Alamo Bowl – Dec 31, 2019: Utah vs Texas

#11 Utah Utes (11-2) vs Texas Longhorns (7-5)

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UTAH UTES | PAC-12 CONFERENCE

Coach: Kyle Whittingham

Utah Players to watch:

Senior DE Bradlee Anae (6-3/263)

Anae, who earned the Morris Award as given to the most outstanding defensive lineman as selected by the league’s starting offensive linemen, was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, and earned semifinalist honors from the Lombardi and Bednarik awards. A two-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection, his 12.5 sacks this season is tied for seventh in FBS and his 29.5 career sacks is tied for the school record and ranked fourth among active FBS players.

*Junior CB Jaylon Johnson (6-0/190)

Johnson ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 13 passes defended and is third in the league with 11 total pass breakups. He has two interceptions on the year, including a pick six against Washington. Johnson also earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors twice and has been an academic standout for the Utes.  

Senior ROV Francis Bernard (6-0/242)

Finished second on the team in tackles with 83, including 7.5 tackles-for-loss. He had two interceptions that included a pick-six, one pass breakup and a forced fumble. His pick-six against Utah was one of Utah’s five defensive touchdowns this season which is tied for second in the FBS and ranks first in the Pac-12. Bernard was twice named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

Senior LT Darrin Paulo (6-5/318)

Helping lead the way for star running back, Zach Moss, Paulo started all 13 games this season. He has played in 52 career games, which ranks second on the team and has played in 40 games on the offensive line with 39 career starts. Paulo has helped the Utes to a number one ranking in the Pac-12 in rushing offense (207.0) and a No. 3 ranking in scoring per game (34.0).

Senior QB Tyler Huntey (6-1/210)

Huntley ranks second in the FBS and first in the Pac-12 in completion percentage this season (.755) and is also fifth in the FBS and first in the league in passing efficiency (188.6). He also ranks in the top-10 in FBS football in passing yards per completion (14.75) and yards per pass attempt (11.14).

This season, Huntley is 188-of-249 passing for 2,773 yards and 16 touchdowns, adding 74 carries for 255 rushing yards and five rushing scores. It is the second time in his career that he has passed for over 2,000 yards in a season and it is the most passing yards by a Ute in a single season since 2008.

Senior DT John Penisini (6-2/318)

Playing along side heralded tackle Leki Fotu, Penisini recorded 37 tackles, six tackles-for-loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass break-up. (6.0 TFL, 2.0 Sacks) His 37 total tackles ranks second on the Utes defensive line. Penisini earned Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week for his career-high tying seven tackles with a sack and a forced fumble against Washington.

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TEXAS LONGHORNS | BIG 12 CONFERENCE

Coach: Tom Herman

Texas Players to watch:

Senior WR Devin Duvernay (5-11/210)

Duvernay, a native of Sachse, Texas, has caught 103 passes for 1,294 yards and scored nine total touchdowns (8 rec/1 rush) this season. Duvernay’s 103 catches and 8.6 receptions per game lead all FBS receivers, and his 1,294 receiving yards place him fourth nationally. He leads all Big 12 receivers in catches, catches per game, receiving yards, receiving yards per game and ranks third in receiving touchdowns. He and Jordan Shipley (2009) are the only Texas receivers to log at least 100 catches and more than 1,200 receiving yards in a season. Shipley was a consensus first-team All-American in 2009 when he hit those marks.

Senior FS Brandon Jones (6-0/210)

Jones, a native of Nacogdoches, Texas, leads the Longhorns with 86 total tackles this season (7.2 pg). He has also notched 4.5 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

The senior captain was credited with a career-high 12 tackles (11 solo) in his final game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium last week. It was his third game this season with double-digit tackles. Jones’ individual accolades including being named a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award this season. He was also a preseason watch list candidate for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Senior DE Malcolm Roach (6-3/290)

“I’m very excited to get the opportunity to play Utah,” Roach recently said. “They’re a great team that’s had a great run this year. It’s going to be a challenge, and we’re very excited for the opportunity to play one of the best teams in the country. Then to play in the state of Texas is something that’s always great. We have a great fan base in San Antonio, and it’s just an hour down the road from our fans in Austin. We’re just going to enjoy the bowl experience and the Alamo Bowl.”

Roach’s raw physical tools and athleticism will garner looks from NFL scouts as will his ability to play inside or out. However, most of the last two seasons for Roach were marred by various injuries and suspensions. He did miss some time this season due to lingering injury issues and a targeting call. Still, he should be drafted sometime on day three.

Senior OG Parker Braun (6-3/280)

Braun, a graduate transfer offensive lineman, came to Texas after starting the last 32 of his 36 games over three seasons at Georgia Tech. He was a two-time first-team All-ACC selection and freshman All-American for the Yellow Jackets. Braun led an offensive line that ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing all three years, including leading the nation in 2018 (325.0 ypg). He helped Georgia Tech set back-to-back school records for 400-yard rushing games in a single season with four in 2017 and five in 2018.

