The 2021 college football season is over, but post-season bowls will be occurring over the next few weeks. Mountain West alums are taking part in the Tropical Bowl, the Hula Bowl, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl the East-West Shrine Game, and the Senior Bowl. This post will focus on the Hula Bowl.
These events are used primarily as camps with a game at the end. Invited players get officially measured and weighed upon checking in. Then, there are a few days of practice with NFL coaches. The practice time for players is really at the heart of these events.
This is due to the time players and coaches can spend together honing their craft collaboratively. It gives the players a chance to be looked at by coaches who know the NFL game. What better way to understand where and how to improve than to hear it from the source. Receiving this feedback can give the players an edge as they head into their training for the NFL Combine or their respective Pro-day.
Finally, this gives players a chance to stand out. If a player was overshadowed on his team by other talented individuals, wasn’t featured in his offense, or in the case of those in this article, playing in a Group of 5 conference, they have the opportunity to open the eyes of the coaches with their play and jump onto the radar before draft time. While the combine and pro-days are also good opportunities for this, the more chances of coaches seeing one play and compete, the better position they put themselves in.
This year, there are five players from the Mountain West is participating in the Hula Bowl. Below we will provide a brief description of each player and illustrate what kind of showing they need to improve their draft stock.
Hula Bowl Schedule:
January 15, 2021 (Saturday)
- 12:00 pm (Eastern time) CBS Sports Network
DB Tre Bugg III (Air Force)
Provided by NittanyFalcon
Tre Bugg has been a three-year contributor at cornerback for the Falcons. He has accumulated 129 tackles, with 93 of those tackles solo. He’s had 5 interceptions and 19 PBUs in his career. He excels at open-field tackling, as demonstrated by the number of solo tackles. In coverage, he has been inconsistent. The year off from football last year when he accepted a turnback, resulted in a shaky start to the season. Later in the year, he seemed to find his footing and returned to form. Right now, the website draftscout.com has him as the 81st ranked cornerback in the draft. In the Hula Bowl, he will need to show scouts his ability to stick closely with big, fast receivers with NFL-level talent. During his break from the Academy, he focused on his strength and added weight, but is slightly undersized. Demonstrating the kind of tackling he has done this season with the Falcons in the Hula Bowl would allay some of the worries about his size.
DE Arron Mosby (Fresno State)
Provided by Matt R
Mosby is easily the most versatile defensive player that Fresno State has seen in a long time. He began his career at safety, including a memorable pick-six against San Jose State in 2018. In 2019, he moved down to linebacker, becoming a force in the middle of the defense. For his final year in 2021, he made one more move, this time to defensive end. He showed how well the transition would go by forcing a strip sack in the first game against UCONN that he would return for the team’s first touchdown of the year. He compiled 40 tackles on the season to go with 6 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. Mosby projects a lot like Mykal Walker, where he can rush off the edge, or drop back into coverage as a strong LB.
OL Kohl Levao (Hawaii)
Provided by Jeremy
It’s not every day one sees a 6’6”, 350 lbs behemoth playing the center position on the offensive line, but that’s precisely where Levao featured for Hawaii. Levao started all of the 2018 season, but missed most of the 2019 season with injury, and all of the 2020 season. The injury tag will be brought up among scouts, but thankfully Levao dominated for the Warriors in 2021. Levao is an NFL talent, no question about it, it’s just a matter of remaining healthy. I think scouts know he’s a stud and will show that in this game, hopefully physical evals are kind to him this spring.
DB Tayler Hawkins (SDSU)
Provided by Tyler
Another defensive machine for the Aztecs in 2021 was defensive back Tayler Hawkins. Hawkins had 2 interceptions on the year, which added to the team’s total interceptions of 17 which led the Mountain West. SDSU’s defense was outstanding all year, especially against the run. Hawkins also finished with 47 solo tackles, 5 of them coming in the Tropical SMoothie cafe Frisco bowl game. Hawkins’ biggest moment in 2021 was intercepting Utah for a 34-yard return in the big win that contributed to a 7 game win streak to start the season. With such a strong defensive year for the Aztecs, there’s no doubt Hawkins and fellow teammate Cam Thomas got enough votes for the 2022 Senior Bowl. Hawkins will look to fly around the field in the bowl game getting as many open field tackles as possible to show off for the scouts. An interception would help as well, but not allowing big plays and neutralizing his matchup will be key in raising his draft stock.
RB Charles Williams (UNLV)
Provided by Alex
Charles Williams made the right choice to come back to UNLV to use his extra year of eligibility. Williams became the school’s all-time leading rusher after having a bounce-back year, following a difficult, shortened 2020 season. Throughout his time, Williams has shown he has dynamic speed to hit the gaps and go to the second level. He has also shown he has the strength to battle through contact to gain extra yards. If there is one thing that Williams needs to show during the Senior Bowl is consistency. There were times in 2021 where he would have drastic ups and downs between games, and a lot of that had to do with UNLV’s performance. But, Williams will need to be able to show he can consistently perform at the next level. Williams might not be drafted in the first few rounds, but he could find himself on an NFL practice squad and work his way onto the 53-man roster like his former teammate Javin White.
We found out after the fact that Kevin Atkins participated in the Grid Iron Showcase. We wanted to give him proper recognition.
DT Kevin Atkins (Fresno State)
Provided by Matt R
If there’s one player that’s been as integral to Fresno State’s success as Ronnie Rivers over the last 5 years, it’s Kevin Atkins. Both were a part of the same recruiting class, and have been contributing ever since their freshman year. The aspiring educator has been a dominating force in the middle of the line, and his personality will certainly be missed at Bulldog Stadium. While his 41 tackles don’t jump off the page, he had 13TFLs as a senior, along with 7 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries. He will now participate in the College Gridiron Showcase All-Star game. Atkins has a good chance as a late round selection or an UDFA pick-up in the NFL. If not, the world always needs more teachers.
Note: The weaknesses or questions describing each player below aren’t necessarily the views of the contributors or site, but rather what could be questions or concerns NFL scouts or talent-elevators or the media have about them, which are still worth discussing as they can have ramifications.