Senior Bowl

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The Senior Bowl is moving, but it’s not moving far

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Beginning in 2021, there will be a new home for the Senior Bowl. The nation’s top college all-star game will move to Hancock Whitney Stadium, the home stadium of South Alabama. The move brings an end to a long-standing institution in Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile.

“The Reese’s Senior Bowl Board of Trustees voted unanimously on March 4, 2020 to agree to a multi-year deal with the University of South Alabama to play the nationally televised Reese’s Senior Bowl game and its week of practices at Hancock Whitney Stadium, a brand new 25,000-seat state-of-the-art stadium located on the campus of the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, beginning in 2021,” Angus R. Cooper II, Chairman and President of the Senior Bowl Board of Trustees, said in a released statement on Wednesday.

Ladd-Pebbles Stadium has hosted the Senior Bowl since 1951. The stadium has also served as the host to South Alabama’s football program since 2009, but the Jaguars are preparing to move into their new digs this fall. South Alabama’s new football stadium may be smaller in stadium capacity (25,000 compared to the 40,000 seats located in Ladd-Pebbles Stadium), but the venue will be much more modern and equipped to handle such an event like the Senior Bowl.

The Senior Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2021 next offseason.

Joe Burrow reportedly passing on Senior Bowl

Joe Burrow LSU
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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will reportedly be passing on the opportunity to play in next week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Ben Baby, who covers the Cincinnati Bengals for ESPN, reported the Burrow Senior Bowl news, via Twitter, Saturday morning.

The Senior Bowl is the highest-regarded college football all-star game and is the last major offseason event on the NFL Draft schedule before the annual scouting combine. Many of the nation’s top seniors will arrive in Mobile, Alabama next week to begin a week of workouts instructed by coaches from the NFL. This year’s Senior Bowl teams will be coached by the staffs from the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions.

The Bengals own the top draft pick in this year’s NFL Draft, and they just so happen to be a team many believe might draft Burrow to inject some life into the Bengals offense. The Lions own the No. 3 overall pick. The Senior Bowl is attended by scouts and coaches from around the NFL, and with the top tier of seniors typically at the Senior Bowl, the whole week is a terrific opportunity for seniors to impress their future employers.

Of course, Burrow not playing in the Senior Bowl will be made out by some to be a negative on his draft profile, but that should not be the case. Burrow admitted to playing the national championship game against Clemson with a rib injury. Coming off a historic season that saw Burrow break the NCAA record for most passing touchdowns in a single season (and doing so in the SEC), missing out on the Senior Bowl shouldn’t be a concern. The Heisman Trophy winner has done more than enough to raise his draft stock for 2020 off the wild successes of the 2019 season. Burrow will still get a chance to focus on the scouting combine and decide what’s best for him in Indianapolis.

Jake Ganus representing UAB at Senior Bowl

AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool
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Linebacker Jake Ganus transferred to Georgia last year following the abrupt shutdown of the UAB football program by the school. Ganus went on to have a standout season in Athens and earned team MVP honors. Now at the Senior Bowl, Ganus is staying true to his roots and representing the UAB program back in Alabama.

“I’ve had that helmet with me for a while,” Ganus after Senior Bowl practice Thursday, per SEC Country. “I spent three years there, I have hundreds of teammates and a bunch of coaches. I just wanted today to be the day I could just honor them. It’s all about my teammates. They got me to Georgia, those coaches got me to Georgia, those coaches they gave me a scholarship and I’m grateful to them and UAB for that. I’ll be wearing the Georgia helmet on Saturday, but I just want to take a day and thank them.”

Of course, nobody from the Georgia community will be likely to have a problem not seeing Ganus wearing the signature red helmet with the “G” logo, considering the story that led Ganus to Georgia. But don’t worry Georgia fans, Ganus appreciates all of your support too.

“I’ve got two fan bases behind me, it’s awesome.”

UAB reversed its original decision to eliminate football, but the Blazers are not expected to play again until the 2017 season at the earliest. UAB head coach Bill Clark has remained committed to seeing the program return to the field despite reports of Southern Mississippi having interest in the Blazers coach taking over as its head coach.

Senior Bowl was a Twitter winner ahead of UFC and college hoops

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The week between the NFL’s conference championship Sunday and the Super Bowl tends to be a rough one for sports on TV. But even when things look bleak, football finds a way to come out a winner.

Saturday’s Senior Bowl was the number one sports program being tweeted about yesterday, according to the overnight numbers from Nielsen. The Senior Bowl, which aired on NFL Network, saw a larger unique audience on Twitter than UFC Fight Night on FOX and a men’s college basketball game between Michigan and Wisconsin airing on ESPN.

Per Nielsen’s numbers, over 2 million Twitter users keeping tabs on the Senior Bowl, which was won by the North. The college football all-star event stayed just ahead of the UFC fight, which had 1.976 million paying attention on Twitter. The UFC event did have more unique authors (31,000 different unique authors) than the Senior Bowl (19,000 unique authors on Twitter).

Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings: Unique Audience (1/24/2015)

1. Senior Bowl, NFL Network – 2,003,000

2. UFC Fight Night, FOX – 1,976,000

3. College Basketball (Michigan vs. Wisconsin), ESPN – 1,804,000

4. Spanish Primera Division Soccer (Cordoba CF vs. Real Madrid CF), beIN Sports – 1,775,000

5. NBA Basketball (Detroit vs. Milwaukee), NBA TV – 1,758,000

Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings: Unique Authors (1/24/2015)

1. UFC Fight Night, FOX – 31,000

2. Spanish Primera Division Soccer (Cordoba CF vs. Real Madrid CF), beIN Sports – 26,000

3. Senior Bowl, NFL Network – 19,000

4. NBA Basketball (Detroit vs. Milwaukee), NBA TV – 14,000

5. College Basketball (Michigan vs. Wisconsin), ESPN – 13,000

Auburn QB Nick Marshall on Senior Bowl waiting list

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The Senior Bowl is the elite all-star game for college football’s finest looking to take the next step toward the NFL. For Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, it remains to be seen whether or not he will be invited beyond the velvet rope in Mobile, Alabama later this month. Right now he is on the waiting list.

There are two invitations awaiting a response to fill the official Senior Bowl roster. Those invites have been extended to Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and UCLA’s Brett Hundley, according to Al.com. Should either turn down the invitation, Marshall could slide right in.

There is even a chance Marshall could play in the game at a position other than quarterback. With scouts not likely to take a look at Marshall for his passing skills, the Senior Bowl could be a good opportunity for Marshall to open some eyes at another position. Defensive back even seems to be one option.

“Nick Marshall’s still very much a viable option for us at quarterback and/or at defensive back,” Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage said in an interview with Al.com.

It is not expected Mariota or Hundley will turn down the opportunity to attend the Senior Bowl, because it is a valuable resource for draft prospects and few turn down the invite to the event. However, even if Mariota and Hundley end up accepting their invites and filling the roster spots, there may still be hope for Marshall as spots can easily open up between now and the end of the month for one reason or another.

The Senior Bowl is scheduled for January 24 in Mobile, Alabama.