CINCINNATI – University of Cincinnati football players Trevor Canfield (Cincinnati, Ohio/Western Hills), Kevin Huber (Cincinnati, Ohio/McNicholas), Mike Mickens (Hubert Hts., Ohio/Wayne), and DeAngelo Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Independence) have accepted invitations to play in the 2009 Under Armour Senior Bowl, head coach Brian Kelly announced Tuesday.
It is the second time in school history that UC has sent four players to the senior bowl (1997) and the first since joining the BIG EAST. No school among the current BIG EAST membership has sent more than three players to the game since 2005. UC is the 16th school to send four or more players to the game since 2005, joining some of the best programs in the country, including Florida, LSU, Ohio State, and Oklahoma.
UC has sent 21 players to the Senior Bowl, with Trent Cole the last to earn the honor in 2004. During the 1960 event, former standout Jackie Lee earned MVP honors for the game.
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The 2009 game takes place at 7 p.m. ET on Jan. 24, 2009 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. The NFL network is scheduled to televise the contest. Tickets for the 2009 game are currently available for purchase both online at www.seniorbowl.com and by calling the Senior Bowl ticket office at either (888) 736-2695 or (251) 432-4109.
"I think it speaks volumes for our program that these four young men, all Ohio products, will be able to showcase their talents on such a premier stage," Kelly said. "They are all deserving of this honor and I know they will represent the University of Cincinnati in the best possible way."
Canfield has been a stalwart on the offensive line, starting 33-straight games. He also recently accepted an invitation to play in the 84th East-West Shrine Game this coming January in Houston, Texas.
Huber, a 2007 consensus All-American, has a 45.5-yard punting average which ranks sixth in the nation. He has dropped 13 punts inside the 20, and boomed 12 of his kicks over 50 yards. He was a midseason all-America choice by The Sporting News and CBSSports.com and also earned BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Week honors on Oct. 13.
Mickens, the UC career leader in both interceptions (13) and interception return yards (268), has three picks on the season, one which went back for a 72-yard touchdown against Miami (OH). He leads the team with 48 tackles, including 30 solo stops. He has 1.5 tackles for loss, eight pass break ups, and leads the BIG EAST and is tied for 10th nationally, averaging 1.4 passes defended per game.
Smith, the national leader in interceptions in 2007 (8), has 37 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss to his credit in 2008. He has moved around the secondary this season, starting games at both free safety and cornerback. He picked up his first interception of the season in UC's 24-10 win over No. 23 USF on Oct. 30. Smith also has averaged 8.9 yards per punt return in 2008, ranking third in the league and 46th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.
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 NFL teams. Senior Bowl practices are also attended by over 800 general managers, head coaches, assistant coaches, scouts, and other front office personnel from the 32 NFL teams, making Mobile and the Senior Bowl the week-long host to a one-of-a-kind NFL Coaches Convention.