Mike Pennel, Colorado State-Pueblo: Pennel (6-5, 363) started his career at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College and played sparingly for Arizona State in 2012. He was suspended three times at ASU during that one year. In his lone season at Division II CSU-Pueblo, he played in all 12 games and tallied 36 tackles, including three sacks and six TFLs. He added three forced fumbles and batted down four passes. The Scouting Combine provides a chance to keep his career going.
Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina: Early entrant. Quarles (6-3, 298) statistically outplayed the highly touted Jadeveon Clowney. During a big senior season, Quarles had 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for losses. He was named first-team all-SEC and earned All-American accolades. Coach Steve Spurrier compared Quarles to Warren Sapp. After an early-season loss to Georgia, Quarles' position coach said: "I looked him straight in the eyes, and he told me, ‘You need to step it up.' He gave me a man-to-man talk. He said, ‘You need to step it up. You need to take control and be a leader.' I watched film, I watched myself, and I knew I had some more I could give." He responded with six sacks in six games.
Caraun Reid, Princeton: Reid (6-2, 301) became Princeton's first two-time All-American in 20 years and was a three-time all-Ivy League selection. As a senior, he piled up 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for losses. At the Senior Bowl, he had sacks on back-to-back plays. He had eight sacks as a sophomore. For his career, he finished with 20.5 sacks and seven blocked kicks. He also sang in an a cappella group – when his smooth voice survived the chops and smacks that coming in football's trenches.
Shamar Stephen, Connecticut: Stephen (6-5, 308) was second-team all-conference and team MVP as a senior after finishing third on the team with 60 tackles, first with 10 tackles for losses and second with three sacks. He had at least seven tackles in four of 12 games.
Will Sutton, Arizona State: Sutton (6-1, 315) became just the fifth defensive player in conference history to win the Morris Trophy in back-to-back seasons. The Morris Trophy goes to the conference's best lineman. He's a two-time All-American and two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. The disruptive defensive tackle finished his senior season with 48 tackles, including four sacks and 13.5 for losses. He was incredible as a junior, with 13 sacks, 23.5 TFLs and three forced fumbles. One difference in production was his weight. He was listed at 267 as a junior but put on almost 40 pounds to get to 305 for his senior campaign. He was 10 pounds heavier at the Senior Bowl. His father, Mickey, played in the NFL from 1986 through 1990, including a three-game stint with the Packers in which he averaged 8.4 yards per punt return in 1989.
Robert Thomas, Arkansas: Thomas (6-3,0 325), who opened his career wtih two seasons at Coffeyville Community College, was lost for the season when he sustained a broken leg against South Carolina in mid-October. At the time of the injury, he was third on the team with six tackles for losses, including 3.5 sacks. For the rest of the season, Thomas, coach Bret Bielema and his staff chose a different player to wear Thomas' No. 98. "He became very emotional -- as well as I did -- and loved the idea," Bielema said. "We'll rotate that through for the rest of the season and hopefully give someone a little bit more incentive that week to play in his honor, knowing that he'll never get to play for the Razorbacks."
Khyri Thornton, Southern Mississippi: Thornton (6-3, 300) was named first-team all-Conference USA after posting 6.5 tackles for losses among his 39 tackles. He was a finalist for the C Spire Conerly Award as the top player in the state of Mississippi and was named the team's MVP.
Brent Urban, Virginia: Urban (6-6, 295), a native of Mississauga, Ontario, already has been drafted -- by the CFL's Hamilton franchise with a second-round pick. As a senior, Urban was an honorable mention on the all-ACC team. Even though he missed four games due to injury, he led the nation's defensive linemen with nine passes batted down. In eight game, he had 40 tackles including 11.5 for losses, then showed his strength at the Senior Bowl. "Brent Urban has garnered the attention of every scout," Virginia coach Mike London said during the season. "We've had every NFL team come through to our practice facility, and every scout has come in and said this guy's playing well. ... He's strong, powerful, can pass rush, can play well against the run, all of those things." The first words of Allman Brothers front man Duane Allman are tattooed on Urban's left forearm.
Chris Whaley, Texas: Whaley (6-3, 295) was an All-American high school running back who topped 6,000 rushing yards for his career. He spent his freshman season at running back before moving to defense as he continued to get bigger. "I remember watching him in high school out there at Cameron Yoe High School playing one night," running backs coach Major Applewhite said. "I saw a 6-foot-2, 235-pound running back as a junior and just thinking he is not a miniature schnauzer and he will continue to grow." It was the same path taken by Bears standout Henry Melton. Whaley started on the defensive line in each of his final two seasons. He was an honorable mention on the all-Big 12 team as a senior, even though it was cut short by a season-ending knee injury. He scored touchdowns on an interception and fumble return.
Kerry Wynn, Richmond: Wynn (6-5, 270) was an all-Colonial Athletic Association pick in each of his final two seasons. During those seasons, he tallied seven sacks and 13.5 tackles for losses. Wynn's start in football came when the high school coach saw the 6-foot-3 basketball standout would be a good fit at receiver.