Former Penn State players Marcus Allen, Mike Gesicki, DaeSean Hamilton and Christian Campbell showcased their skills during Senior Bowl week, and Saturday was the day to display them on national television.
Only two of the four Nittany Lions actually played in the game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. — but one made a noticeable impact.
Here’s how Gesicki, Hamilton, Allen and Campbell fared and what it means for their draft stock moving forward:
Mike Gesicki, tight end
Gesicki was easily the most active Nittany Lion on Saturday afternoon. The 6-foot-6 mismatch hauled in three catches for 39 yards on six targets.
Gesicki, a normally sure-handed tight end, did have a bad drop in the second quarter. He couldn’t hang onto a 20-yard pass by Nebraska’s Tanner Lee, losing his grip before Virginia safety Quin Blanding even made contact.
“He has to hold onto that football,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said on the broadcast.
But Gesicki bounced back.
On the very next drive, the New Jersey native had two catches in a matter of three plays for 27 total yards. In the third quarter, Gesicki had a 12-yard catch and run on fourth-and-3, setting up a touchdown pass from Wyoming’s Josh Allen to Central Michigan’s Tyler Conklin.
Following the score, the North squad went for two and targeted Gesicki out wide on a fade attempt. But Allen threw a low dart instead of a high ball, and Gesicki had no shot. The pass fell incomplete.
Overall, it was a solid performance by Gesicki, who projects as a Day 2 draft selection.
DaeSean Hamilton, wide receiver
Hamilton tore up defensive backs all week during practice, but that didn’t translate to the field. The 6-foot-1 wideout had one catch for five yards on five targets.
Like Gesicki, Hamilton also had a bad drop — letting a perfect slant throw by Allen go right through his hands. He caught a five-yard pass from Allen to start the third quarter and was quiet from that point on.
However, the week was still a positive for Penn State’s all-time leading receiver.
Videos of Hamilton slicing through secondaries with crisp cuts populated Twitter while scouts and analysts drooled. It’s understood that Hamilton’s Senior Bowl week showing — fresh off an impressive East-West Shrine week — earned him some money and a boost in draft stock.
“He has really opened some eyes this week,” NFL Network color commentator Charles Davis said.
Marcus Allen, safety
Allen, a Penn State fan favorite, did not play on Saturday.
It’s not clear whether it was due to injury or a personal choice not to play. The NFL Network crew made no mention of his absence.
However, play-by-play announcer Andrew Siciliano did credit Allen with a second-quarter interception — before realizing it was another safety wearing No. 2 and a white helmet, Louisiana Tech’s Secdrick Cooper.
Christian Campbell, cornerback
Campbell didn’t play either, but his absence was expected.
The corner — who was reportedly dealing with a back strain during practice — announced on Twitter just hours before the game that he would sit out due to “risk issues.”
“I gave my all every single practice and couldn’t ask for a better experience,” Campbell said in a statement. “I’m very humble because of the position god has put me in. I thank (Phil Savage) and all the staff at the Senior Bowl for the opportunities.”
Despite the nagging injury, Campbell impressed all week. One reporter called him an “outright eraser” in coverage, while Optimum Scouting owner Eric Galko said Campbell could be a top-40 pick come April’s NFL draft.