For NFL teams in search of a playmaking prospect on the defensive side of the ball, there’s no better place to be on Sunday morning than the Tropical Bowl in Daytona Beach, FL.
Scouts can look forward to evaluating multiple all-conference and All-America defenders, as well as some league players of the year.
These eight guys are a great place to start:
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Donnie Miles, Safety, North Carolina
Miles started 39 games at safety for North Carolina, piling up 320 tackles along the way, but the 5-11, 200-pound Florida native’s senior season was cut short by a broken forearm suffered in a loss to Notre Dame on Oct. 7.
He finished 2017 with 37 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble through six games. In 2015, Miles led the Tar Heels with 128 tackles.
Anthony Ellis, Defensive End, Charleston Southern
For the third year in a row, Ellis led the Big South in tackles for loss on the way to being named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. He also tied for the most forced fumbles and finished second in sacks with nine, helping Charleston Southern set a Big South team record with a total of 34.
Ellis was named a second-team All-American by both the Associated Press and STATS.
George Odum, Safety, Central Arkansas
George Odum was nothing short of spectacular in 2017 while starring on an outstanding Central Arkansas defense. The Millington, Tennessee native led UCA in tackles (120) for the second consecutive year and ends his career ranked fourth in program history with 350 tackles.
Odum was named the South Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was a consensus first-team All-American.
Trumaine Washington, Cornerback, Louisville
A key contributor in the Cardinals’ backfield for much of the past four seasons, Washington was selected as an All-ACC cornerback by the league’s coaches in 2015. He led the team in interceptions this season with four — pushing his career total to 10.
Washington earned All-ACC honorable mention recognition this season after posting 43 tackles and a team-best 10 pass breakups.
Malik Slater, Linebacker, Valdosta State
After transferring from Jacksonville University, Slater started every game for Valdosta State in 2016 and played well enough to find his way onto the preseason All-GSC team prior to this season.
All he did for an encore was register 83 tackles and six tackles for a loss, earning him first-team All-GSC honors and prompting the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association to select him to the first team All-Super Region Two defense.
Kailik Williams, Cornerback, The Citadel
For the second consecutive season, Kailik Williams earned a spot on the first-team All-SoCon defense and is widely recognized as having been the premier defensive back in the league over that span.
Williams was the SoCon’s Defensive Player of the Year for 2016 after notching 103 tackles, 10 for a loss, five pass breakups and an interception. He finishes his career as one of the all-time great defenders in The Citadel’s program history.
Jaylyin Minor, Linebacker, Cincinnati
A second-team All-AAC selection for 2017, the 6-1, 233-pound Minor was excellent in his first year as a starter for the Bearcats. The Navasota, Texas native recorded double-digit tackles seven different times — including 16 stops versus Temple on Nov. 10.
Proud to announce that I will have opportunity to play in the All American Tropical Bowl, to showcase my talents, and rep That C-paw one last time! pic.twitter.com/gQsccP2MTF— Jaylyin Minor (@jaylyin_minor) January 3, 2018
All told, Minor piled up 125 tackles this season — easily enough to lead the Cincinnati defense.
Junior Joseph, Linebacker, UConn
For the second time in three seasons, Joseph was named All-American Athletic Conference honorable mention after starring at linebacker for the Huskies.
The 6-1, 232-pound Wilson Westlawn (PA) product started 40 of the 48 games he played for UConn and led the team with 91 tackles in 2017, giving him 306 for his career. Joseph was named the team’s most valuable player at its awards banquet last month.