Senior Bowl QBs hoping to follow footsteps of Dak Prescott

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) The Senior Bowl quarterbacks would gladly become this year's version of Dak Prescott, except perhaps with a shorter wait in the NFL draft.

Prescott impressed at last year's Senior Bowl , earning Most Outstanding Player honors. He still languished until the fourth round of the draft before moving into a starring role for the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie.

Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs, another experienced and prolific Southeastern Conference passer, is hoping to perform well during his own turn in Saturday's showcase game for senior NFL prospects.

''It just shows if you can be successful at the college level, then you can be successful at the NFL level,'' Dobbs said. ''As long as you put in the work and you have the determination and drive that it takes. He's a classic example of that.''

Clemson's Deshaun Watson opted out of playing in the game, leaving the Senior Bowl without a likely first-round quarterback pick.

It also opened the door for less high-profile passers to shine. The South is led by Dobbs, California's Davis Webb and Antonio Pipkin of Division II Tiffin. The North quarterbacks are Colorado's Sefo Liufau, Pittsburgh's Nate Peterman and Iowa's C.J. Beathard.

They had to take a crash course in learning the basics of a pro-style offense, including getting used to taking snaps under center under the watchful eye of the coaching staffs of the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears.

''We have total freedom basically at the line of scrimmage,'' Webb said. ''We can check plays, make opposite calls to flip the play or check pass plays. They gave us a lot of freedom. That's something that I'm sure they're expecting us to learn, because they expect a lot out of the quarterbacks and the offense especially.

''(Cleveland coach Hue) Jackson leads the offensive meetings. He takes it very personally. He wants to be great on offense especially for the Browns but this Saturday, he wants us to put some points on the board.''

Here are some things to know about the Senior Bowl and the week leading up to it:

TIGHT ENDS: Led by Alabama's O.J. Howard, it's an impressive group, including three former SEC Western Division standouts. Howard is projected as a first-round pick and likely the top prospect among Senior Bowl performers at this point. Pro Football Focus said of his week that he ''looked smooth and was arguably the best athlete on the field.''

''I think we have three guys that are very explosive in the passing game,'' Howard said of the South team. ''We are all trying to improve in the run game and we all have done that. I can honestly say that I see all of us improving.''

Arkansas' Jeremy Sprinkle (North) and Mississippi's Evan Engram (South) are also in the game. Gerald Everett of Mobile's South Alabama is also a potential early-round pick.

RISING STOCK: Eastern Washington receiver Cooper Kupp , who led the FCS in receiving as a senior, drew strong reviews from practices. Temple linebacker Haason Reddick, moving from defensive end to inside linebacker, also was among the players widely praised by NFL analysts.

INJURIES: There were a few roster changes during the week because of injuries. Perhaps the two most notable from an NFL standpoint: LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White will miss the game with an ankle injury and Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp (high ankle sprain) also could have to sit it out.

RUNNERS: The backfields feature San Diego State's 5-foot-8, 169-pound Donnel Pumphrey , recognized by the NCAA as the all-time leading rusher in FBS. Toledo's Kareem Hunt of the North was also prolific, running for 4,945 yards in his career. Hunt has 684 rushes and 58 catches since the lone fumble of his college career - on Nov. 12, 2013.

''I've always been told that my schedule wasn't tough enough and things like that,'' he said. ''I just want to show that I can play with anybody. I feel like I'm a great football player and I feel like it doesn't really matter who's on the other side of the ball. I can compete with almost anybody in the country.''

GAME RULES: The only kickoffs in the Senior Bowl will be opening each half. Point after attempts will be from 33 yards and after every second-quarter touchdown teams will be required to go for two points.

---

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.