Local players look to stand out at postseason showcases

East-West Shrine Game, NFLPA Collegiate Bowl offer seniors a chance to impress pro scouts

NC State offensive lineman Tony Adams (50) clears a path for Team East running back D'Ernest Johnson from South Florida during the 2018 East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Fla. (Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports)

Bradley Chubb has been the center of attention on the NC State defense for the past three seasons and for good reason. The senior end, who set a school record with 26 career sacks, won the Bronko Nagurski Award as the best defensive player in college football and is expected to be one of the first players selected in this year’s NFL draft.

Lost in Chubb’s considerable shadow is the fact that teammate Kentavius Street was actually a higher-rated recruit when the two became part of coach Dave Doeren’s first full recruiting class in 2014.

Street put together a solid career playing on the opposite side of the line from Chubb. But it took until last week at the East-West Shrine Game in Tampa, Fla., for him to get a chance to shine on his own and remind people — especially the NFL scouts in attendance — how talented he is. The 6-foot-2, 282-pound Greenville native recorded 1.5 sacks in the 93rd annual all-star game played Saturday at Tropicana Field. He started for the East team, which lost 14-10 to the West.

As good as he was in the game, Street was even better during the week of practice leading up to it. He earned rave reviews from observers such as NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who wrote that “Street had a great week of practice and the best get-off of any lineman in the game.

“The stats won’t bear it out, but he was very disruptive on Saturday. He did a lot of his damage coming off the edge, which adds to his value, but I think he’ll end up rushing from the inside once he gets to the next level. He’s a strong guy, but his game is more about his quickness. He was a little bit overshadowed playing on the same D-line with the more highly touted Bradley Chubb, but Street made the most of his opportunity in the spotlight at the Shrine Game.”

Street was one of two Wolfpack alumni playing for the East in Tampa. Offensive guard Tony Adams opened some eyes while being described by Eric Galko of OptimumScouting.com as a “plug-and-play NFL lineman.”

“Adams’ ability to win quickly in the short area bodes well for his fit in likely a zone-blocking scheme in the NFL,” Galko wrote. “Playing with toughness as well as composure speaks to his tenacity as a blocker.”

Galko was also impressed with Wake Forest tight end Cam Serigne, who played for the East but didn’t catch a pass in the game.

“Serigne shows a good feel for space and how to get open,” Galko wrote. “He’s a smooth, agile player who can weave in and out of zone coverages, as well as make some acrobatic catches in traffic.”

In addition to the East-West Shrine Game, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl was also played Saturday, with several players from state schools looking to play their way onto the radar of the pro scouts.

The seventh annual game, played at the Rose Bowl, has become a showcase for lower-profile college stars looking to display their skills. A year ago, the Collegiate Bowl became the springboard that helped NC A&T’s Tarik Cohen become a rookie sensation with the Chicago Bears.

Among those looking to follow in Cohen’s footsteps is another FCS running back, Western Carolina’s Detrez Newsome. Playing for the National squad, Newsome gained 20 yards on seven carries behind an offensive line that included Appalachian State guard Beau Nunn. Newsome also caught two passes and returned a kickoff in his team’s 23-0 victory.

North Carolina wide receiver Austin Proehl contributed to the win with an 18-yard reception that helped set up a field goal while showing his value as a special teams player by recovering a fumble on punt coverage.

Defensively for the National team, Appalachian State safety A.J. Howard stood out by making four tackles and breaking up a pass. East Carolina wide receiver Davon Grayson and NC State defensive back Mike Stevens both saw action for the American team, though neither compiled any statistics.

The postseason college all-star game season continues this Saturday with the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. The roster for that game includes UNC cornerback M.J. Stewart, the NC State trio of all-purpose back Jaylen Samuels and defensive linemen B.J. Hill and Justin Jones, Appalachian State offensive guard Colby Gossett and NC A&T offensive tackle Brandon Parker. Fayetteville native Harold Landry, a defensive end from Boston College, and former ECU quarterback Kurt Benkert are also among those playing.

Chubb, meanwhile, is not scheduled to participate in any all-star game, choosing instead to wait for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis next month to perform for the scouts.