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How the Senior Bowl selects players

THE PHILM ROOM

Thu, Aug 29, 2013

By Phil Savage

The Reese’s Senior Bowl utilizes an extensive eight-month process in selecting the players that will be invited to the annual showcase of college all-stars. Immediately after the preceding draft, Executive Director Phil Savage begins compiling names of returning starters and rising seniors who meet the physical requirements to play professional football. Over the summer, Savage will study the previous season’s tapes and write “junior” reports on a number of prospects that will comprise the initial 400-player Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List, which is released in late August.

Once pre-season training camps open for the colleges, Savage will make a series of on-campus visits to see the players in person and to watch additional tape from within the conference of that particular school. From September through November, he will continue making scouting trips to various colleges around the country to assess and evaluate the draft-eligible seniors in that year’s class. During the season, he will write a number of prospects and these profiles are posted weekly on www.seniorbowl.com.

In addition, other Reese’s Senior Bowl officials will also attend live games and file in-house reports on potential invitees. While the Reese’s Senior Bowl does its own scouting work, Savage will also consult with his numerous contacts in the National Football League to better assess the complete pool of talent available for the game. He will begin putting North and South Rosters together as soon as the first four regular season college weekends are completed in late September.

The first round of 20 “automatic” invites go out at the end of October with another group of 40 “priority” invites to follow a few weeks later. By December 1, the next group of 40 “in-season” invites have been mailed, so the period of time between the end of the regular season and the college bowl games can be spent on finalizing both 58-man rosters. After the bowl games are concluded, the Reese’s Senior Bowl will use “emergency” invites to fill any holes on either roster that develop due to injury.

Because the Reese’s Senior Bowl is the ultimate bridge between college and pro football, the rosters are a mixture of college standouts and potential prospects that project best to the NFL with a particular interest in those that are rated above the 5th round. Very little weight is given to a player’s hometown, connections to the Gulf Coast, high school recruiting rating, etc. More than anything else, the Reese’s Senior Bowl is committed to bringing America’s best collegiate talent to Mobile for a week of exposure to the NFL community, both on and off the field, and for those players to put on an unforgettable show in front of 40,000 loyal fans on Reese’s Senior Bowl Saturday.



Phil Savage Phil Savage is the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl. He worked 20 years in the NFL as a coach, scout and executive, including two years as the Director of Player Personnel for the Baltimore Ravens and four years as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns.