Jan. 22, 2008
BERKELEY - A trio of California stars - running back Justin Forsett, defensive back Thomas DeCoud and wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins -- are among the 100 top senior NFL draft prospects participating in the 2008 Under Armour Senior Bowl this week in Mobile, Alabama.
The California trio reported to Mobile this past weekend and had their first practice Monday afternoon. They are playing on the Under Armour Senior Bowl's North squad, which is being coached by Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin and his staff.
DeCoud, Forsett and Hawkins are three of six Golden Bears to earn invites to senior all-star games this postseason. Offensive tackle Mike Gibson and tight end Craig Stevens played in the 83rd East-West Shrine Game this past Saturday; and receiver Robert Jordan was the West MVP of the Cornerstone Hula Bowl two weeks ago.
Cal has had 22 players participate in the Senior Bowl, including eight since Jeff Tedford's arrival - Tully Banta-Cain and Kyle Boller (2003); Lorenzo Alexander and J.J. Arrington (2005), Ryan O'Callaghan and Marvin Philip (2006) and Daymeion Hughes and Brandon Mebane (2007). All eight remain active in the NFL.
The players will have one practice per day during Senior Bowl Week, capped off by the 59th annual Under Armour Senior Bowl game on Saturday, January 26. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (Pacific) in Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium and the contest will be nationally-televised by the NFL Network.
Fans will also be able to follow the players' progress through the NFL Network's extensive coverage of this year's Senior Bowl practices, as over 21 hours of Senior Bowl content will air during the week and one game day. NFL Network telecasts will air on Monday through Thursday of the week, including live practice coverage and nightly recap shows in primetime.
The Under Armour Senior Bowl is the nation's most unique football game and football's premier pre-draft event, annually featuring the country's best senior NFL draft prospects on teams representing the North and South that are coached by the entire coaching staffs from two National Football League teams. The Senior Bowl is also attended by over 800 NFL coaches, scouts and other front office personnel each year.
Over 575 former Senior Bowl players are currently active in the NFL, and the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl rosters features 25 former Senior Bowl players. A total of 90 players from the 2007 Under Armour Senior Bowl were selected in the 2007 NFL Draft, including 12 first-round picks.
The South squad is being coached by San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan and his staff.
Last year, the Senior Bowl produced 12 first-round picks in the NFL Draft, 90 total selections and a top five choice for the seventh consecutive year. 2007 Senior Bowl participant Patrick Willis was named the 2007 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press and is one of 25 former Senior Bowl participants to be named to the 2008 Pro Bowl.
Over 575 former Senior Bowl players were on active rosters in the NFL in 2007, that group included the NFL's leading rusher, LaDainian Tomlinson of the Chargers, its leading receiver in Reggie Wayne of the Colts, its leading tackler in rookie Willis of the 49ers, and the Eagles' Brian Westbrook, who led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage.
The Senior Bowl is also a non-profit, charitable event that has donated over $4.2 million through the Food World-Senior Bowl Charitable Partnership over the last ten years.
The Golden Bears posted their sixth straight winning season in 2007, capping the year with a come-from-behind 42-36 triumph over Air Force in the Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl. The bowl victory was the fourth for Tedford - no other Cal coach has won more than two. It is the first time in program history that Cal has advanced to five straight bowl games and the first time in over 50 years that the Bears have posted five straight winning seasons.