Not sure if I should really call this Day 1 or just check-in time. Although there was a pre-dinner Press Conference with a few introductory comments by Director Phil Savage.
Phil explained that despite the plethora of “drop-outs” from the original acceptances list it was really not more than in many recent years. Bowl injuries that still require treatment and agent advice always change the landscape by mid-January. Remember that potential players reply to the event as early as November, when their regular seasons end. He also explained two phenomenon that come into play with dropout situations:
There are quite a few players on today’s rosters that have previously been involved in other Star games. The gentlemen’s agreement in place is that if additional players are needed to fill in for dropouts the Senior Bowl will talk with agents with clients at other games, but even if they choose to accept the Senior Bowl invitation they must fulfill their original obligation to the prior game. CHAD THOMAS/DE, BRETT TOTH/OT, DaeSEAN HAMILTON/WR, JUSTIN WATSON/WR, POONA FORD/DT, & JOSH ALLEN/QB all participated in the Shrine Game last week and are scheduled to be here this week.
Even though all parties involved still do not see a practical way to meld underclassmen into the Star games, guys who have completed their course of studies by early January can be included in the mix. So though seeming to be “underclassmen” the following players are in Mobile based on their achievements in attendance and graduation credits from their colleges.
TAYLOR HEARN/OG, JORDAN AKINS/TE, TRE’QUAN SMITH/WR, HARRISON PHILLIPS/DT, BRIAN O’NEILL/OT, JOSH ALLEN/QB, BRYAN PRNGLE/WR, and TANNER LEE/QB.
BAKER MAYFIELD/QB is not in Mobile yet because of personal/family matters to take care of back in Texas. As of today Phil is expecting him in Mobile by Tuesday, PM practice.
We had a chance to meet and ask questions of JOSH ALLEN/QB, SHAQUEM GRIFFIN/LB & MARCUS DAVENPORT/DE. As has been the case in the past decade or so these young men are thoughtful and well spoken. DAVENPORT is being compared by many to ZIGGY ANSAH/LIONS who came to Mobile and ended up parlaying that appearance into being a first round Draft selection. He indicated he has heard that talk. SHAQUEM highlighted his brother SHAQUILL/Sea Hawks as being a guiding force and advisor since their high school days. ALLEN emphasized the influence of the Manning family on his attitude toward football since attending their passing academy last summer.
In yet another roster adjustment Phil mentioned that OT/DESMOND HARRISON/W.GEORGIA was basically sent home after failing his physical today, based on a lingering injury from late last season. They are very careful here to not put players at risk of aggravating injuries that may be pre-existing to their arrival here. QB/MASON RUDOLPH is in town, but will never don pads and will leave after the weigh-in Tomorrow because of a foot injury.
The annual weigh-in process is scheduled to kick off Tuesday morning at 7:30AM. Gonna be a full day for everyone, including the media. Get up, kep up, or be left behind troops.
Cheers from Mobile.