The Reese's Senior Bowl is chalk-full o' prospects but there's always a certain group of attendees that catches my eye.
Dudes from Texas schools, especially those that played high school ball in, and around, Houston.
Whether players grew up here or attended a local university, I'm always rooting for them a little bit more given our Houston connection. As such, here are a few guys with Houston/local university ties to watch this week in Mobile.
DB Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State - Ball HS in Galveston, TX
Zyon started for four years and won a national championship ring alongside his twin brother Tristin in 2021. There's little doubt that the twins left a significant legacy in Huntsville. Zyon is going to be one of the most intriguing players down in Mobile. He has size, speed, length and is one of the best young men I've encountered in this game.
DB Leon O'Neal, Texas A&M - Cy Springs HS in Cypress, TX
Oh, no one is going to NOT know O'Neal is in Mobile. The boisterous leader of the A&M defense has been calling his shot for years and backing it up. He improved each and every season while at A&M and has a great shot to rep Houston well in Mobile.
QB Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky, formerly of HBU and graduate of Victoria East HS in Victoria, TX
For all of the quarterback talk this fall and what guys DIDN'T do to impress, Zappe quietly strung together one of the greatest seasons, if not THE great season, in college football history. I called a couple of his games while he was at HBU and even though I didn't see him setting the FBS record for touchdown passes in a season breaking Joe Burrow's mark, I did think he had plenty of potential. His trip to Mobile will be the final showing of that potential for the full NFL world to see.
LB Terrel Bernard, Baylor - LaPorte HS in LaPorte, TX & S Jalen Pitre, Baylor - Stafford HS in Stafford, TX
The Baylor defense was as fun to watch as any defense in America in 2021 and these two were front and center for Dave Aranda's defensive unit all season long. Bernard led the Bears in tackles with 103 while Pitre was third on the team with 75 from his safety position. Each guy has so much to offer at his individual position and will prove exactly that at the Senior Bowl.
DL Logan Hall, University of Houston - Beloton HS in Belton, TX
I stood next to Hall at the Good Sam Texas Kickoff back in September and I was floored by his size (6-6, 275 lb.), length (arm length for DAYS) and build. His play matched his physical gifts in his senior year campaign for the Cougars. He did have elbow surgery back in December so it's not completely clear whether he'll be 100% full ready to go but, man, I hope he has a chance to shop his wares in front of the NFL types.
DB Marcus Jones, University of Houston
Jones will certainly represent the University of Houston well, but he's going back home, so to speak, to show off for his hometown of Enterprise, Alabama. If Jones were 6-0 or even 5-11, we'd all be talking about his opportunity to be a top 20 pick, at worst. But, his lack of size is the ONLY trait that Jones lacks and he'll have a shot to shine this week.