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When Oklahoma State and Stanford square off in the Fiesta Bowl at 8:30pm ET on ESPN, two rugby players could well be starting on defense. Alex Elkins is a regular starter for the Cowboys at linebacker, and Johnson Bademosi is a starting cornerback for The Cardinal.
The BCS Bowl will be Bademosi's last at Stanford. USA 7s coach Al Caravelli has kept a dialogue with the former Gonzaga star, and it's possible he'll return to rugby after graduation. NFLDraftScout.com has Bademosi listed as the 83rd-ranked cornerback prospect in the 2012 NFL draft class, and the 999th overall prospect.
The NFL invites up to 335 of the most sought after prospects to Indianapolis for their combine each spring, so if NFLDraftScout has Bademosi pegged remotely accurately, the corner will have to make his impression on scouts tonight, at his pro day or potentially the Senior Bowl.
The same is probably true for Nate Ebner, the senior special teams stud for Ohio State. His last game as a Buckeye was the Gator Bowl against Florida. Ebner has also been in regular contact with Caravelli, and the safety/special teamer is being told he might have a real shot at an NFL contract if his pro day numbers are good enough. If he doesn't latch on in the NFL, look for him to make a serious run for a 7s residency contract.
Elkins, a junior, has another year of football left at Oklahoma State. He never played a down of football in high school, honing his athleticism instead playing rugby for Alliance in Texas. His story can be read here.