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Antonio Gibson and other former Tigers make the most of pre-draft showcases

When it comes to making it in the National Football League, only 1.6 percent of college football players make it to the pros according to the NCAA. But for a player to not only get drafted but to do so within the first 100 picks is nearly impossible.

Though those odds may seem unbeatable, some players do get an added edge, not just because of what they do during their college careers, but in pre-draft workouts as well.

Following the College Football National Championship, the NFL and NCAA hosted their annual pre-draft showcases such as the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.

In recent years, the Memphis Tigers have had a few players participate in these events such as Tony Pollard, Anthony Miller and Jake Elliott. Those three players have all went on to get drafted and have had some success through their first few years in the league.

This year, eight seniors have elected to take place in these games such as Dustin Woodard, Keith Bingham, Traveon Samuel, Chris Claybrooks, Austin Hall, Bryce Huff and Antonio Gibson.

Gibson made the biggest splash of them all as the only Tiger in the Senior Bowl as he rushed for 68 yards on 11 carries. Though Gibson spent a majority of his Tigers’ career as a wide receiver, he has a better chance of getting drafted as a running back which resulted in his position change.

His South team may have lost 34-17, but he made quite a few noteworthy plays, especially one that was destined to be blown up in the backfield into a two-yard gain.

Bryce Huff and Patrick Taylor Jr. were invited to participate in the East-West Shrine game, but due to an injury that Taylor suffered, only Huff was able to play

Huff had created a reputation at Memphis for being a talented sack artist and continued that trend in front of scouts.

In the game, the edge rusher had two tackles, and a sack. He accounted for half of his West team’s sacks and would get the chance to speak with representatives from the New York Giants.

Woodard participated in the Collegiate Bowl and played for the American team. He was apart of an offensive line that helped to gain 101 rushing yards for the game.

The next time that these former Tigers will have a chance to show off their skills is during the NFL Scouting Combine, where players participate in a series of drills that test their spend, vision, strength and athleticism. This will also be an opportunity for Tigers players to have scouts work them out individually and have the chance to conduct more interviews.

However, not every player will get a chance to perform in Indianapolis. This will push back some players' opportunity until Memphis’ Pro Day.

For the players who have not yet scratched the surface, it is not the end of the world. More opportunities will be coming their way, it is just a matter of staying patient and continuing to train if they wish to play for the NFL.

Antonio Gibson runs into the end zone after a reception against Southern on Sept. 7, 2019. 

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