The Thursday practices of the Shrine Game were...uneventful. The teams wore shorts and caps, meaning the primary takeaways of the week are now officially over. And oh, there are takes! The good news: there are no shortage of options for the "best prospect" I saw this week.
Kansas DL Daniel Wise, Georgia WR Terry Godwin, Fresno State WR KeeSean Johnson, Troy CB Blace Brown...the list goes on. But for me and my money? The best Shrine prospect I saw this week was the same one I felt was the top prospect before the week started: Nebraska RB Devine Ozigbo.
Ozigbo checked in this week at 219 pounds, down from his listed weight of 230pounds (and playing weight this season of 222, according to someone I spoke with at the event). He looked lean, too...but incredibly well built. Ozigbo carries his weight extremely well and showcases a thick lower half, which allows him to generate power in the pile and at first contact.
But that isn't what makes Ozigbo such an impressive talent. Instead, consider this: his short area agility and contact balance is as good as any back you'll find in this class. At 219 pounds.
Ozigbo's week started pretty modest. Tuesday and Wednesday? Much, much better. Ozigbo's burst, cuts and receiving chops were all on display. Ozigbo flashed as a pass catcher on numerous occasions, including in the screen game. But a great looking wheel route up the right sideline caught the most attention: Devine showed good acceleration flipping his route up the field to create separation vs. a linebacker.
So where does Devine go from here? I conducted a full film assessment of Ozigbo based on his 2018 tape and graded him as a 3rd round running back. I saw little to change my mind throughout the course of the week and if anything he may help himself further if he tests well at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in March.
What are my expectations for testing? I would guess Ozigbo runs mid-4.5's while sitting right around the 220 pound mark. Yet Ozigbo's true opportunity to boost his stock lies with the interviews. Ozigbo left Nebraska with rave reviews while simultaneously re-shaping his body prior to the 2018 college football season.
Teams will be eager to sit down with Devine and talk about that shift under Coach Frost and what facilitated his changes last off-season.
For us at The Draft Network? The damage has already been done. One of our team's primary goals this week was a looming one: update our top-500 prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft with a brand new "consensus" Draft Board. It didn't take us long to bring Ozigbo's name into the conversation and as things stand he's our consensus RB8. And while I believe I'll have him higher on my personal board, Ozigbo will be a top-100 player in our new board update.
With Big Red having little to root for after several down seasons, Ozigbo isn't just a Cornhusker jumping to the next level this summer. He's potentially a symbolic of the program: underachiever turned powerhouse...resurgent with a fresh lease on football life under new leadership.
I'm happy to hitch my wagon on the train...the Shrine Game was just the first stop along the way. Feel free to join in, it's going to be a fun ride.