Three former Wisconsin Badgers put on the “Motion W” helmet one last time on Saturday, playing for the West team in the 2018 East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Defensive lineman Alec James and linebacker Leon Jacobs did nothing to hinder their chances of impressing scouts. Safety Natrell Jamerson definitely shined, receiving the East-Defensive MVP honor.
Jamerson, the senior defensive back who received consensus All-Big Ten honorable mention this season, returned a backward pass that was ruled a fumble for a 68-yard touchdown in the first quarter of the West’s 14–10 win over the East.
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, playing for the East, was hit as he threw, and the ball went backwards behind the line of scrimmage. Quickly diagnosing what had happened, Jamerson—an Ocala, Fla., native—scooped up the loose ball. Accompanied by James of all people, he raced up the right sideline and put the West out in front 7–0.
Jacobs rotated at the two outside linebacker positions in the 4-3 alignment used in the game. He lined up on the line of scrimmage as the “Sam” in an under front, and also lined up off of the ball in base personnel, but often came off of the field on third down in the nickel package as the Sam linebacker often does. He did get some time, however, as the “Will” linebacker on coverage downs as well.
NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock noted earlier this week that Jacobs “had a really solid week.”
Two Wisconsin defensive linemen were noted on the West roster for the week, but only James participated in practices, as Conor Sheehy was listed as injured. James played mostly the strong side defensive end in the West’s 4-3 alignment, and while he isn’t known for his pass-rush prowess, he did a good job of holding strong in the run game. On the play Jamerson scored, the Brookfield, Wis., native forced Barrett to hesitate on the throw before getting hit and losing the football.
Overall, the Badgers did a good job representing themselves over the week, with Jamerson and Jacobs receiving some national recognition. James may lack the perceived upside of the other two, but he undoubtedly showed some versatility up front on the defensive line. These performances, compounded with some potential positive performances at the NFL Scouting Combine, could lead to an increase in draft stock.
There was another Wisconsin connection who made quite the impact this week as well, as former Madison Memorial standout Daurice Fountain claimed the game’s offensive MVP.
The Northern Iowa wide receiver caught three passes for 61 yards, the first of which put the team into range for its end-of-half field goal. Fountain also registered a nice punt return.
Mayock also praised Fountain:
Everybody’s talking about him this week. Out of the whole group of wideouts, I think he’s the one that’s shown the most juice, the most acceleration. He has a really good track background from high school, so he’s legitimately fast but he’s also quick. He’s caught the ball extremely well, and he’s separated from guys. I think he’s helped himself a lot this week.