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Incredi-Hull Thoughts: Real Winners and Losers of Bowl Season
By Jonathan Hull
The bowl season is over and yours truly finished $180 richer for winning a local pick'em pool. And also claimed the best record (24-10) of any of the other prognosticators on this site.

Life is good for me, but the cash prize I received for my insight is completely insignificant to the amount of money some players gained and lost with their performances this bowl season.

For many players, a bowl game on national television is the best chance to really get their name out there and increase their draft stock considerably. Some athletes garner NFL combine and Senior Bowl invites solely based on their performance in bowl games.

Here's a look at which players increased their stock considerably and others who damaged their projection. Not all players listed have declared for the 2009 NFL Draft as of the release of this list. However, only players who potentially might throw their hat into the ring, or have already, will be on this list. You won't see freshmen and two-year sophomores make it.

There's also a All-Bowl Team at the end of this column and all players, regardless of classification, were included. Obviously, when you're picking just two teams of players, there are worthy athletes left out, leaving room for only the elite to make the team.

Stock Up
Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
No player helped his stock more than Nicks, who probably had the catch of the year when he took the ball around his back in order to hold on to it. It was a reception that had to have had UNC basketball coach Roy Williams considering Nicks as a 12th man off his bench. He's got some of the best hands in the draft and is caching in on his amazing performance by declaring early.

Gartrell Johnson, RB, Colorado State
Johnson went from unknown to a potential late round selection in the matter of three rounds. He also went from a delegated fullback in the NFL to potentially getting a shot as a running back. His 375 yards of total offense along with two touchdowns made him a lot of money.

Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Suh came on strong in 2008 after suffering a knee injury in the spring. He is one of the best pass rushing Dts in the country, totaling 7.5 sacks. He also had 16 tackles for loss. Against Clemson, Suh sacked QB Cullen Harper twice and had 3.5 tackles for loss. His presence was felt in the Clemson backfield so often he was forced to apply for permanent residency after the game.

Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Sanchez was an early favorite for the Heisman, but his production became stagnant in the thick of the season. He re-established himself as a potential first round pick, if he decides to enter, thanks to his bowl performance against Penn State. He shredded the Nittany Lions' top 10 defense for 413 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for another score.

Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
Already considered one of the elite Dts in this year's draft, Jerry almost secured a spot in the first round by dominating Texas Tech's All-American guards Brandon Carter and Louis Vasquez. While Ole Miss sacked Tech QB Graham Harrell just twice, Jerry was still a force in the backfield, constantly getting pressure. 

B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Raji was the biggest high point for the Eagles in their first bowl loss since 1999 against Vanderbilt. Raji had a sack and three tackles for loss against the Commodores. Some consider him the best DT in the draft and he definitely looked first round worthy.

James Casey, TE, Rice
It's hard to find a more versatile player in the draft than Casey. His ability to line up at several different positions, including quarterback, was on display in the Owls' bowl game vs. Western Michigan. Casey carried the ball three times, returned three punts and caught seven balls for 112 yards and a touchdown. He finished the season with an outstanding 111 receptions, 1,329 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also ran for 241 yards and seven touchdowns on 57 carries and threw for two more scores.

William Beatty, OT, Connecticut
Of all the bowl games I watched, I don't know that I witnessed a more dominant performance by an OL than the one Beatty put forth. This is a loaded class at OT with five guys looking like potential first round picks. Beatty deserves to be in that conversation as well.

Graham Gano, PK/P, Florida State
Gano showed the ability to be a kicker or a punter at the next level. It was his punting that drew the most praise in Florida State's bowl win over Wisconsin. How often do you see a game's highlights on SportsCenter led with a punter's performance? 

Davon Drew, TE, ECU
Drew had a chance of being drafted going into ECU's bowl, but came out of it as a likely mid- to late-round pick. He finished with the most yards of any tight end in the bowl season with 140.

Max Unger, C, Oregon
The battle to be considered the draft's top center has been ongoing all season between Unger and Cal's Alex Mack. Unger gained the advantage in Holidy Bowl as he led an OL that absolutely dominated Oklahoma State in every phase of the game.

Kraig Urbik, OG, Wisconsin
While the score wouldn't indicate it, Wisconsin RB P.J. Hill had a fantastic game against a talented Florida State defense. Urbik was the biggest reason why as Hill got behind his big OG for 140 yards.

Victor Butler, DE, Oregon State
Butler is undersized, but not many play with a better motor. He'll be a tweener at the next level, but he demolished any Pitt lineman trying to block him. He had four sacks and five tackles for loss, showing incredible acceleration and quickness around the end. 