Since transfering to Texas, Braun hasn’t slowed down. At left guard, he’s helped pave the way for Keaontay Ingram and Roschon Johnson to average over five yards per carry and a combined 1,345 yards. Recently, Braun was named team second All-Big 12 selection the Associated Press.

**Sophomore LB Joseph Ossai (6-4/245)

Ossai, a second-year linebacker, has played in 22 career games with 10 career starts. Born in Nigeria, Ossai continues learning the game week by week. “There were a lot of things he had to learn when he first came on campus, but the way he goes about doing things, he’s getting better each day,” teammate Malcolm Roach said. “Watching film with him, he asks questions and I talk about how I see the game and discuss tips he could use for formations. He’s one of the hardest workers on the team and he’s getting better and better every game.”

Ossai finished second on the team in total tackles with 81, just five behind Brandon Jackson. He also had 7.5 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, and two interceptions.

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Alamo Bowl
Texas 38, Utah 10
Alamodome
San Antonio, TX
Dec 31, 2019 7:30 p.m. | ESPN  

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2018 Valero Alamo Bowl
Washington State 28, Iowa State 26

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Outback Bowl – Jan 1, 2020: Auburn vs Minnesota

#12 Auburn Tigers (9-3) vs #18 Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-2)

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AUBURN TIGERS | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Gus Malzahn

Auburn Players to watch:

Senior DT Derrick Brown (6-5/325)

Brown looks to be a top five pick in April’s NFL Draft. He was recently named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He is a finalist for the Bednarik, Nagurski, Wuerffel, Outland, and Lott Impact awards. Brown recorded a season-high 3.5 tackles-for-loss in Auburn’s 48-45 Iron Bowl win vs. Alabama, giving him 12.5 for the season.

“Derrick is one of the best all-around football players in the entire country. Any position,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “It’s not a coincidence he’s up for a lot of these awards. I expect him to win quite a few of them. He’s a real special player. He’s had an unbelievable year. He’s played his best football in the biggest games when they matter the most. That’s the sign of a great player.”

Senior DE Marlon Davidson (6-3/278)

Davidson led Auburn with 7.5 sacks, tying Brown for the team lead with 12.5 tackles-for-loss . Davidson and Brown, combined, have won the SEC Defensive Player of the Week award seven times, with Davidson leading 4-3 heading into the Outback Bowl. The individual competition has brought out the best in both, helping Auburn’s defense allow only 16.2 points per game.

*Junior MLB Kenny Britt (6-0/228)

“K.J. is a born leader,” linebackers coach Travis Williams says of Britt. “When he talks, people listen.” After a freshman year that saw the former 4-star prospect record only four tackles, the junior middle linebacker is now a key piece in Kevin Steele’s defensive. Britt finished 2019 third on the team with 61 total tackles and nine tackles-for-loss.

Senior SS Daniel Thomas (5-11/208)

Coming out of high school, Thomas really wanted to sign with Auburn, but didn’t have an offer. He was prepared to go to Minnesota. However, before he signed, he went to church and spoke with his pastor. He spoke to his pastor, Michael Crook, who asked him what he wanted. Thomas told him “I want to go to Auburn.” Crook stopped that night’s service and asked the entire congregation to pray for Thomas. “He told him, ‘You’re going to hear from them, and you’re going to have your offer,’” Daniel Thomas’ mother, Regina Thomas, told the Montgomery Advertiser. “And that’s just the way it happened.”

Forty-two games later, Thomas has racked up 193 total tackles, five interceptions, and caused three forced fumbles.

Senior FS Jeremiah Dinson (6-0/195)

After this sophomore season, Jeremiah Dinson made a move from nickel to free safety. He made that position his own last season and emerged as the cerebral leader of the secondary. Dinson considered declaring early for the NFL after last season, but he ultimately decided to return after leaning on input from his parents and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. Anchoring the Tigers secondary, Dinson led the team with 79 tackles. He also added two interceptions and two sacks.

Senior CB Javaris Davis (5-10/187)

Javaris Davis also contemplated leaving for the NFL after his junior season, but decided to return to Auburn and enhance his draft stock. As a junior, he recorded 41 tackles (three for loss), a sack and two interceptions. He also defended eight passes. His 2018 numbers just about mirror those he posted this season. As a senior, Davis has 41 tackles on the year, along with six passes defended.

Senior LT Prince Tega Wanogho (6-7/307)

Wanogho, a three-year starter at left tackle, has anchored Auburn’s offensive line, helping the Tigers score 50-plus points in three games this season. Originally from Nigeria, Wanogho came to the States to play basketball. He quickly transitioned to football, and has been growing in the game ever since. Wanogho credits his basketball background for his smooth footwork at left tackle.

“With speed, I’ve always said that I’m quick to recover. I have the feet for that. I’m also strong enough to handle any bull rush anyone can throw at me. I’m strong enough to fend that off. I can get into my stance and handle that,” Wanogho told Draft Wire in an exclusive interview. “Going back to my soccer and basketball days, I’ve been good with my feet my whole life. I’ve always been a natural in this department.”

