NAME YOU NEED TO KNOW: There was a plethora of bad quarterback play around the NFL this past Sunday. Those franchises in search of a developmental signal-caller may want to check out Fresno State senior QB Marcus McMaryion (6-1, 203, 4.67, #6).
While it wasn't one of his better performances of the season from a statistical standpoint (20-for-32, 170 yards and one touchdown), McMaryion showed the leadership, poise and guts to help guide the Bulldogs to the Mountain West championship. His successful option play on third-and-goal resulted in a touchdown in a 19-16 win at Boise State.
McMaryion is enjoying his finest season yet, completing 70 percent of his passes, throwing for 3,453 passing yards and averaging nearly nine yards per attempt, while tossing 25 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Pro evaluators will appreciate his acute deep ball accuracy, ball placement and pocket presence. His willingness to absorb the big hit in order to deliver the ball and make a play has earned him tremendous respect in the locker room, along with a 'C' on his chest.
The Oregon State transfer arrived at Fresno State with little fanfare, starting just seven games during his three-year stint in Corvallis. McMaryion, who has been an all-academic scholar since high school, graduated in three years, which enabled him to play immediately upon his transfer. His arrival coincided with new head coach Jeff Tedford, and the duo has keyed the Bulldogs from 1-11 the year before they arrived, to a 21-6 record since then.
Tedford, of course is renowned for his quarterback tutelage, having coached the likes of first-round picks such as Aaron Rodgers, Trent Dilfer, David Carr, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington and Kyle Boller.
In addition to his high character and intelligence, the California native possesses a strong work ethic and excellent athleticism. His mechanics could use some work but considering that he projects as a late-round pick, McMaryion could be someone we hear from again on Sundays a few years down the road.
SCHARPING IMAGE: The balanced attack of the Northern Illinois offense was on full display Friday, as the Huskies scored 20 unanswered points to come from behind and defeat Buffalo for the MAC championship.
NIU converted on all three of its critical fourth-down conversions, while gaining 300 passing yards and 109 rushing yards, in large part due to stellar play up front, led by senior anchor OT Max Scharping (6-6, 320, 5.29, #73).
Scharping has started 52 consecutive games, playing right tackle during his first two seasons and left tackle over the past two years. The All-MAC standout demonstrates fundamentally sound technique, excellent hand placement and solid footwork. In addition, he possesses great arm length and an extremely strong jab, which comes courtesy of his offseason boxing regime.
The Green Bay native was already on the NFL radar entering the season after allowing just five quarterback pressures in 425 snaps a year ago, as the Huskies allowed the fewest sacks in the FBS. Another strong senior campaign has earned Scharping high praise and he now projects as a likely top 100 overall selection.
His play was recently rewarded with an invite to the Senior Bowl, where he'll have an opportunity to prove himself as a tackle. But at his size, he might be a better fit on the interior at the next level.
FUTURE WATCH: One thing that was apparent on Saturday night is that Ohio State sophomore DE Chase Young (6-5, 265, 4.77, #2) is a young stud with huge upside. Young, a constant presence in the Northwestern backfield during the Big Ten Championship, registered three sacks, a forced fumble and a tipped a pass that resulted in an interception. He was a force to be reckoned with all game as the Buckeyes pulled away for a 45-24 victory.
Long, strong and extremely quick off the ball snap, Young does an excellent job converting his speed to power and blowing past offensive linemen. The Maryland native is still working on improving his hand combat and learning more discipline, as he has been flagged for several penalties this season, but he is oozing with star potential.
Known as "The Predator" by some teammates, Young carries a reputation for being a fierce competitor in practice and possesses all the attributes to put him in contention for the right to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
SMALL SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT: Playing at South Dakota State, senior QB Taryn Christion (6-1, 225, 4.98, #3) certainly doesn't receive the publicity he deserves, but the four-year starter has quietly gone about his business during a record-setting career.
The dual-threat signal caller was up to his old tricks again Saturday, throwing for 144 yards, running for 49 yards and tossing a touchdown pass, as SDSU romped past Duquesne 51-6 during the second round of the FCS Championship.
Christion is the school's all-time leader in touchdown passes (101) and total offense (11,208 yards), and he holds seven single-season school records, in addition to being elected team captain twice. Along with great leadership intangibles, the Sioux Falls native has shown the smarts and efficiency that should warrant a look at the next level.
The win kicks off a revenge tour of sorts for Christion, who threw six interceptions and fumbled three times in a loss against James Madison in the FCS playoff semifinals a year ago. Next up for the Jackrabbits in the quarterfinals will be the Big South champion, Kennesaw State.
ETC.: Former San Diego alumnus Josh Johnson, a 10-year NFL veteran, became the first-ever selection of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) quarterback draft. ... The XFL is holding a press conference on Wednesday at MetLife Stadium to announce the eight host cities of its inaugural season. ... Michigan DE Rashan Gary (6-4, 283, 4.67, #3) intends to sit out the Peach Bowl against Florida after declaring himself eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft. ... LSU CB Greedy Williams (6-2, 185, 4.50, #29) intends to follow suit and will not play in the Fiesta Bowl ... A pair of Oklahoma State players, RB Justice Hill (5-10, 190, 4.47, #5) and OL Larry Williams (6-4, 327, 5.61, #56) have also informed head coach Mike Gundy that they would not be participating in the Liberty Bowl.
Check back later this week as NFLDraftScout.com analyst Ric Serritella unveils his first 2019 NFL Mock Draft.