Respect for the FCS level appears to be growing on the NFL level.
A contingent of 24 players from FCS schools have been invited to the NFL Combine to held over Feb. 20-26 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The official list was announced by the NFL on Thursday.
Headling the offensive group was a strong group of wide receivers: Jacksonville State's Alan Bonner, Eastern Kentucky's Tyrone Goard, Eastern Washington's Brandon Kaufman, Elon's Aaron Mellette, Tennessee Tech's Darick Rogers and Lehigh's Ryan Spadola.
There also were six offensive linemen: Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Terron Armstead, Tennessee State's Rogers Gaines, Alabama A&M's Jamaal Johnson-Webb, Youngstown State's Lamar Mady, Cornell's J.C. Tretter and James Madison's Earl Watford.
In addition, Southern Utah quarterback Brad Sorensen and Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet, the 2012 Walter Payton Award runner-up, received invitations.
Defensively, there were four FCS cornerbacks: Southeastern Louisiana's Robert Alford, Appalachian State's Demetrius McCray, Sam Houston State's Dax Swanson and William & Mary's B.W. Webb.
Also invited were linebackers Brandon Hepburn of Florida A&M and Keith Pough of Howard; defensive tackles Montori Hughes of UT Martin and Jared Smith of New Hampshire; Samford defensive end Nick Williams; and Georgia Southern safety J.J. Wilcox.
All 32 NFL teams will evaluate about 340 of the nation's top college players for the NFL Draft. Participants will be scheduled by position over the final four days of the Combine.
The draft will be held April 26-28 in New York.