The countdown to the 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl has officially begun. The game announced the first group of players to accept invitations to the 67th game, set to be played January 30 at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Nineteen players are in the first wave of accepted invites. Included in the initial group are Georgia outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, Illinois defensive lineman Jihad Ward, Louisville defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins and North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.
Accepted invites will be announced each Tuesday on Twitter (@seniorbowl).
Here is a brief bio on each of the 19 players who have accepted their invitation to the 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl (alphabetical):
Evan Boehm | OC | Missouri – Four-year starter at center and the leader of the offensive line. Has the school record with 50 (and counting) consecutive starts.
James Bradberry | CB | Samford – Has started in four seasons. Four of his 42 tackles this season are for a loss, has one interception and eight pass breakups in 2015.
Sean Davis | CB | Maryland – A big corner (6’1”) has more than 300 career tackles including 71 this season, good for second on his team. One of the more physical corners in the country that’s also played safety.
Josh Garnett | OG | Stanford – Latest in line of solid OG from Stanford. The 6-5, 321-pounder is on the Outland Trophy watch list and a preseason first-team All-American by USA Today.
Deiondre’ Hall | CB | Northern Iowa – An FCS All-American, has six interceptions through 10 games in 2015.
Matt Ioannidis | DT | Temple – Three-year starter has racked up 11 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2015.
Jordan Jenkins | OLB | Georgia – Potential first-round pick has 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 2015.
Miles Killebrew | S | Southern Utah – A 6’3”, 230-pound safety, has a team-high 105 tackles in 10 games this season. One of the best safeties in the nation.
Jay Lee | WR | Baylor – Deep threat in Baylor’s passing game. Averaging over 20 yards per catch with a career-high seven touchdowns this season.
Blake Martinez | LB | Stanford – A Butkus Award semifinalist, has a team-high 100 tackles (57 more than any teammate) and 4.5 tackles for loss in 2015.
Tyler Matakevich | LB | Temple – Listed on watch lists for Lombardi, Butkus, Bednarik, Nagurski, Lott IMPACT Awards. A tackling machine, only third player in school history with 100+ tackles in three straight seasons.
Malcolm Mitchell | WR | Georgia – Has started in four seasons. Has 45 catches for 637 yards in 2015. Also played cornerback and has special teams versatility. Authored a children’s book this offseason.
Sheldon Rankins | DT | Louisville – A strong force in the front seven against the run and pass. Has 9.0 tackles for los and 5.5 sacks in 2015.
Charles Tapper | DE | Oklahoma – Three-year starter and All-Big 12 performer. Has posted a career-high 6.0 sacks in 2015 with three forced fumbles.
Cole Toner | OT | Harvard – Second-year starter and the Ivy League’s top NFL prospect. All-Ivy League first team in 2014.
Dan Vitale | FB | Northwestern – A key cog in the Wildcats offense in his third-year as the starting “superback.” Averaging a career-high 11.5 yards per catch in 2015.
Jihad Ward | DE | Illinois – Former top junior college prospect that’s become an All-Big Ten player. Has five career fumble recoveries.
Carson Wentz | QB | North Dakota State – Tall (6’6”) and athletic quarterback. Most Outstanding Player of the 2015 FCS Championship. Led 15-1 season and national championship in 2014. 2015 season cut short by wrist injury but will he healthy come January.
Bryce Williams | TE | East Carolina – Big target (6’6”) and sure-handed. Second-Team All-American Athletic in 2014. Leads all tight ends with 507 receiving yards in 2015.