Nick Tiano '15, most recently quarterback for the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga football team, was named the Most Valuable Player of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl played Jan. 18 in the Rose Bowl.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is a post-season college football all-star game for NFL draft-eligible college players, held annually in January. The event was founded in 2012 by the National Football League Players Association. According to the bowl game's website, it is the premier postseason all-star game for any draft-eligible college football player. More than just a game, this week-long experience provides players with the chance to showcase their game to NFL scouts and coaches, while learning from the best in the business. The Collegiate Bowl not only prepares players for the speed and intensity of professional football, but also for the business and lifestyle changes that come with it.
Tiano completed eight of ten passes for 135 yards and a touchdown, leading the National team to a 30-20 win over the American team, garnering him national attention, and boosting his chances for a pick in April's NFL draft.
"It definitely helped," Tiano told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "I talked to well over 20 (NFL teams) throughout the week. It was a great experience and a great opportunity. A few of them talked to me after the game as well.
"The whole week was an incredible experience. To play in the Rose Bowl, which is one of the coolest places to play football, was like a dream come true. It was a group of extremely talented players. We're all kind of in the same boat, trying to show what we can do to play at the next level. For a guy coming from a small school, it was a huge opportunity to get to show what I could do."
After leading the Red Raiders to the state semifinals in 2014, Tiano signed with Mississippi State and later transferred to UTC. He passed for approximately 5,000 yards and 29 touchdowns over the past two seasons and rushed for more than 400 yards and nine TDs in 2019 for the Mocs. He has since been training at the Landow Performance Group in Denver.