Victor Harris, CB, Virginia Tech
Talk about a shut down performance. It's what every CB in the country strives for on a weekly basis. Macho Harris did it on the big stage. He didn't give up a single catch against Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl, deflected a pass that was picked off by teammate Kam Chancellor and had a tackle for loss that finished off a Va. Tech goal line stand.

Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
The redshirt sophomore put together a dominant performance in the first half of the BCS Championship. He showed incredible strength, quickness and agility. He's the full package at DT. A second coming of another great OU DT Tommie Harris.

Stock Down
Nate Davis, QB, Ball State
Davis struggled in his final two games of his junior season and would be well minded to stay at Ball State for another year. He needs a lot of work and has to mature some as a signal caller. 

Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
Yes. Wells topped 100 yards in the first half against Texas, which had the second-ranked run defense going into the Fiesta Bowl. Then he disappeared with another mysterious injury. Nothing about the injury was ever reported. Much like the foot that hurt Wells earlier this season, even when doctors couldn't find anything wrong with it. He shows no heart to play this game and definitely lacks the toughness and gall for it.

Emmanuel Cook, S, South Carolina
He didn't play a down in the bowl season and that's what killed him. One has to question his loyalty to his teammates. He was selfish and simply didn't pass his classes because he wanted to enlist in the draft. He hung his teammates out to dry by doing so. NFL personnel directors and scouts will label him with a character flaw due to the act.

Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri
Daniel might have led Mizzou to an overtime win against Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl, but it was his play that made the Tigers have to mount a comeback in the first place. Daniel simply hasn't been efficient in big games this season. He already had strikes against him at the next level because of his size. His inability to play steady in big games might place him out of the draft completely.

John Parker Wilson, QB, Alabama
Wilson hasn't exactly been consistent all season, but his play against Utah was fairly embarrassing. He's simply never lived up to the hype surrounding him. He's proved undraftable to many.

Antoine Caldwell, C, Alabama
Wilson didn't exactly have help from his offensive line either. Caldwell's inability to handle Utah's interior DL in particular stood out. This unit badly missed Andre Smith on the outside, making Smith's value rise from Alabama's inadequate play without him.

Jamon Meredith, OT, South Carolina
Meredith got exposed by Iowa's Mitch King and Co. King isn't exactly fast either. Meredith definitely dropped a few slots on draft boards. 

Captain Munnerlyn, CB, South Carolina
Munnerlyn's performance included terrible decisions in coverage and couple of cheap penalties. He didn't look into the game — an apparent theme for the Gamecocks in their bowl game.

William Moore, S, Missouri
Northwestern isn't known for throwing the ball, but Mizzou allowed QB C.J. Bacher to pass for his first 300-yard game of the season. Moore was a victim of two long TD passes. The Tigers regressed defensively from last season and Moore was a part of the problem.

All-Bowl Team

Off All-Bowl 1st Team   Off All-Bowl 2nd Team  
QB Mark Sanchez USC QB Jimmy Clausen Notre Dame
RB Gartrell Johnson Colorado St. RB Tarrion Adams Tulsa
RB Donald Brown Connecticut RB Jahvid Best Cal
WR Hakeem Nicks North Carolina WR Dez Bryant Oklahoma St.
WR Quan Cosby Texas WR Dezmon Briscoe Kansas
WR Percy Harvin Florida WR Golden Tate Notre Dame
TE Jermaine Gresham Oklahoma TE James Casey Rice
OL William Beatty  Connecticut OL Feneki Topou Oregon
OL Kraig Urbik Wisconsin OL Dan Doering Iowa
OL Max Unger Oregon OL Alex Mack Cal
OL John Jerry Ole Miss OL Andy Levitre Oregon State
OL Michael Oher Ole Miss OL Jaimie Thomas Maryland
K Bryant Hahnfeldt Vanderbilt K Alex Henery Nebraska
Def     Def    
DE Victor Butler Oregon DE Jarius Wynn Georgia
DT Ndamakung Suh Nebraska DT B.J. Raji Boston College
DT Gerald McCoy Oklahoma DT Peria Jerry Ole Miss
DE Orion Martin Va. Tech DE Mitch King Iowa
LB Zack Follett Cal LB Sylvester Stevenson Utah
LB Tokumbo Abanikanda So. Miss. LB DeAndre Levy Wisconsin
LB Navorro Bowman Penn State LB Ryan D'Imperio Rutgers
LB James Holt Kansas LB Jasper Brinkley South Carolina
CB Jairus Byrd Oregon CB Marshay Green Ole Miss
S Stephen Hodge TCU S Robert Johnson Utah
S Kam Chancellor Va. Tech S Greg Joseph Fla. Atlantic
CB Victor Harris Va. Tech CB Cary Harris USC
P Graham Gano Florida State P Kevin Huber Cincinnati
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