By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
Since 1951, the Senior Bowl has been one of the most anticipated and well-received sporting events in the city of Mobile. Every year, some of the top collegiate seniors in the sport of College Football to come be evaluated by NFL scouts and coaches in a three-day practice setting and then followed by the main game on that Saturday. The city of Mobile generates much revenue, traffic, and acknowledgment through this huge post-season all-star weeklong event.
Weather conditions forced the last day of the Senior Bowl practices last Thursday to be moved from Ladd-Peebles Stadium to the University of South Alabama’s climate-controlled football facility. This is not uncommon for teams to participate in their practices on South’s campus. The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns of the Sun Belt and the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks of the MAC had their practices for the 2020 LendingTree Bowl on South’s campus.
Neither team missed a beat as the North and South Squad practiced their main position drills, one-on-one matchups, and pass and run game orientated team periods. This year’s Senior Bowl featured some of the top senior prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft including six participates that are projected to first-round selections. Former Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert was the 2020 Rose Bowl MVP after a stellar senior season. He is projected to be to the sixth player selected in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Chargers after a stellar Senior Bowl week. Hebert was named MVP of the Senior Bowl week and the game as well.
Former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was a fan favorite of the entire Senior Bowl event. Other players that participated on day three of the Senior Bowl practice on USA’s campus was Auburn cornerback Javaris Davis, Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, Tennessee wide receiver Jauan Jennings, Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, and Georgia Southern cornerback Kindle Vildor.
For the second year in a row, the Senior Bowl did not have a South Alabama Jaguar football player on either the North’s or South’s roster. The last former Jaguar to play in the Senior Bowl was safety Jeremy Reaves in the 2018 Senior Bowl. He recorded an interception in the game. Reaves was able to make a name for himself in his post-collegiate career as he is now a contributor for the Washington Redskins.
Four other former South Alabama Jaguars that participated in the Senior Bowl include tight end Gerald Everett (2017), linebacker Jake Johnson (2013), defensive back B.J. Scott (2013), and wide receiver Courtney Smith (2011). Everett has been the only former South Alabama Jaguar to be selected in the NFL Draft as he drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft in the second round with the 44th overall pick.
One of the most significant snubs in this year’s Senior Bowl selections was South Alabama Jaguars running back Tra Minter. It was difficult for Minter to be snubbed for the Senior Bowl especially with the excellent individual 2019 season he experienced and the last practice day was his home practice field on campus. On the day of the practice on South’s campus, Minter voiced his displeasure of the snub on Twitter by stating he belongs there and finished his tweet with #KeepSleeping.
Minter, the Senior Bowl participants, and more many Draft prospects will be able to showcase their talent and potential starting on February 23rd in the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.