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Brian Vogler shines at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Former Alabama tight end Brian Vogler has been overlooked throughout his career. He had a stage to himself Saturday, as he participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Team National pitched a 17-0 shutout at the StubHub Center (Carson, Calif.), but Vogler made his presence felt for Team America.

Vogler displayed exceptional blocking skills. He set the edge in the run game for Missouri’s running back, Marcus Murphy. Murphy led team America in rushing, totaling 47 yards on three carries. America recorded 81 rushing yards on 18 carries, averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

Vogler was able to explode off the ball, despite his size (6-7/263 lbs.). He was light on his feet, and ran crisp routes. Vogler showed capable hands, registering two catches for 21 yards. He averaged 10.5 yards per catch, including a 13-yard reception on third down. Vogler created separation, got to the middle of the field and responded with a catch to move the chains. He excelled on breaking off routes and rolling with Marshall’s quarterback, Rakeem Cato when he was under pressure. Vogler’s second reception resulted from finding holes in the zone.

NFL players like Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas are exciting, but there is still a need for fundamentally sound tight ends in the league. Vogler is one of those guys.

He doesn’t mind doing the dirty work, and can catch a pass when needed. Saturday’s performance has Vogler trending forward in strengthening his draft stock. Solid performances in the senior bowl, NFL combine and at Alabama’s Pro Day can add more shine to Vogler.

Vogler was a dependable teammate at Alabama (2011-14). He wasn’t discussed much, but he was a prime example of why head coach Nick Saban’s “The Process” works. He rarely caught a pass, yet Vogler never complained. He was an important factor in Alabama’s run game in 2014.

Vogler guided the backs to 206.6 yards per game and 35 touchdowns. He set the edge for T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry. Both backs finished with 900+ rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Vogler caught six passes for 27 yards and a touchdown in 2014. His finest season was in 2013, accounting for 71 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. Vogler’s career at Alabama ended with 17 catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns. He was a member of two Southeastern Conference titles (2012, 2014) and two national championships (2011, 2012 seasons).

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Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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