MYRTLE BEACH — The concept of the FCS Senior Scout Bowl is to give college football players from around the country one more opportunity to showcase themselves on the field – be it for the sake of adding another highlight or memory before putting the helmet and shoulder pads away or for that glimmer of hope that a professional scout just might take notice.
For the two Coastal Carolina seniors representing the Chanticleers in the game, it’s for a bit of both reasons.
Linebacker Andrae Jacobs and receiver Akeem Wesley are among the more than 90 FCS-level players hoping to make a mark on the field Saturday as teams representing the North and South clash inside Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium at 5 p.m. There’s also an earlier game between all-stars from the NCAA Division II and NAIA ranks that kicks off at 1 p.m.
“I get to play against some of the best of the best at the FCS level. I just want to come out and have some fun with the guys and win the football game,” Jacobs said. “This is probably some of my last times playing football. It could be all of our last times playing football, you never know. So we get to extend our football playing career one more game and just have fun doing it.”
Both Jacobs and Wesley also expressed hope of getting a chance with a team in some professional league or another, though, and so both find themselves now with an opportunity to make a statement of sorts after senior seasons that didn’t go as either had planned.
Jacobs, the 2010 Big South Defensive Player of the Year, was relegated mostly to second-team and special teams duties this fall by Coastal’s new coaching staff. He finished with 34 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss after racking up 22 tackles for loss over the previous two seasons.
Wesley, meanwhile, broke his wrist during spring practice and still has three pins implanted that he is supposed to have removed next week. The injury thwarted his plans for a big senior season as he was moved to defense in August and then later back to offense while totaling eight catches after ranking second on the Chants as a junior with 19 grabs for 223 yards.
“Very frustrating, going from defense then back to offense and not playing that much,” Wesley said. “Very frustrating because … you want to showcase and show your talent your last year and catch scouts’ eyes. Everybody dreams to play at the next level – CFL, NFL.”
George St. Lawrence, the organizer of the event, said he’s been in contact with 17 NFL teams, four Canadian Football League teams and a scout from Europe who have all either observed practice this week or have expressed interest in coming to the game Saturday.
“It’s a great experience,” Wesley said. “I’m blessed to be able to come out here and play with these boys from all over, just showcase my talent and try to do what I didn’t do during the season.”
This is the second year the game is being played in Myrtle Beach, and the first year for the Division II-NAIA game here.
Aside from the Coastal guys, St. Lawrence identified several other intriguing players to keep an eye on during the games. Harvard quarterback Colton Chapple passed for 2,567 yards and 24 touchdowns this season, Morehead State receiver Donte Sawyer caught 81 passes for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns this fall, and there are also a handful of other Big South Conference players from Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian that Coastal faced this season.
As for the Division II-NAIA game, St. Lawrence noted New Mexico Highlands linebacker Jordan Campbell (who started his career at Southern Cal) and quarterbacks Dan Dobson (actually a Division III player from St. Olaf College in Minnesota) and Bethel’s Will Masoud.
“When you look at the talent that has come, it’s reassuring and refreshing to know that these kids believe in what we’re doing as an organization to try to get them some exposure – that the NFL scouts are watching and looking for that hidden gem,” St. Lawrence said. “But most importantly, they get a chance to play with the best of their peers one more time in their college helmet.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318, or follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/RyanYoungTSN.