Who are the top 2013 NFL Draft prospects to watch in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl between the NevadaWolfPack and Arizona Wildcats?

Though the first game of the 2012-2013 college football bowl season may not feature a pair of premier programs or several star prospects, each of these teams saw some success this season and possess prospects that could have plenty of success in the NFL.

Without further adieu, here are the top prospects to watch.

Nevada Safety Duke Williams (Sr.)

Duke Williams has been starting in the secondary for two entire seasons with the WolfPack.  He finished the regular season with 100 total tackles in 12 games in 2012 and has been named to the All-MWC.  Projected as a fourth-round prospect, look for Williams to make an impact not only in the Gildan 2012 New Mexico Bowl, but in the NFL as well. 

Nevada Tight End Zach Sudfeld (Sr.)

In last year’s season opener against Oregon, tight end Zach Sudfeld caught one pass before suffering a season-ending leg injury.  However, he was able to come back in 2012 after being granted a redshirt season as a senior and once again made an impact on the field.  He’s played in three games this season, hauling in 154 receiving yards and a score and is projected to get drafted in the fifth or sixth round.

Nevada Running Back Stefphon Jefferson (Jr.)

Jefferson has torn things up for Nevada this season.  In Week 1, he pounded the football for 141 yards on the ground on 25 carries in the WolfPack’s 31-24 win over the Golden Bears.  This was just the beginning for the young running back.

Later on this year, he made a name for himself with the WolfPack, rushing for 139 yards and two touchdowns against the Boise State Broncos, setting the school’s single-season record for rushing scores (21) and total touchdowns (23).

He’s now just 29 yards short of single-season rushing record of 1,732 yards.  If he decides to declare for the draft, he’s projected as a late round draft pick, but expect him to stay in school.

Arizona Quarterback Matt Scott (Sr.)

Matt Scott carries the load for these ‘Cats.  He’s the 11th quarterback in this year’s draft boards, and albeit he’s rarely considered an elite player at his position, Scott’s numbers and competition may prove otherwise over time.

Perhaps one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country, Matt Scott threw for 3,238 yards and has a total of 24 touchdowns this season.  Albeit Arizona didn’t win enough games this season for him to capture a ton of national attention, Scott actually surpassed Heisman Trophy nominee Collin Klein in all categories and tied the Heisman Trophy winner with 24 TDs this season.

In addition, his display of leadership was nothing short of stellar this year when he threw three touchdown passes in the win over the USC Trojans, when he amassed 364 yards through the air and 100 yards on the ground.

His stock could start to soar after the 2013 NFL Combine and Pro Days, but right now he’s projected as a late-third to fourth round prospect heading into this matchup with the Nevada WolfPack.

Arizona Wide Receiver Dan Buckner (Sr.)

Another player at Arizona that has plenty to prove in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl is senior wide receiver Dan Buckner.

Buckner has most recently been overshadowed this season by teammate Austin Hill, a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist, but no make mistake, Buckner can play, too. The senior receiver is eighth in the Pac-12 ahead of USC’s Robert Woods with 71.6 yards per game.

In the Wildcats’ 56-31 win over Colorado, Buckner caught only three passes, and two of them went for touchdowns.  In ten games this season, he has 57 receptions for 716 yards and five scores.  As it stands right now he is projected as a late-round draft pick.


Oren Shiri is the Creative Director and an analyst at GridironGrit and Founder of NFL Draft Insiders.  Follow Oren on Twitter @NFLorentime