Prospect Preview: AutoZone Liberty Bowl

AJ Klein could be an option for the Bills on Day 2 (Photo: US Presswire)

BBD Writer Eric Samulski

These teams already squared off once this season with Tulsa overcoming an early deficit to beat the Cyclones 38-23. They had success despite Iowa State keeping them close to 100 yards under their season rushing average of 240 yards per game. Each of their three backs (Singleton, Watts, and Douglas) have rushed for over 750 yards on the season, and it will be tough for Iowa State to control them as successfully with Knott scheduled to miss this game due to injury. I think familiarity and a switch at quarterback will allow the Cyclones to keep it close, but they won’t be strong enough to stop the Tulsa rushing attack.

Iowa State
A.J. Klein ILB 6’1” 245 #47 Senior

Klein has been under the radar as a linebacking prospect, but he’s been a consistent force throughout his time at Iowa State. He was the team’s leading tackler this year and has 342 career tackles. He’s also proven to be adept in coverage, taking four interceptions to the house, which ties an NCAA record for linebackers. At 6’1” 245 he’s a thickly built player that is probably better suited for a 3-4 position where he can use some thump, but there’s no doubt that the kid can play.

Jake Knott OLB 6’3” 245 #20 Senior

Knott is a player that more fits what he Bills are looking for. He’s a large linebacker, which Nix loves, but he also is athletic in coverage, notching eight interceptions in his career. He reads and reacts to routes well, has tremendous instincts, flows to the ball with ease, and is a solid tackler who has a history of jarring the ball loose (10 forced fumbles in his career). He missed the last four games of the season, and will miss this bowl game, due to a torn shoulder but was still a first team All-Big 12 selection. He’s not a big name, but he can be a three down linebacker in the NFL.

Jake McDonough DT 6’5” 280 #94 Senior
Jeff Woody FB 6’1” 240 #32 Junior
Jeremiah George ILB 5’11” 225 #52 Junior
Kyle Lichtenberg OG 6’6” 300 #69 Junior

Tulsa
Dexter McCoil FS 6’4” 225 #26 Senior

McCoil is an intriguing prospect because of his size and athleticism. He’s a big hitter and possesses a lot of range, but struggles to change direction quickly, which is typical of secondary players with his body type. He can close out against bigger receivers, but often can get beat over the top by the quicker receivers. Because of his size and the ability to come up and make a bit hit, it’s possible that McCoil might have more of an impact as a 4-3 OLB at the next level. With his size he could be an asset against the athletic tight ends.

Cory Dorris DE 6’3” 270 #93 Senior

Dorris followed up a solid junior season with a strong senior campaign, notching 49 tackles, ten for a loss, and six sakcs. He continues to show the ability to make plays in the backfield and uses his hands well to disengage from blockers. He’s a max-effort player, so he can easily be fooled by play action or misdirection plays, but the skill set is there to be a rotational lineman in the NFL.

Willie Carter FB 6’2” 230 #34 Senior
DeAundre Brown OLB 5’11” 220 #2 Senior
Brian DeShane OG 6’3” 305 #73 Senior
Alex Singleton RB/FB 6’1” 260 #8 Senior
Shawn Jackson OLB 6’0” 250 #55 Junior
Marco Nelson FS 6’0” 190 #20 Junior
Ja’Terian Douglas RB 5’11” 190 #25 Junior
Trey Watts RB 5’11” 190 #22 Junior

Prediction: Tulsa 31, Iowa State 20

Tags: AJ Klein, Cory Dorris, Dexter McCoil, Iowa State, Jake Knott, Tulsa

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