The 2019 Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, AL has come to an end. Arkansas State knocked off FIU, 34-26. This was my first time covering this game. It was also my first time in the historic Cramton Bowl since 2000.
There was not an abundance of NFL Draft prospects participating in the 2019 Camellia Bowl.
Let’s look at how each one performed:
2019 CAMELLIA BOWL NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS
ARKANSAS STATE RED WOLVES
#7 SR WR Omar Bayless (6’3” 207)
Bayless was a Biletnikoff Award finalist. He caught 84 passes this season for 1473 yards and 16 scores. Bayless has accepted an invite to play in the NFLPA Bowl.
Bayless has great speed with the ability to take the top off of the defense. Despite having 84 catches this year his hands are inconsistent at best. Bayless dropped two TD passes in the first half. The first on a go route where he had the corner beat by two yards. The other on a slant inside the five. Bayless also had an over-the-shoulder catch on a deep ball.
Bayless did set a Camellia Bowl record with nine receptions and 180 yards on his way to winning the game’s MVP award.
#13 SR WR Kirk Merritt (6’0” 215)
Merritt was the more talked about prospect coming into the season before Bayless exploded. He has 64 catches for 763 yards and 11 TDs this year. Merritt also averaged 29.5 yards per kick return, including a 94-yard score. He also accepted an invite to the NFLPA Bowl.
Merritt runs crisp routes but doesn’t have the explosiveness of his counterpart. He could definitely carve out a slot-type role.
#3 SR DS B.J. Edmonds (6’0” 204)
Edmonds plays strong safety for the Red Wolves. He has 87 tackles and two picks coming so far in 2019. Edmonds played high school in my hometown of Mobile, AL (St. Paul’s). He averaged 10.8 yards per punt return this season.
Edmonds has great range on the backend and finishes when called upon. He is a quicker than fast type.
Edmonds recorded ten tackles against FIU.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL PANTHERS
#12 SR QB James Morgan (6’4” 213)
Morgan is the only player in this game that I have actually watched exclusively this season. Morgan has an above-average arm but needs to be more accurate. He has accepted an invite to play in the Shrine Bowl.
Morgan has a big boy arm and he showed it off in the second half. However, his accuracy and ball placement are concerning at times. He is definitely a developmental QB at the next level.
Morgan finished with 312 yards passing, one TD, and two picks.
#3 SR LB Sage Lewis (6’1” 240)
Passively watching the FIU defense, Lewis stood out to me. This was especially true in the FIU upset win over Miami-FL. Lewis is a big-bodied, almost a throwback linebacker. He knows his role in pass coverage well. Lewis picked off three passes this year.
Lewis is stoutly built and runs well. He does have a tendency of over-pursuing and leaving his zone. This resulted in multiple occasions where the Arkansas State QB picked up big yards running up the middle.
Lewis was all over the field for the Panthers. He recorded 13 stops (10 solo), 2 TFL, forced one fumble, and recovered another.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR DFD?
I will also be covering the Lending Tree Bowl in Mobile, AL in a few weeks between the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the Miami-OH RedHawks.
Over the next few weeks, I will release all of my position rankings featuring tape grades and production scores for nearly 300 prospects. I will also soon be releasing my first Mock Draft of the year.