Plenty of prospects, some of them high-profile, others under-the-radar, have come and gone in the past decade or so, since the inception of the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. Still, the talent level across the board on the national level has been about as good as it gets.
Things don’t figure to change anytime soon, either, as the hype continues to build for this year’s games: The first on Dec. 22 at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, the second on Jan. 14 at Jacksonville Jaguars’ EverBank Field and the third on Jan. 21 at Oakland Raiders’ Coliseum.
To gain a better understanding about the rapidly growing direction of things, perhaps it’s best to take some time to reflect on the humble beginnings. Therefore, moving forward, the plan is to more closely examine the brand’s many alumni from all over the country.
Austin Proehl from Providence (NC) takes center stage. No stranger to the spotlight, as a member of the Class of 2014, many recall him taking care of business in the South’s 47-44 double overtime victory over the North at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium.
Keep in mind, there were plenty of marquee names in that game, including LSU commit John Battle, Penn State commit Koa Farmer, Illinois commit Tre Watson, Washington State commit Keith Harrington and UTSA commit Dalton Sturm, to name a few.
As much as things change, some stay the same, and Proehl is still doing well with all eyes on him. The 5-foot-10 and 175-pound junior wide receiver for North Carolina will be in action on Sept. 10 against Illinois in a Big-12 Conference showdown at 12 p.m. (EST).
With NFL bloodlines, his father is two-time Super Bowl Champion Ricky Proehl, the younger version appears to be heading down a similar path. By the time he graduates from Chapel Hill, it wouldn’t come as a major surprise to see him selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.
As a freshman, Proehl played in 12 games for the Tar Heels and delivered at least one reception in each effort. Then, as a sophomore, he played in 13 games, seven of them starts, and finished third on the team with 43 catches for 597 yards and three touchdowns.
Eager to improve and after working with NFL veteran trainer Rodney Beasley, Proehl seems poised for a breakout year as a junior. For a fact, he certainly adjusted well to the limelight during the brand’s All-American Bowl in Florida and hasn’t looked back since.