Football: Neild Invited to Senior Bowl

  • By Senior Bowl
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  • January 20, 2011 04:54 PM
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MOBILE, Ala. — Seven seniors from five different BIG EAST schools will showcase their talents in front of the National Football League next week at the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl.

Among the BIG EAST players officially accepting invitations are the conference’s leading tackler in Connecticut’s Lawrence Wilson and its touchdown leader in Louisville’s Bilal Powell. The 2011 game is scheduled for Saturday, January 29th in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3pm (CT) and the game and all practices will be televised by NFL Network.

Of the seven BIG EAST players slated to play in this year’s game, six were All-Conference selections. It’s a group that also includes West Virginia running back Noel Devine, who finished his career ranked fourth on the BIG EAST’s all-time rushing list with 4,317 yards.

“This is a very talented group with some outstanding running backs in Devine and Powell,” Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale said. “All seven of these players made major impacts on their respective programs over the course of their careers and we’re looking forward to watching them compete here at the Senior Bowl next week.”

Louisville and West Virginia are tied with the most participants in this year’s game with two each. Representing the Cardinals will be Powell and defensive back Johnny Patrick. The Mountaineers are sending Devine and defensive lineman Chris Neild. Other BIG EAST participants include: UConn linebacker Lawrence Wilson, Rutgers defensive back Joe Lefeged and Pittsburgh offensive lineman Jason Pinkston.

Wilson, Lefeged and Pinkston will all play for the North squad next week which will be coached by Marvin Lewis and his Cincinnati Bengals staff. Powell, Patrick, Devine and Neild will suit up for the South which will be under the direction of Chan Gailey and the Buffalo Bills coaching staff. Of the seven players from the BIG EAST all but Devine are new additions to the roster. Those new additions are listed below.

Louisville running back Bilal Powell was a first team All-BIG EAST selection in 2010 after finishing second in the league with 1,405 rushing yards and first in touchdowns scored with 14. He tied a Louisville record with seven 100-yard rushing games this season and went over the 200-yard mark twice this year. He had 11 rushing touchdowns on the year and his total rushing yardage is the second-most for a single-season in school history.

Powell proved to be a threat as a receiver as well, reeling in 18 passes for 158 yards and three scores this season. For his career, Powell rushed for 2,338 yards and 19 touchdowns. He leaves Louisville ranked ninth on the school’s all-time rushing list.

Johnny Patrick recorded a team-high five interceptions his senior season and landed on the BIG EAST’s first team defense in 2010. The defensive back finished the season with 51 tackles and tied for the conference lead with 17 passes defended. He returned one of his interceptions for a touchdown this season and capped off the year with an outstanding bowl game—forcing a fumble and blocking a kick in a win over Southern Miss. Patrick finished his career having started his final 27 games. He totaled 171 total tackles and nine interceptions over his four year career.

Lawrence Wilson will be celebrating a homecoming of sorts next week in Mobile. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama native returns to his home state after a standout career at UConn. The linebacker was a first team All-BIG EAST selection this season after leading the conference in tackles with 123. He also added 10.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks for the Huskies this year. Among his many highlights in 2010 was a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown against South Florida.

Wilson started 50 games for the Huskies the past four years and leaves the school ranked second all-time in tackles (449). He had five career interceptions and returned three of those for touchdowns.

Chris Neild will be joining his teammate Noel Devine in Mobile next week as a member of the South squad. The West Virginia defensive tackle was a three year starter for the Mountaineers and a first team All-BIG EAST selection this season. He recorded 35 tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks in 2010 and was a part of a defensive unit that ranked first in the BIG EAST and third in the nation in total defense (261.1 ypg). Neild leaves West Virginia with 130 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss and six sacks.

Joe Lefeged(pronounced Lah-FEJ) was a second team All-BIG EAST selection for the Scarlet Knights in 2010. The Germantown, Maryland native was a duel threat for Rutgers—finishing second on the team in tackles (84) from his strong safety spot and breaking the school record for kickoff return yards in a season (948) this year. He wrapped up his career with 238 tackles, 7 sacks and two interceptions. He also tallied 1,304 career kickoff return yards—good enough for fifth-most in school history.

Pittsburgh’s Jason Pinkston was a two-time first team All-BIG EAST selection for the Panthers. The left tackle helped pave the way for an offensive unit that ranked third in the conference in rushing (165.7) in 2010. He made 41 starts over the course of his four year career, including his final 26 straight.

BIG EAST Players in the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl

Connecticut: Lawrence Wilson, LB
Louisville: Johnny Patrick, DB; Bilal Powell, RB
Pittsburgh: Jason Pinkston, OL
Rutgers: Joe Lefeged, DB
West Virginia: Noel Devine, RB; Chris Neild, DL

Tickets for the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl are currently available for purchase at the Senior Bowl ticket office (151 Dauphin Street), the Bel Air Mall customer service desk, all area Food For Less locations, select Regions Bank locations, online at www.seniorbowl.com or by calling (251) 432-4109.

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