For one day, Monmouth College will share the gridiron stage with USC, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Oregon, Harvard and Notre Dame, among others.
Fighting Scots quarterback Alex Tanney (Normal, Ill./Lexington) will be one of a handful of NCAA Division III players to compete in Saturday's Players All-Star Classic in Little Rock, Ark., featuring players from all college divisions projected as having NFL draft potential. A similar showcase last year produced more than 60 NFL players.
After spending the last month at a training facility in Florida that works with current and potential professional athletes, Tanney will split time on the North squad with two other quarterbacks. He'll also be put to the test against the highest level of collegiate competition.
"This is a good chance for Alex to show what he can do on the big stage," said MC coach Steve Bell of Tanney, who graduated from Monmouth in January with a degree in business. "It's always exciting to play in an all-star game, but even more so in one of this magnitude when you're facing players from ranked Division I teams. It's also a wonderful opportunity for Monmouth College."
Game organizers are high on Tanney's potential. Their Facebook post calls the 2009 Melberger Award winner and two-time Gagliardi finalist "a big guy who can absolutely stand in under pressure at the next level and take a hit." The post goes on to say "he has a quick, good looking release, as well as solid accuracy across the board."
Tanney completed his Monmouth career with a 162.9 pass efficiency rating and an NCAA all-divisions record 157 TD passes. He also completed more than 68 percent of his passes, including a career-high 71 percent last fall.
According to the game's Facebook page, "This week could make or break his chances of getting drafted in April…(he) needs to show scouts he can adjust to the speed of the game and handle the big moment."
Optimum Scouting also liked Tanney's raw ability, citing his accuracy and arm strength. "Threw a head-turning 40-yard deep fade to end team drills on a spectacular note," their report said. The report also called Tanney the best QB prospect on the North team and possibly the South.
Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Feb. 4 at War Memorial Stadium, AT&T Field in Little Rock, Ark. The game will be broadcast on some Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) and Cox Sports Television (CST) stations. CSS serves 13 states in the South. Sports network CST provides coverage in eight southeastern states as well as many cable systems and DISH Network. However, there is no local or internet broadcast of the game planned at this time.