The rosters for the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game are filled with small-school guys looking for a chance, big-school guys looking for a second chance and former top recruits looking to recapture glory.
Basically, these guys have some large chips on their shoulder.
Last year’s inaugural game produced six draft picks and 61 players who were invited to NFL camps. This year’s group looks better. What will be nice, if the game sticks around Tucson for a while, is that it will start developing a database of success stories.
West Virginia offensive lineman Don Barclay played here last season and is now starting for the Green Bay Packers at right tackle as an undrafted free agent. Arizona safety Robert Golden, another undrafted free agent, stuck with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a rookie.
The game will be held tonight at Kino Stadium at 7 p.m. (ESPN3.com, 1490-AM). In addition to the Arizona guys, here are 10 other players to watch:
WR Darryl Stonum, Michigan/Baylor – Spent the first three years of his career playing for Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, catching 76 passes for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns. A series of off-field problems led to a 2011 redshirt under coach Brady Hoke, who eventually dismissed Stonum after the season. Stonum, a graduate, played sparingly at Baylor this season. “I did a lot of good things at Michigan, but it’s not what have you done for me lately, it’s a what-are-you-doing-for-me type of game,” Stonum said. “I made a lot of great plays at Michigan, but that was 2010, 2011. This is 2013. I have to show I can still make plays.”
DT Jamarkus McFarland, Oklahoma – Word was that McFarland might have been the most impressive player on the field during practice this week. He started 22 career games for the Sooners, making 29 tackles, including six for loss this season. The Sooners regularly produce NFL defensive linemen. McFarland, a former Parade High School All-American, could follow in those footsteps.
QB Jeff Tuel, Washington State – It was easy to project a big senior season for Tuel in new coach Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense, but it never happened. Tuel shuttled in and out of the lineup with Connor Halliday, and the Cougs struggled to a 3-9 mark. Tuel had his moments, including 403 yards passing on 59 attempts vs. Stanford. He has good mobility and size (6-3, 221), and will move on next week to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
RB Isi Sofele, Cal – Another player Pac-12 fans will recognize, Sofele rushed for 1,322 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior before being in more of a time-share in 2012. He rushed for 2,499 career yards with the Bears.
CB Troy Stoudermire, Minnesota – He holds the NCAA record for career kick return yards, finishing with 3,615 on 144 attempts. He led the Gophers with 82 tackles this season.
WRs Frankie Hammond and Omarius Hines, Florida – This pair didn’t put up big numbers this season, but the Gators, working through quarterback issues and letting their defense to the heavy lifting, weren’t exactly a passing juggernaut. Hammond (22 catches for 295 yards) and Hines (23 for 242) look good in uniforms.
RB Onterio McCalebb, Auburn – You can read more about McCalebb from my Thursday story, but he has to be the fastest player in this game.
QB Dayne Crist, Notre Dame/Kansas – He was once a big-time recruit and the future at quarterback at Notre Dame, starting nine games in 2010 before suffering a ruptured patella tendon. He transferred after last season as a graduate student to be with his old coach, Charlie Weis, at Kansas, but very little went right for Crist or the Jayhawks this season.
WR Drew Terrell, Stanford – Terrell was the leading wideout on a Stanford team, making 33 catches for 463 yards and four touchdowns in an offense that leaned on its tight ends in the passing game. Terrell, also a standout punt returner, is listed as a late-round possibility by NFLDraftScout.com.
OLB Terence Garvin, West Virginia – He made 77 tackles this season, including 11.5 for loss and six sacks. He had a brilliant bowl game against Syracuse that included three tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He also delivered this hit on quarterback Ryan Nassib: