Senior Bowl Recap & Reaction
College football action didn’t end with the Georgia Bulldogs winning the National Championship over the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Senior Bowl took place this past Saturday in Mobile, Alabama as some of the best and brightest in the 2022 NFL Draft class took the stage in front of NFL scouts from all 32 teams.
The American Team led by the Detroit Lions coaching staff went head to head with the National Team led by the New York Jets coaching staff. For the Lions, the worst team in the NFC, and the Jets, the fourth worst team in football, this provided their staffs a chance to work with players and evaluate talent first hand throughout the week.
Though the National defeated the American 20-10, the outcome isn’t as important to these players as boosting their draft stock was and for some players, this week went a long way towards gaining them even more notoriety.
Starting with the quarterbacks, a weak quarterback class meant the buzz would be on other positions throughout the week. Regardless, Malik Willis, the signal caller from Liberty University proved to be one of the stars of the week. Willis is not a perfect prospect, he is still relatively raw, but the physical and mental gifts were there and the buzz around the league is that those traits were on full display this week, with USA Today’s Luke Easterling going as far as to say, “Malik Willis ain't getting out of the top 10."
Elsewhere, quarterback wise, both Kenny Pickett and Desmond Ridder put together nice games, combining for three touchdowns with Pickett finishing with a perfect completion percentage on the afternoon.
Both men also helped elevate their respective draft stocks and now look towards the combine to try to catch Willis who is beginning to receive buzz as the consensus number one quarterback.
The MVP on the day was Oklahoma defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey. Winfrey posted 2.0 sacks and 3.0 TFLs, winning the award to join Dee Ford and Brandon Graham as the only defensive players to win it since 1995. Winfrey is currently projected to be a second-round pick in most mock drafts, but the MVP win and his strong week of practices may have vaulted him into becoming a potential selection in the first round.
As for other standouts, tight ends Trey McBride and Jake Ferguson both posted a touchdown each capping off strong weeks for both as they jockey for position in the race to be named as the top tight end in the class. Alontae Taylor and JT Woods each nabbed an interception in the contest with Taylor intercepting Carson Strong and Woods picking off Bailey Zappe.
Lastly, Abram Smith had 67 scrimmage yards and a score, as the Baylor product posted a great day.
As for the Nittany Lions, linebacker Jesse Luketa shined the brightest, having a fantastic week of practice where he showed his abilities as both a pass rusher, a weak side linebacker and a middle linebacker. He then capped the performances off with a strong outing in Saturday’s contest.
Dylan Price is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
First Year / Broadcast Journalism
Dylan Price is a first year student at Pennsylvania State University studying Journalism in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.
Dylan currently serves as a member of CommRadio at Penn State where he works with other students to cover Penn State and national sports. Outside of sports media, Dylan is an Eagle Scout and serves as a board member for FOTO, a special interest organization benefiting THON. Dylan also hosts his own podcast called, “Ambitious with Dylan Price” where he interviews NFL players, College Football coaches, NASCAR Champions, NHL Legends, Mental Health Advocates, ESPY Award Winners and Former U.S. Senators. Dylan also works as a staff writer for Empire Sports Media and Turn On The Jets covering the New York Jets, New York Yankees, Baseball, Boxing and NASCAR. Dylan intends to graduate and pursue a career in media or coaching as his biggest passion is entertaining and helping others.