Non-seniors to play in Senior Bowl

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 19, 2013
The NFL has cleared two non-seniors to compete in the Senior Bowl for the first time, opening the door to a wider pool of draft prospects for future games. Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage said Saturday that fourth-year junior offensive linemen D.J. Fluker of Alabama and Justin Pugh of Syracuse received that clearance. Both have graduated. ''This is a breakthrough moment for the Senior Bowl game because the league allowed us to bring in these two players who graduated in December and were on campus for four years and their coach supported their candidacy for the Senior Bowl,'' said Savage, a former Cleveland Browns general manager. ''The reason we wanted to do this was because in the past there have been a number of fourth-year juniors who had graduated who were not allowed to play in the Senior Bowl.'' Savage said players who would have qualified last year included Baylor's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III and Alabama All-America linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Both were first-round draft picks. ''It would have certainly made the Senior Bowl potentially a better game,'' Savage said. ''It would have given those players an opportunity to not only be rewarded but have an extra evaluating period for NFL scouts.'' He said the Senior Bowl isn't interesting in admitting third-year juniors or early draft entries who haven't graduated. Savage said the Senior Bowl approached the NFL last June ''about possibly breaking new ground'' and then went back to the league with a small group of candidates for the game. He said the NFL granted permission to include Fluker and Pugh this week. Fluker was a second-team All-America right tackle who helped the Crimson Tide to two straight national titles. He played for nearby Foley High School but is nursing a calf injury and won't play. Pugh started every game he played at Syracuse and was an All-Big East selection the past two seasons. He'll play with his former quarterback, Ryan Nassib, on the North squad. ''We felt like that we put a lot of time and energy into getting this done and he was deserving of the recognition of being one of this duo of players that will always be remembers as the first two juniors,'' he said.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The 22 most iconic college football traditions
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

‘Field of Dreams’ 24-diamond complex clears final hurdle, will build on site from film

Dorial Green-Beckham fined for wearing non-charity Yeezy cleats

Chargers GM won’t commit to Mike McCoy’s return in 2017

Report: Police close to arresting Matt Barnes for alleged assault

Carmelo: Cryptic Instagram posts were about Phil Jackson

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

DeMarcus Cousins trade rumors won’t go away

NFL folks think Jabrill Peppers ‘more hype than substance'?

Joe Haden: Winless Browns the 'laughingstock of every joke’

Did Del Rio give Reid the stink eye after Thursday’s game?

Lane Kiffin reportedly believed Houston job was his

Harbaugh stands by claim Pats broke rules in 2015 playoff game

Winners, losers and what is still pending from baseball's 2016 Winter Meetings

Why UCLA's Lonzo Ball is the most interesting player in college hoops

The NBA goes courtside to curbside: Drinks and rides for discerning fans

The best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

CFB Crash Course, Graduation: Final grades and awards

NHL All-Star Game fans are in search of another John Scott

Box Score 12/9: Carey Price has had enough of your nonsense

MLB Winter Meetings, Day 4: News, notes and rumors

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

Ten most significant developments of the NBA season

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Winners, losers and what is still pending from the 2016 Winter Meetings

Why UCLA's Lonzo Ball is the most interesting player in college hoops

The NBA goes courtside to curbside: Drinks and rides for discerning fans

CFB Crash Course, Graduation: Final grades and awards

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

NHL All-Star Game fans are in search of another John Scott

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings, Day 4: News, notes and rumors

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker