Blue mine small schools for talent

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:49 AM ET

Not only are they young, but they come from schools that sound more like law firms.

If you’re wondering where institutions like Salisbury, Catawba, Elon and Johnson C. Smith are located, you’re not alone.

They are the former universities and colleges of several Bomber signings this off-season — not exactly your powerhouse NCAA Division I football schools.

Of course it’s not guaranteed that these players are going to make the squad, but Bomber GM Joe Mack is giving more of them a chance than previous regimes did.

Mack said there’s a reason why those coming from small schools are usually younger than their counterparts.

“It’s just human nature, but the guy at Texas or Alabama or Notre Dame, they’ve been told that they are great football players their whole life,” Mack said. “They have ESPN following them around and people are offering to wash their underwear or whatever, so for them they always pictured themselves in the NFL.

“So it takes a while for the reality to sink in, where he says, ‘Hey, I might not have — or at least right now — an NFL career.’ Where the guy from Johnson C. Smith was maybe washing his own uniform or something, so the chance to play professionally is pretty attractive to him, and that’s why he may seem more responsive to signing almost right away.”

Most of the incumbent Bomber imports come from schools like Nebraska (Keyuo Craver), Oregon State (Alexis Serna, Yvenson Bernard and Dorian Smith) and Texas Tech (Glenn January).

Mack has also inked big-program players like receivers Will Franklin (Missouri) and D.J. Hall (Alabama), but he doesn’t discriminate. For example, defensive end Jarrell Chandler, signed last week, played at Division III Salisbury University.

Even though players like Chandler may come from small institutions where they ride the bus and compete against players who won’t get a sniff at the next level, Mack isn’t worried about their ability to potentially play pro ball.

“Where they went to school doesn’t really affect me,” Mack said. “Playing against good competition factors into the evaluation process when I watch the film, but if I see you making a lot of plays and you’re fast and you’re hustling and you’re aggressive, why can’t that translate into helping somebody in the CFL?”

Not all the potential Bombers from small schools are coming out of nowhere, however.

Linebacker Chad Nkang, who hails from Division II Elon University, spent the 2007 season with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.


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