Three Maryland natives will have an opportunity to impress NFL teams next week at the College Gridiron Showcase in Arlington, Texas, an all-star game that features prominent players from programs such as Alabama, Auburn and Texas.
Prairie View A&M quarterback Jerry Lovelocke (Edmondson) and Stony Brook wide receiver Adrian Coxson (City) are on one team, which will be coached by former Oklahoma star running back Marcus Dupree.
Alabama guard Leon Brown (Parkdale) is on the other team, which also included former Alabama and Virginia quarterback Phillip Sims, Alabama safety Nick Perry, Texas A&M safety Floyd Raven and Oregon wide receiver Keanon Lowe, who caught a touchdown in the Ducks' national championship loss to Ohio State.
"All three guys [Lovelocke, Coxson and Brown] had great seasons," said College Gridiron Showcase co-founder and executive director Jose Jefferson. "They all stuck out, and a lot of their referral, quite honestly, came from NFL scouts.
"We were very fortunate to get in the ears of NFL scouts. And it's easy to scout the Marcus Mariotas and Jameis Winstons because they get all the national publicity and the TV games. But those three guys are under-the-radar guys that the scouts want to see. So having the game, it was a slam-dunk to get them in our game and expose them the best we can to scouts."
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Lovelocke was a four-year starter at Prairie View A&M and threw 39 touchdowns and 18 interceptions the last two seasons while passing for an average of 241 yards per game.
Lovelocke also ran for 19 touchdowns the last two years. He competed in the respected NFLPA Collegiate Bowl last week.
"Big body. Big arm and good control," Jefferson said of Lovelocke, whose team was 11-11 the past two seasons. "He won a lot of games at Prairie View, and he's a prototypical height, weight, arm guy for a quarterback. … I think Jerry's going to be the type that gets picked up by a good team and will be able to be groomed and learn from some really good guys.
"And I'm not saying he's going to be a starter or a backup. But I think he's going to get to a good team that's going to teach him a lot of things, and he kind of reminds me of a Jason Campbell type. And if he learns well, he can be a solid pro for many years."
A former four-star recruit, Coxson signed with Florida out of high school before transferring to Maryland to be closer to home after his father went blind.
Coxson left the Terps for Stony Brook following the 2011 season and caught 74 passes for 1,208 yards and nine touchdowns the past two seasons in the Seawolves' run-heavy offense, including 43 for 664 yards and six touchdowns as a senior this past season.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Coxson, who is doing his pre-draft training with former Ravens wide receiver Qadry Ismail at the Arena Club in Bel Air, averaged 16.2 yards per catch the past two years.
He had at least one catch of 31 yards or longer in six of Stony Brook's 12 games this past season.
"He was dominant where he was at," Jefferson said. "He put up great numbers. He's tough. And when you think about a guy like him, you can't help but think of a Steve Smith type of guy, a little taller, but a guy like that. And we had referrals from a few of the scouts to get him in the game, and I liked the film I saw of him, and I said I don't see why he can't come in and get a chance, and I don't see why he can't make a roster. …
"He wasn't getting exposure. How many times are you going to see Stony Brook on TV unless you're in the area? But this game will put him in front of scouts from every NFL team and scouts from the CFL and even a few arena teams, and I think he can make an NFL roster, from what I saw."
A former junior college transfer, the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Brown started 12 games for Alabama this past season, helping the Crimson Tide finish 12-2 and advance to the College Football Playoff semifinals.
"Big kid," Jefferson said. "He's a big bag of groceries. I'll tell you that. [Alabama coach] Nick Saban was very complimentary of him and was grateful for our game to give him an opportunity. He thought he was very deserving and wondered why he didn't get into any other games. … But he's going to pass the look test. And from the film I saw, he's a road grader. He's going to move guys that are in his way, so I'm excited."
Some other known players set to take part in the game are Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick, Colorado State running back Dee Hart, Penn State outside linebacker C.J. Olaniyan and Texas wide receiver John Harris.
Hedrick threw for 3,696 yards and 23 touchdowns this past season.
A former five-star recruit, Hart ran for 1,275 yards and 16 touchdowns while averaging 6.6 yards per carry after transferring from Alabama.
"We've been pretty fortunate to pick up talent that is going to turn heads," Jefferson said. "We sent out rosters to every NFL team, and they're sending multiple scouts to our game saying that these are the guys that they wanted to look at, so I think we're going in the right direction."