MOBILE - Thursday marked the last day of public, contact practice for both the North and South squads before they strap it on for real Saturday in the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Quarterbacks Sefo Liufau of Colorado, Nate Peterman of Pittsburgh and CJ Beathard all got reps from under center and from the shotgun. The trio of QBs also each took a turn running the two-minute drill.
Tight ends Michael Roberts of Toledo, Jonnu Smith of Florida International and Jeremy Sprinkle of Arkansas (one of two SEC players on the North squad) worked on getting off the block and getting open. They also worked on run blocking and catching as they look to showcase their talents Saturday and again starting Feb. 28 at the NFL Combine, and it was Sprinkle who impressed.
“It is good to come out here, play under new coaches and learn the system,” Sprinkle told The Cullman Tribune after Thursday’s practice. “Just try to show what you can do to the coaches and it has been a good experience for me.”
Sprinkle and fellow Arkansas teammate Toby Baker are the only two SEC players on the North squad. When asked how he feels about lining up against SEC players he has played against all year, Sprinkle said with a wry smile, “It will be just like old times. It will just be going back to competing. Going back out there and grinding. Playing against the best competition in the nation.”
With the tight end position becoming more and more of a go-top position in the NFL, Sprinkle will have a lot of eyes on him when he suits up Saturday and he is up to the challenge.
“My run blocking game, my speed and my route running,” the 6’6” Sprinkle said about the skill set he has worked on the most this week. “Showing off my hands. Just showing (NFL scouts) the things they know about me and also showing them the things I have been working on, my weaknesses and things like that.”
If Sprinkle has his way, he will show the South squad a thing or two come Saturday.
When the South took the field for their final practice Thursday, all eyes gravitated toward a 6’3” figure clad in yellow (the color reserved for quarterbacks during practice) with a large orange "T" emblazoned on his helmet. I am, of course, talking about former Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs.
Dobbs has impressed scouts and coaches alike this week in practice and garnered attention from the NFL, namely the Oakland Raiders, who reportedly had an extensive sit-down with Dobbs earlier in the week. The 210-pound QB is determined to make the most of his opportunity this week in Mobile.
“It is great to wear the T on your helmet one more time and to get to go out and compete with Cam (Sutton) on the other side of the ball and to get to finish off your college experience great, at the Senior Bowl, on this stage is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Dobbs said of his time in Mobile.
When asked of what he has gotten out of the week,he responded with a lot, including the opportunity to get coached up by an NFL staff, helping him grow as a player and get ready for the NFL Combine.
“It is always a constant improvement,” Dobbs responded when asked what skills he specifically worked on this week as he heads into the next chapter of his career. “My goals when I stepped on the field this week was to show my ability to make all the throws, arm accuracy and being able to do different things under center, and in the gun and in the pocket and to show I have what it takes to be a successful quarterback at the next level. To show off my football IQ and to show I am able to grasp an NFL offense quickly.”
Dobbs set out to prove that he was the best quarterback in this year’s Senior Bowl class and if the buzz from around the field is any indicator, he is well on his way to doing just that.
Stay connected with www.cullmansense.com, The Cullman Tribune and @CS_SportsEditor on Twitter for all of your up-to-date information, live from Mobile and the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl.
— Josh McBrayer (@CS_SportsEditor) January 26, 2017
— Josh McBrayer (@CS_SportsEditor) January 26, 2017
SEC tops Senior Bowl roster yet again
In what seems like it is becoming a trend, the Southeastern Conference once again has the most players of any conference making the trip to Mobile to play in the 2017 Senior Bowl.
Of the 14 SEC schools, 10 of them will have former players who accepted invites to the Senior Bowl, although some might not play due to injury. Leading the way for the SEC, as you might imagine, is the Alabama Crimson Tide with four accepted invites, although Rueben Foster and Jonathan Allen both declined their invitations. LSU also has four players attending.
Here is the list of SEC players participating:
Ryan Anderson OLB
OJ Howard TE
Cole Mazza LS
Dalvin Tomlinson DT
Montravious Adams DT
Jonathan Ford S
Toby Baker PT
Jeremy Sprinkle TE
Alex Anzalone ILB
Jarrad Davis OLB
Marcus Maye S
Jon Toth OC
Travin Dural WR
Ethan Pocic OC
Duke Riley ILB
Tre’Davious White DC
Fred Ross WR
Justin Senior OT
Evan Ingram TE
Cahd Kelly QB
Josh Dobbs QB
Cameron Sutton DC
Justin Evans S
Daeshon Hall DE
Josh Reynolds WR
Only four SEC schools do not have a representative in the 2017 Senior Bowl: the Georgia Bulldogs, Mizzou Tigers, South Carolina Gamecocks and the Vanderbilt Commodores.
The Senior Bowl is the premier proving ground for players and the last chance for them to showcase their talents before the NFL Combine. Seventenn Hall of Famers have played in the Senior Bowl, including Joe Namath, Walter Payton, Bo Jackson and Ray Nitschke. Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow also played along with 15 players who have won a Super Bowl, so make your plans to head on down to Mobile on Jan.28 to watch some of the best talent in the country do battle and maybe, just maybe, you will get to see a legend in the making.
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