The Reese’s Senior Bowl opened up its fan voting to help commemorate and celebrate some of the all-time greats who have been invitees and participated in the best college football all-star game through the years. For those who haven’t been to Mobile, Alabama for the game it is a must for fans of the game of football. With that being said, let’s take a look at the selections who are available, first up is the offense. https://www.seniorbowl.com/75thteam/
Quarterback- Chad Pennington (Marshall), Philip Rivers (NC State), Dan Marino (Pittsburgh), Donovan McNabb (Syracuse), Russell Wilson (Wisconsin), Dak Prescott (Mississippi State), Josh Allen (Wyoming), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Steve McNair (Alcorn State), Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), Tim Tebow (Florida), Brett Favre (Southern Miss), Carson Palmer (Southern Cal)
The talent is evident with this quarterback class and a great mix of the talent that has come to the Senior Bowl over the years. Given the choice of two quarterbacks, who does one pick? There is a great selection of players that were mobile like Wilson and Tebow, pocket passers like Marino and Rivers. As the game has certainly evolved, the two areas that have always stood out have been arm strength and mobility. Those two qualities, seem to transcend, in this group, Marino was one of the first to have a cannon of an arm, while Favre and McNabb brought in a more dynamic play style with their added mobility to extend and make plays.
Running Back- Arian Foster (Tennessee), Ricky Waters (Notre Dame), Fred Taylor (Florida), Thurman Thomas (Oklahoma State), Curtis Martin (Pittsburgh), Brian Westbrook (Villanova), Larry Johnson (Penn State), Chris Johnson (East Carolina), Shaun Alexander (Alabama), Tiki Barber (Virginia), LaDainian Tomlinson (TCU), Matt Forte (Tulane), Kevin Faulk (LSU), Stephen Davis (Auburn), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma)
Similar to the quarterbacks this running back group is a who’s who of standouts. They have compiled a list of runners that made their marks running between the tackles as well as to the outside. There are backs with breakaway speed like Chris Johnson and players that like to run through defenders like Larry Johnson and Murray. All-purpose backs like Westbrook and Barber are included as well. While fans are allowed to pick three, who gets the nod? The ones that stood out were just those must-watch types of backs that could not only take the game over with their rushes but by catching the ball out of the backfield.
Fullback- Zack Crockett (Florida State), Ovie Mughelli (Wake Forest), Tony Richardson (Auburn), Kyle Juszcyk (Harvard), Jacob Hester (LSU), Greg Jones (FSU), Fred Beasley (Auburn), Daryl Johnston (Syracuse), Le’Ron McClain (Alabama), Michael Robinson (Penn State), Jim Kleinsasser (North Dakota), Peyton Hillis (Arkansas)
With the option of choosing one, fans are left with several solid choices and no wrong ones. Often tasked with helping pave the way for the running backs and with getting the tough yardage between the tackles these were powerful backs. With the added bonus of being a pass-catching when these guys got involved, there was a fan attraction to them.
Tight End- Jimmy Graham (Miami, FL), Daniel Graham (Colorado), Ben Watson (Georgia), Jack Doyle (Western Kentucky), Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State), Marcedes Lewis (UCLA), Chris Cooley (Utah State), Alge Crumpler (North Carolina), Evan Engram (Ole Miss)
Tight ends have earned an important role in most offenses today, from those whose strength is as a blocking tight end, to those who strive as more than just a red zone target and create mismatches lining up in the slot as an extra receiver. Picking just one in this group there is someone for everyone.
Wide Receivers- Roddy White (UAB), Torry Holt (NC State), Jordy Nelson (Kansas State), Deebo Samuel (South Carolina), Jake Reed (Grambling), Reggie Wayne (Miami, FL), Vincent Jackson (Northern Colorado), Ed McCaffrey (Stanford), Jimmy Smith (Jackson State), Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington), Terrell Owens (Tenn-Chattanooga), Hines Ward (Georgia), Chad Johnson (Oregon State)
With the wide receivers, they benefit the most from good quarterback play they also have the biggest influence on how quarterbacks are viewed. The standouts that played receiver had huge catch radius’ and always seemed to find ways to get open for their respective quarterbacks and teams. As quarterbacks got the ball to their playmakers, players like Jackson, Samuel, Owens, and Johnson seemed to find an extra gear and run away from defenders. On the other hand, when teams needed a catch, players like Ward, Kupp, and White always seemed to be the go-to players. The biggest group to select with the option to pick four, depending on personal preference, there is a deep group to choose from.
Offensive Tackle- Lomas Brown (Florida), Matt Light (Purdue), D’Brickshaw Ferguson (Virginia), Mitchell Schwartz (Cal), Bruce Armstrong (Louisville), Terron Armstead (Arkansas Pine-Bluff), Richmond Webb (Texas A&M), Lane Johnson (Oklahoma), Joe Staley (Central Michigan)
Getting to where games are won and lost, the tackle is one of the vital positions on the line. Often tasked with protecting the quarterback’s “blind side” as well as establishing and setting the edge to protect against rushing defenders and opening spots for the running backs to gain all-important yardage. We hear the term people movers when it comes to offensive linemen and tackles often, but this group has mountain movers like Ferguson and Brown. You have tackles that have great footwork and utilize their arms well to keep defenders at bay like Armstead and Johnson. Being able to choose three helps give these standouts some much-deserved credit.
Offensive guard- Andre Gurode (Colorado), Marshal Yanda (Iowa), Larry Allen (Sonoma State), Logan Mankins (Fresno State), Steve Hutchinson (Michigan), Zack Martin (Notre Dame), Randall McDaniel (Arizona State), Mike Iupati (Idaho), Joel Bitonio (Nevada)
The guard is an interesting position, similar to the tackles they do have to function as blockers to fend off defenses and open running lanes. There is also a track record of some transitioning from tackle to guard as they enter the NFL. Playing with a mean streak lends to their hand usage as they do their best to counter the interior defensive linemen and blitzing linebackers. Another position group where good use of feet and hands is essential. Picking three here gives voters several great options.
Center- Max Unger (Oregon), Kevin Mawae (LSU), Alex Mack (Cal), Tom Nalen (Boston College), Rodney Hudson (Florida State), Ryan Kalil (USC), Dermontti Dawson (Kentucky), Nick Mangold (Ohio State)
Center is the beating heart of the offensive line, between having to read/diagnose the defense for the rest of the linemen and having to have the timing down between themselves and the quarterback for the snap there is a lot on their plate. The centers on this list are all top-notch and some of the best to ever play. The choice of one is a tough one.