May 23, 2019
Fresno State senior wide receiver Keesean Johnson catches a pass in the Bulldogs’ 31-13 victory over San Jose State on Nov. 24, 2018(Jose Romo/ The Collegian)

Bulldog stars participate in East-West Shrine Game

All eyes were on Fresno State’s dynamic duo of quarterback Marcus McMaryion and wide receiver Keesean Johnson this past Saturday as they looked to improve their draft stock by participating in the 94th annual East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Florida, on the NFL Network.

The former Bulldogs’ performances did not make the impact that many expected going into Saturday’s game.

McMaryion did see some time at quarterback as the West team featured a three-quarterback rotation in order to allow each quarterback prospect to showcase their talents in front of scouts and a national audience.

However, his stats line did not reflect the expectations of him, as he went 3 for 11 with only 22 yards and a passer rating of 39.6.

Johnson played a limited amount of snaps in the game, failing to record a single reception or target.

However, Johnson was able to impress all week in practice as numerous analysts dubbed him a player to watch, including NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks, who said, “Johnson is smooth and fluid as a route runner.”

After coming off of collegiate career, that saw Johnson produce back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons– finishing his career with the Bulldogs’ all-time record in receiving yards with 3,463 yards and receptions (273) while scoring 24 touchdowns– he is still expected to hear his name called on draft night despite his limited performance.

Reports from Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter Trevor Sikkema indicate that Johnson met with numerous NFL teams during his time in Florida, including the Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.

McMaryion’s draft stock as an NFL prospect is not as clear-cut as Johnson’s. Many questions still remain about his transition from college to the pros. Although he too was able to impress some scouts and coaches at practice during the week, his performance in the game may have hurt his stock quite a bit.

Coming off a good season in which he threw for 3,629 yards and 25 touchdowns while only throwing five interceptions, McMaryion garnered a couple of interviews with both the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams.

Both players look to hear their name called at this year’s NFL draft on April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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