As if you needed another example of just how good the college football talent is in the south, the South is leading the North 20-3 at halftime in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood has 42 receiving yards and a touchdown, but Colorado State’s Crockett Gillmore leads all players with 51 yards and a touchdown and two of the better catches in the half. Auburn defensive lineman Dee Ford has been having a productive game on the line, always finding his way in the backfield regardless of the North quarterback. Ford has a pair of sacks and a deflected pass right back in the face of Miami quarterback Stephen Morris.
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr had a great week of practice and has established some momentum heading closer to the NFL Draft, and he tossed the first touchdown of the game midway through the first quarter. Carr’s pass was slightly behind Gillmore on the run, but the Rams standout managed to get his hands on the football and run the rest of the way to the end zone on a 17-yard scoring play. The other touchdown of the half was tossed by another Mountain West quarterback, San Jose State’s David Fales. Fales managed to find a wide open Norwood while on the move to get away from pressure midway through the second quarter.
Auburn kicker Cody Parkey has kicked two field goals, one from 50 yards and a second from 39 yards, to help pad the South lead.
Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald will have to make room on his trophy shelf for at least one more award. Donald was named the top practice player at the Senior Bowl practices this week.
“Donald is a very explosive defensive tackle,” said Mike Smith, the coach of the Atlanta Falcons, in a statement released by the Senior Bowl. The Falcons coaching staff is coaching the North team in this year’s Senior Bowl. “I’ve been very impressed with him. He’s short in stature by NFL standards and doesn’t maybe have all the measurables, but he’s one of the more explosive guys we have on the North squad. He’s done a very nice job both in the running and the pass game.”
Donald cleaned up on the college football awards circuit. He was named the winner of the Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski Award, Lombardi Award and Chuck Bednarik Award in addition to being named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American.
The Senior Bowl also handed out awards for the top players by position. Auburn’s Dee Ford was named the most outstanding defensive lineman, which is somewhat humorous considering Donald is also a defensive lineman. Northern Illinois defensive back Jimmie Ward, West Virginia running back Charles Sims, Iowa wide receiver C.J. Fiedorowicz, Notre Dame offensive lineman Zach Martin, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland and Auburn kicker Cody Parkey have all been recognized for their performance in practices this week as well.
Last year’s top practice player at the Senior Bowl was Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher, who went on to be the number one overall draft pick. Donald may not be the number one pick in this year’s upcoming NFL Draft, but his stock certainly could not be much higher at this point. With NFL scouts and coaches gathering at the Senior Bowl, what a potential draft pick does during practices at the Senior Bowl tends to carry more weight than anything that happens during the actual game, although ending the week on a high note with a solid game performance certainly helps.