There are seven wide receivers on Head Coach Jon Gruden’s roster this week at the Senior Bowl, and interestingly enough, more than half played their college football outside the Power Five.
Penny Hart played at Georgia State, Andy Isabella played at Massachusetts, and Alex Wesley spent his college career at Northern Colorado.
Joining them – along with the trio of Emmanuel Hall, Terry McLaurin and Jakobi Meyers – is UC Davis product Keelan Doss.
Over the next few days – and then in Saturday’s game – Doss will go toe-to-toe with some of the best defensive backs in the country, and as a guy who spent his Saturdays playing in the Big Sky, he’s looking forward to showing what he’s got squaring off against the talent in Mobile.
“Oh yeah, of course, man,” said Doss when asked about whether he was excited about matching up against some of the players from bigger schools. “I played multiple guys from Power Five, Pac 12 schools, my years at UC Davis, and every time we play against those guys, I always had a chip on my shoulder, because I feel like I should be at that school.”
The Big Sky Preseason Offensive Player of the Year eclipsed the 1,300-yard mark in his final season as an Aggie, so Doss clearly has the skills to play at a high level; now, he looks forward to showing that he’s capable of being an NFL player.
So, what’s the biggest difference going against guys from the Power Five compared to the players in the FCS? Doss thinks it’s a simple one.
“In all honestly, it’s just size from the FBS level, to the FCS level,” Doss explained. “Guys are just naturally bigger in the FCS. To be honest, the skill positions, whenever I went against a guy from the FBS, and a guy from the FCS, I still believe to this day, there are certain guys in FCS that are better than the guys at the FBS at the skill positions. It’s not really a huge, huge difference, at least at the skill positions, but there is a difference, and that main difference in my opinion has to be size, and obviously quickness for certain guys compared to others.”
Take a look at photos from the first day of practice for the 2019 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. where the Raiders coaching staff is working with the North team.
Although he’s just a few days into his Senior Bowl experience, in many ways it’s been a whirlwind for Doss. Originally from Alameda, Calif., Doss grew up a fan of the Silver and Black, and now having the chance to work with Coach Gruden and his staff is something the talented wide receiver isn’t taking for granted.
“It’s crazy, man. I grew up a Raiders fan, so it’s just surreal having them as one of the teams here,” Doss said. “It’s been a fun experience, and I’m just looking forward to the opportunity… I was saying that earlier in my head, I was like, dang, this is crazy. I grew up watching Jon Gruden on TV, now he’s right here as my head coach for this week. It’s been an awesome experience, I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
With one practice in the books, Doss still has ample time to make an impression in Mobile, but regardless of what the next several days have in store for him, he’s determined to approach it with an even keel attitude.
“Coming from a small school, I don’t let this get to me at all,” Doss said. “It’s just another day in the office, and I don’t let the pressure from the outside get to me. I want to show that I’m just composed, and I’m able to go out there and do my thing, regardless of the setting, regardless of who I play against. At the end of the day, good could happen, and bad things could happen, it’s how you react to them, and how you respond. I’m just excited to go out there and compete against some of the best and see what I can do against them.”
Doss and the rest of his teammates will be back on the field Wednesday and Thursday before squaring off against the South team led by Kyle Shannahan on Saturday at Ladd Peebles Stadium.