Among NFL playoff quarterbacks this season are guys who played college football at Delaware, Eastern Illinois and Miami (Ohio). In other words, an NFL quarterback can come from almost anywhere.
And that's one reason that 6-7 quarterback Chris Bonner, who played at Division II Colorado State-Pueblo, is considered one of the more intriguing prospects in Saturday's Medal of Honor Bowl at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Some pro scouts see Bonner, who weighs 225 pounds, as in the same mold as the Ravens' Joe Flacco (6-6, 245) of Delaware and the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger (6-5, 241) of Miami (Ohio) - big, sturdy QBs who have thrived in the NFL despite playing at small schools.
"Bonner has got a fantastic arm and can throw the ball all over the field," said Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting. "He was a little erratic this season, but has a lot of potential. I think he could be one of the top four or five quarterbacks in this class. It's not a great class, and he's one of the more talented guys out there."
Bonner completed 56 percent of his throws for 3,291 yards and 30 touchdowns last season, with just eight interceptions.
Another big, strong-armed quarterback with a lot of upside (and a lot of question marks) is Ryan Williams of Miami. The 6-6, 222-pounder was named the Hurricanes' starter for the 2014 season before suffering a knee injury in spring practice. He ended up playing in just one game.
"Guys like Chris Bonner and Ryan Williams, there are not many of them at that size out there," Galko said. "If they can make the throws, you certainly like them better than a guy at 6-1."
Here are some other players Galko considers intriguing prospects:
Linebacker Tank Jakes of Memphis. Undersized at 5-11 and 227 pounds, Jakes was very productive at Memphis with 119 tackles, including 17 for loss, in two seasons. "I think he's done enough the last two years to show he's a guy who can rush the passer and make plays," Galko said.
Receivers Kenny Cook (6-4, 218) of Gardner-Webb and Cam Worthy (6-3, 200) of East Carolina, who on Thursday withdrew from the game after suffering a fractured foot. "Both are small-school guys who have the size to get vertical and make plays in the red zone," Galko said. Receiver R.J. Harris of New Hampshire is "arguably this class' best small-school receiver," according to Galko.
Guard Torrian Wilson (6-3, 305) of Central Florida. "He has the potential to be the highest-drafted guy there (at the Medal of Honor Bowl), or at least the safest pick," Galko said.
The offensive linemen are probably the strongest position group at the Medal of Honor Bowl. Among the guards, Shaq Mason of Georgia Tech, Matt Rotheram of Pitt and Junior Salt of Utah all ranked among the top 20 at their position by cbssports.com. Among tackles, Quinterrius Eatmon of South Florida, Brey Cook of Arkansas and Blaine Causell of Mississippi State are in the top 35. And among centers, Louisville's Jake Smith is No. 6 and Marshall's Chris Jaspere is No. 14.
Among all the Medal of Honor Bowl players, the top-ranked at his position is Florida punter Kyle Christy, ranked No. 3.
Galko said he wouldn't be surprised to see 10 to 15 Medal of Honor Bowl players picked in this year's NFL Draft. Last year, the game had three players drafted.
Note: Virginia running back Kevin Parks also withdrew from the game on Thursday after suffering a calf strain.