFL Draft can be a dizzying up-and-down journey for FCS players, but the prospects who impress at college all-star games make their evaluations clearer.
In the last month, various FCS players gained rising NFL stock among scouts at the Reese’s Senior, East-West Shrine, Hula and Tropical bowls. Hundreds of NFL personnel attended the practices and games to evaluate prospects, many of whom will be selected in the 2024 draft, to be held from April 25-27 in Detroit.
Following are some of the rising FCS players following the biggest postseason all-star games:
Dylan Laube, New Hampshire, RB, 5-9½, 210
The FCS leader in all-purpose yards per game each of the past two seasons – the swish-army knife also ranked fourth as a sophomore in 2021 – Laube shined at Senior Bowl practices, displaying speed, separation and strength as well as an innate skill to catch the ball in tight coverage. The versatility is not surprising after he was chosen twice as a first-team all-purpose selection on the Stats Perform FCS All-America Team.
South Dakota State Contingent
The NFL-ready players of the two-time reigning FCS national champion could be separated on this list, but it might make it go on and on. Hybrid linebacker Isaiah Stalbird (5-11½, 207) got the impressive performances started only six days after the Jackrabbits’ 2023 title win over Montana with five tackles and a fumble recovery at the Hula Bowl, and Isaiah Davis (6-0, 200) capped them with between-the-tackle toughness and a 20-yard run that was the second-longest at the Senior Bowl.
The Jackrabbits led all schools with five players at the Shrine Bowl. Offensive guard Mason McCormick (6-4, 310) was named to West team’s all-practice squad and formed a stud left side of the line with tackle Garret Greenfield (6-5½, 332). Twin wide receivers Jadon (6-1½, 205) and Jaxon (6-2, 206) Janke and tight end Zach Heins (6-6, 264) all had at least one reception, highlighted by Jadon Janke with a 52-yard catch.
Khristian Boyd, Northern Iowa, DT, 6-2, 320
After excelling at the Hula Bowl, Boyd earned a call up to the East-West Shrine Game, where, similar to McCormick, he was an all-practice selection for the East team. He’s a bull rusher with a high motor, often dazzling in practice reps with a push-pull-swim move. He finished with three tackles in each of his two all-star games while gaining rising NFL stock.
Jalen Coker, Holy Cross, WR, 6-1, 218
The 2023 FCS leader in touchdown receptions (15) went from being a Hula Bowl standout (like Boyd, his Team Aina teammate) to earning a spot at the Shrine Game. His ability to high-point catches underscored how he plays above his size, and he had arguably the best touchdown reception on the all-star game circuit. An injury during Shrine week practice kept him out of the game, but he had already gained rising NFL stock.
Levi Drake Rodriguez, Texas A&M-Commerce, DT (6-2½, 290)
Drake Rodriguez epitomizes what an all-star game opportunity affords a small school prospect – especially from a smaller school in the Division I subdivision. He is not expected to be drafted, but will be in an NFL camp nevertheless. Small school draft evaluator Josh Buchanan said the burly prospect was flying under the radar during an “FCS Delivered” podcast in December. At the Tropical Bowl, Drake Rodriguez was a one-man wrecking crew with four tackles for 19 yards in losses, including three sacks.
Rising NFL Stock: Other Notable All-Star Game Performances
We’ve tracked FCS players at the all-star games, with the upcoming HBCU Legacy Bowl ending the schedule.
A Southeast Missouri pair were noticeable FCS players with rising NFL stock, with safety Lawrence Johnson (5-11, 196) posting six tackles (five solos) at the Hula Bowl and wide receiver Ryan Flournoy (6-1, 200) getting upgraded from the Hula to the Shrine, then the Senior Bowl.
Wide receiver Ayir Asante (6-0, 178), Coker’s former teammate at Holy Cross who spent a grad transfer season at Wyoming, had three receptions for 86 yards and 45 kickoff return yards at the Tropical Bowl.
Tight ends Cam Grandy (6-4, 255) of Illinois State and Mason Pline (6-6, 254) of Furman earned call-ups to the Shrine Bowl following strong weeks at the Hula Bowl. Pline suffered a leg injury on a reception in the Shrine Bowl.
(Wrapping up the 2023 Season and South Dakota State Dominance on “FCS Delivered”)