[Moderated by Matt Jones]
The Kentucky football team may have not performed the way we all had hoped this year. However, it doesn’t mean that this past season’s UK team lacked talented players. Seven former University of Kentucky football players accepted invites to play in post-season All-Star games. The deserving list includes kicker Craig McIntosh, offensive linemen Larry Warford and Matt Smith, wide receiver La’Rod King, defensive back Martavius Neloms, and defensive lineman Collins Ukwu and Taylor Wyndham. The list of games of which Kentucky will be represented are the 2013 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game, the 2013 Senior Bowl, and the 2013 Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game. If you have a little spare time before UK takes on Auburn tonight, the NFLPA game is beginning right now on ESPN2.
Casino Del Sol All-Star Game
The 2013 Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game is the second annual post-season football exhibition of draft eligible college seniors. The game provides a platform for selected, elite athletes to showcase their talents to scouts from the NFL, CFL, and Arena teams. Last year, six players from the 2012 roster were selected in the NFL Draft. Sixty-one other players the same year entered training camps with NFL teams.
Wyndham has already completed his senior All-Star game. It took place last weekend in Tucson, AZ. He racked in 27 tackles in his final season as a Wildcat, including 6 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks. How can we ever forget Wyndham’s most famous sack on former Gator Tim Tebow?
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
Saturday, Jan. 19th at 6:00 PM on ESPN2
Participants in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl receive an in-depth introduction to the union – the primary resource for information on the business of football and how to succeed in the NFL and in post-football careers.
Pro football players and coaching legends work with the game’s future stars, giving them first-hand insight on what it takes to win on and off of the field. Herm Edwards and Dick Vermeil will serve as the head coaches for the American and National Teams. Player Ambassadors for the game include former NFL players Terrell Davis, Hank Baskett, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Lorenzo Neal and Andre Reed.
McIntosh was first named a 2012 preseason kicker-to-watch for the Lou Groza award. He earned this selection after finishing the 2011 season ranked second in the SEC for field goal percentage making 12 of 14. He also was the Wildcat’s leading scorer with 56 total points. In 2012, McIntosh again lead the Wildcats during his final season scoring with 51 points.
2013 Senior Bowl
Saturday, Jan. 26th at 4:00 PM ET on the NFL Network
The Senior Bowl is the nation’s most unique football game and football’s premier pre-draft event, annually featuring the country’s best senior collegiate football stars and top NFL draft prospects on teams representing the North and South. The teams are coached by the entire coaching staffs from two National Football League teams.The SEC leads the way at this year’s Senior Bowl, filling nearly one-quarter of the roster spots for the 2013 game.
Warford had a great season to finish his career at Kentucky. In his senior year, Warford earned third-team All-American honors by The Associated Press and Phil Steele’s College Football. He did not allow a sack and he graded at 90.3 percent for the season. He also led the team with 45 crushing knockdown blocks. Warford is the 33rd player for Kentucky to receive the honor to play in this game, and the first since Derrick Locke in 2010.
2013 Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game
Saturday, Feb. 2nd at 2:30 ET on Fox Sports
The Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game features top collegiate players originally from Texas or who play college football in Texas against other top players from around the United States. According to its official web site, the game is ranked in the top 10 all-time in NFL signees for an all-star game. Including this year, UK has had 10 players in the game since it was inaugurated in 2007.
Smith was a three-year starting center for the Wildcats and had a stellar career at Kentucky.
King led the Wildcats in receiving with 48 catches for 488 yards and four touchdowns during his senior season. His career statistics as a Wildcat featured 134 catches for 1,706 yards and 17 touchdowns, ranking in the UK career top-10 list in each category.
Neloms played both cornerback and safety in 2012, recording 53 tackles, 2 caused fumbles and an interception vs. Florida.
Ukwu totaled 41 tackles in his final season, including 6 tackles for loss, 4 quarterback sacks, and caused 2 fumbles. On special teams, he also was credited with 2 blocked kicks.
Let’s give these guys a tip of the hat, they’ve earned it. Seven great careers to look back at Kentucky. I want to wish all of our seniors the best of luck, and I hope to see you guys playing on Sundays. Go Cats!
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