9 Former MAC Players Participate in the 2022 Spiral Tropical Bowl

The Spiral Tropical Bowl is in its sixth year as a post-season All-Star team game, and the 2022 edition is set to have four former Mid-America Conference stars in innings.

During the week, participants have the opportunity to interact with coaches and scouts from various professional leagues, including the Canadian Football League, XFL, Major League Soccer, and Arena Football for opportunities to interviews and combine drills, with film about practices and referred sessions. To the NFL scouts after that.

If you’re interested in watching the game, it’s set at 4PM ET / 3PM CST from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, and it’ll be a broadcast exclusive, with a $19.99 per-view setup provided by Florida-based sports network Varsity.

Here are the nine players scheduled for the event, according to the Tropical Bowl website:


National team

  • Drew Plate, QB, Ball State

A native of Loveland, Ohio, Bleet made his Ball State start for three years after Riley Neal moved to Vanderbilt, Muncie as the MAC champion in 2020, while also placing first in Ball State QBs in several success categories.

The 2021 campaign saw Bill throw 2,541 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions for a 60 percent completion rate, his second-best stat season after the 2019 season. Billet made it to the full MAC roster in 2020 as the second-team QB after leading the Ball State to the MAC title in the pandemic shortened season, averaging 270 yards per game over the air. He was also clever when they came, making it to the MAC Academic roster three times in a row from 2018 to 2020. (The 2021 roster not yet released until publication).

Plett finished his Ball State career with 9,062 yards for 68 touchdowns and 30 interceptions, while also picking up 14 touchdowns.

  • Alvinsky LaFleur, DB, Eastern Michigan

Bolstered by Chris Creighton’s unconventional Emu defense from a position of safety, “Noski” LaFleur earned a full MAC first-team honor in the 2020 season in his first full season as an eagle after moving from Coffeville. [KS] Copy.

The Lake Charles, Louisiana-born finished the 2021 season with 51 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss and a sack, a forced trip and 1 trip for 11 games. Over the course of his career, Lafleur has proven to be a confident attacker, completing 104 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, two tackles, three interceptions, six defensive passes, three assists and two recoveries.

  • Troy Hairston II, Edge, Central Michigan

Perhaps the most intriguing MAC player (or overall player) in the Tropical Bowl, Troy Hairston II, Pride of Birmingham, Michigan, will look to impress professional scouts with a fine performance in Orlando.

The 2020 MAC Common Defender nearly doubled his efforts in 2021, finishing all MAC ranks for the second year in a row after collecting 55 tackles, 17.5 tackles-for-loss, seven QB hits and a mandatory tumble. It’s a truly incredible effort for any player, but especially for the Walkers who joined the team in 2018 as an outside player.

Hairston ended his career at Mt. Pleasant with a dominant performance in the Sun Bowl, with 3.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks (with another called up again for a penalty). – Loss, 16.5 sacks, 4 forced tackles, 12 QB hits and a quick recovery.

Hairston is a potentially unpolished free option despite his petite body type (he’s five feet 11, 245 pounds).


American team

  • Bryce Nonelli, WR/KR, Western Michigan

Nunnelly was one and done with the Broncos, moving on as an FCS UT-Chattanooga graduate in the 2021 season. Prior to his stay in Kalamazoo, Nunnelly was one of the most prolific Mocs receivers in recent memory, with 152 receptions and 2,242 yards, which is good for seventh and third in the program’s history, respectively. Nunnelly was a SoCon recipient from the first team in his second and junior seasons.

The Cleveland, Tennessee native was primarily a kick and drag specialist for the Broncos, with 205 yards on the 20 return cross. It was also WR4 for WMU, with 10 receptions for 114 yards.

  • A.J. Thomas, LB/DB, Western Michigan

AJ Thomas has worn many hats in the WMU defense, as he switched between safety, linebacker and linebacker for the Broncos during his career. The high school four-footed athlete, the six-foot-two, 220-pound Detroit native finished with 53 tackles, including one for a loss in 2021, with five assisting breaks.

Thomas has been an important part of the turnover of the Broncos full-back, who had two full MAC supporters in 2021 and several previous seasons. Over his four seasons, Thomas has completed 214 tackles, 15 tackles to lose, two bags, two interceptions, two recoveries and 16 assists.

  • Nickim Johnson, WR, Kent State

Johnson, a graduate commuter from Syracuse through Washington, D.C., spent the 2021 campaign with Kent State, turning 54 receptions for 630 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver in the Golden Flashes division. Johnson also added 10 lunges for 82 yards and two touchdowns as well, proving to be an effective weapon for Shawn Lewis’ attack.

Johnson was the second team to return a full ACC kick in 2020 at Syracuse, with 88 receptions for 1,055 yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons as a receiver.

  • Christian Albright. LB, state ball

Albright was a solid supporter of Ball State defense in his tenure at Muncie, with 48 consecutive starts over four seasons of playing from full-back. Albright landed on Mack’s roster twice in his career, with a third team appearance in 2018 and a second team appearance in 2020.

Albright has shared supporting responsibilities with fellow Cardinal Brandon Martin (MAC Defensive Player of the Year 2020) for most of his career, racking up himself 260 tackles, 33.5 tackles to lose, 16.5 sacks, two interceptions, 13 assists defended, nine assists, and three He recovered during 57 matches in the Cardinals’ uniform.

In 2021, Albright had 65 tackles, five tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three defensive passes, and a mandatory fumble.

A Virginia Tech alumnus, T.J. Jackson was a regular insider for the Bobcats in 2021, and participated in all 12 games. Prior to Ohio, Jackson picked 24 games of participation and two starts. The Cumberland, Virginia native stands at six feet seven and 375 pounds, making it an intriguing, but raw, option for next-level project handling/protection.

  • Mike Vanhoven, Eastern Michigan

The six-foot-five, 298-pound offensive lineman from Paw Paw, Michigan will be looking for his next stop on his football journey after six seasons at Ypsilanti by taking part in this game. Mike Vanhoven collected 45 starts for the Eagles in 67 potential matches. He was understood to be one of the best pass protection positions in MAC, with previous experience as a goalkeeper and tackle as well, dating back to high school.

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