We’ve been looking at some of the standout performers from the 2024 East-West Shrine Bowl, which took place last week. Having previously looked at defensive prospects, we’re now going to take a look at some of the offensive standouts.
RB Frank Gore Jr., Southern Miss.
A familiar name made headlines in this game, with his former Jets running back father on the sidelines to provide advice and encouragement. Gore showed burst off the left side for a 49-yard touchdown on his team’s first possession, which is important because whether or not he has breakaway speed has been a question mark.
In the end, Gore only got five other carries, but he showed good vision to cut back for a first down on 3rd-and-6 and broke into the clear to juke the free safety on another long run down near the goal line as he sought to remind people of his father in his prime.
QB Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland
Another familiar name also made headlines with his performance. While he didn’t have as impressive of a college career as his brother, Tua, Tagovailoa showed that perhaps he has some potential as he exploited a blown coverage to complete a deep ball rolling to his right and juked a defender in the open field on a two-yard touchdown scramble.
It sounds like one of this year’s fashionable scouting terms is going to be “quick hands”, with NFL teams keen to verify whether quarterbacks can execute fakes, run-pass options and get the ball out quickly. Tagovailoa possesses this skill, but does he have the adequate skills to succeed in other areas?
TE Dallin Holker, Colorado State
Holker had a breakout year in 2023 after transferring from BYU to the Rams, for whom he caught 64 passes including six touchdowns.
In this game he was a popular target early on and ended up with three catches including an impressive contested catch (although, to be fair, this probably would have been overturned by an NFL replay booth). He also had this first down catch.
G Christian Mahogany, Boston College
On the offensive line, Mahogany impressed with his impact in the running game and wasn’t troubled in pass protection at left guard. One of his best plays saw him seal off the linebacker with a block on the move to create a lane for a first down run.
He also impressed with his ability to get out to the second level, lighting up a linebacker on one first down run and driving his man out of the play on another. Mahogany was also named as one of the practice players of the week.
RB Blake Watson, Memphis
It was a productive game for Watson, who rushed 12 times for 46 yards and caught six passes on six targets for 65 yards. He would have had a touchdown in the last minute as he spectacularly juked passed the deep safety in the open field after breaking a long run, but opted to kneel down at the 12-yard line instead so his team could run out the clock.
Watson displayed good burst and an ability to make the first man miss after the catch. He was another of the practice players of the week.
WR Tahj Washington, USC
Washington, who is coming off a thousand-yard season, is a small receiver who will likely play primarily in the slot at the NFL level. He ended up with three catches for 41 yards, displaying impressive after the catch abilities on this one.
He also had an impressive play just before half time where he slipped out of a tackle after making a catch underneath.