by Jordan Parry
Bowl games have come and gone, but for several Arizona State football stars, the season is not entirely complete just yet. The Senior Bowl, which includes Will Sutton and Marion Grice, the East-West Shrine Game being participated in by Alden Darby and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl featuring Chris Young and Chris Coyles gives these Sun Devils one more game to present their talents to evaluators and raise their pro draft stocks on the gridiron for the last time.
Before partaking in the Senior Bowl, though, Sutton has business to attend to in Seattle on Jan. 16 when he is poised to hoist the Morris Trophy, given to the top offensive and defensive lineman in the Pac-12, for the second-straight year. He becomes the seventh Sun Devil to win the award and the first to do so in back-to-back seasons.
Sutton will accept his award at 1:00 p.m. MT from the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, and will have nine days before competing in the Senior Bowl alongside his standout teammate at running back, Grice.
The 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl, played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., will be played at 2:00 p.m. MT on Jan. 25. The game, which pins the North against the South, has been around since 1950 and seen former NFL players such as Walter Payton, Dan Marino, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath take the field, as well as current NFL players from the likes of Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Patrick Willis, DeMarcus Ware and Clay Matthews.
Sutton and Grice will become the 50th and 51st Sun Devils to compete in the historic annual meeting, a game which has seen the likes of former ASU greats such as Danny White, Shante Carver, Jake Plummer, J.R. Redmond and Adam Archuleta all compete, as well as many others. The last Arizona State alums to compete were Garth Gerhart and Gerell Robinson in 2012.
There will be 110 talented draft-eligible seniors competing in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl all-star game on Saturday, Jan 18 at StubHub Center on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif., including Young and Coyle.
The event was established in part to prepare draft-eligible college football players for a career in the NFL. During the week preceding the game, the NFLPA provides an introduction to the players union and educates players on the business side of an NFL career. Current and former NFL players are invited to attend the week's events to share their NFL experiences with the draft eligible players.
This will be just the third playing of the Collegiate Bowl and marks the first appearance for any Sun Devils on the roster.
Meanwhile, Alden Darby will take the field on Jan. 18 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fl. for the 89th East-West Shrine Game. The game’s proceeds will benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children while simultaneously seeing the nation’s best seniors compete one last time in their college careers. The game begins at 2:00 p.m. MT and will be aired on NFL Network.
For Darby, this provides an excellent opportunity to showcase his abilities in the longest going all-star game in the country. Dating all the way back to 1925, the game has captured some of the best talent in the nation, many of whom are NFL-caliber players. An average of 275 East-West Shrine Game alumni are on NFL rosters each season, and more than 100 players from last year’s game signed with professional football teams in 2013—good news for Darby, who in a Q&A in 2012 explained his visions for future plans involving playing in the National Football League.