UCF Boys Showed Up and Showed Out at 2018 Senior Bowl
They say “the only thing you should ask for in life is an opportunity what you do with is up to you”. College football players big, small, short and tall from around the country were provided just that at the 69th annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama home of the Mardi Gras. The Renaissance Hotel was transformed into a haven of talent to be evaluated by NFL Scouts from every team. Players are interviewed, push and pulled in every direction possible to measure everything imaginable.
20 players from the FCS level and below were provided an opportunity to mix it up with the big dogs. Brandon Parker came North Carolina A&T (MEAC), Darius Leonard, South Carolina State (MEAC), Chandon Sullivan, Georgia State (Sunbelt), Michael Joseph, Dubuque, (division lll) and one I didn’t know existed nor can I pronounce, Humboldt State, Alex Cappa (Division ll). My point, if you have talent Executive Director Phil Savage and staff will find you and put you on the stage. For NFL Scouts they get to see how these players compare with players from the traditional powerhouse schools like National Champions Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, UCLA, and Georgia.
Three players from the Undefeated UCF Knights of the American Athletic Conference who are claiming the National Championship was impressive. They came to the big show with a mission to prove they belonged. Tre’Quon Smith was first to have an impact by scoring the games’ first touchdown on a 14-yard slant. Mike White the first ever QB from Western Kentucky to be invited to the Senior Bowl, zipped the pass into a crack and the ball stuck to his hands like glue. TE Jordan Akins caught 2 passes for 31 yards and stood out in practice all week.
ShaQuem Griffin was awarded best practice player and won hearts as the most inspirational football player in the country. Griffin was born with ABS his hand was amputated as a youth but he sees “no handicap nor does he view things in life hard, just challenges.” He is the former defensive player of the year for his conference and led the UCF Knights to a stunning victory over the Auburn Tigers in the Chic-fil-a Peach Bowl.
Phil Savage said “ he was the story of the game, of the week, the most inspiring player we have ever had come through here, at least, in my opinion, not only on the football field, but in the overall context of what he represents, and how he is going to influence people in the future.
The South Squad outscored the North Squad 45-16 on the scoreboard notice I did not say won. To play in this game, you have to be a winner and damn good. It was for players to raise their draft stock.
Baker Mayfield made an appearance it was the first time since Tim Tebo in 2010 when the Heisman Trophy winner has played in the Senior Bowl. He needed to shake his bad boy image and show scouts who he really is.
DJ Clark, the outstanding WR from LSU, captured the Most Valuable Player award for his performance, 5 catches for 160 yards and 1 touchdown.
Luke Falk in a display of love and respect for his teammate withdrew from the completion and went home to attend his friends’ funeral that committed suicide. We hear the term brother and brotherhood thrown around, almost to the point of a fashion statement Falks love for his football brother is beyond expression. On that one play, he threw for more yards in the Senior Bowl history and is my #1 pick overall.
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