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MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS | BIG TEN CONFERENCE

Coach: P.J. Fleck

Minnesota Players to watch:

**Sophomore WR Rashod Bateman (6-2/200)

Photo: John Autey|Pioneer Press

Sophomore receiver Rashod Bateman who was named the Big Ten’s Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year. Bateman, who was also one of 12 semifinalists for he Biletnikoff Award, has 57 catches this year for 1,170 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 1,170 yards is a single-season school record, eclipsing the previous record set by Johnson last season with 1,169 yards. His 11 touchdowns is one shy of the record 12 set by Johnson last season. 

Senior WR Tyler Johnson (6-2/200)

Johnson, who is the lone receiver from a Power Five conference to have consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, has 74 catches this year for 1,114 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 74 catches and 1,114 yards are school records for a senior and rank third and fourth, respectively in the Minnesota record book. He is one touchdown shy of tying the record he set last season with 12. 

**Sophomore QB Tanner Morgan (6-2/210)

Morgan is the first Minnesota quarterback to be on a Big Ten postseason team since the coaches voted Adam Weber All-Big Ten Second Team in 2008. Morgan has had one of the best seasons in school history for a Minnesota quarterback ever. He has set single-season records in passing yards (2,975), touchdowns (28) and consecutive games with a touchdown pass (13, dating back to last season).

Senior RB Rodney Smith (5-11/210)

Smith has rushed for 1,094 yards this year and eight touchdowns this year and rushed for more than 100 yards in five straight Big Ten games to start conference play. He is only the second running back ever to rush for more than 4,000 career yards and is the school record holder with 5,364 all-purpose yards. 

**Sophomore OL Blaise Andries (6-5/313)

Blaise Andries, who has started games at left tackle, left guard and right tackle this year, was named All-Big Ten Third Team to become the first Gopher offensive lineman to be honored by the conference since 2016. Andries, who has started every game, has blocked for a prolific Minnesota offense this year. The Gophers have thrown for a school record 3,014 yards and 28 touchdowns this year, while still rushing for 2,108 yards and 24 touchdowns. 

**Sophomore S Antoine Winfield (5-10/204)

Defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. was named the Big Ten Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year, becoming the first Gopher to ever receive the honor. Winfield, who is also one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Award, was also named All-Big Ten First Team by both the coaches and media. 

Winfield leads the team with 83 tackles, which includes 58 solo stops. He also has 3.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks this year to go along with seven interceptions and two forced fumbles. Winfield’s seven interceptions tied a school single-season record and also rank fourth in the NCAA this year.

Senior DE Carter Coughlin (6-5/245)

Rush end Carter Coughlin was named All-Big Ten Second Team by both the coaches and media. Coughlin was also named All-Big Ten Second Team in 2018 by the coaches and media. 

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Outback Bowl
Minnesota 31, Auburn 24
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida
Jan 1, 2020 | 1 p.m. | ESPN 

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2018 Outback Bowl
Iowa 27, Mississippi State 22
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida

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Arizona Bowl – Dec 31, 2019: Georgia State vs Wyoming

Georgia State Panthers (7-5) vs Wyoming Cowboys (7-5)

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GEORGIA STATE PANTHERS | SUN BELT CONFERENCE

Coach: Shawn Elliott

Georgia State Players to watch:

Senior RB Tra Barnett (5-10/185)

Barnett, the senior from Elbeton, Ga., is the first Georgia State running back to ever earn All-Sun Belt honors. Barnett let the Sun Belt in rushing with 1,389 yards rushing (115.8 ypg) – those numbers were good enough to rank Barnett 8th in the FBS in rushing yardage and to set a new school record. His 12 rushing touchdowns were also a new school record.

Senior OT Hunter Atkinson (6-6/295)

Atkinson, the senior left tackle, was named all-conference for the second straight year. Atkinson ranks among the national leaders with 48 consecutive games started and has rarely come out of a game in four seasons. A team captain. he has helped GSU set season records for rushing yards each of the last two seasons, including nearly 3,000 yards in 2019.

Senior QB Dan Ellington (6-3/205)

Ellington is one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks. He has led Georgia State–which was picked to finish last in the Sun Belt–to bowl eligibility and a five-game improvement over 2018. Ellington passed for 2,291 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes. The second-leading rusher on the nation’s No. 14 rushing team with 598 yards and five touchdowns.

*Junior TE Aubry Payne (6-4/235)

Payne joined the GSU program as a walk-on in 2018 after transferring from Western Carolina. Payne has been a key blocker in GSU’s rushing attack that ranks and has helped pave the way for four games of 340-plus rushing yards this season, including a school-record 414 vs. ULM. As a receiver, Payne is second among Sun Belt tight ends with six touchdown catches.

**Sophomore WR Cornelius McCoy (5-11/180)

McCoy is the leading receiver for an offense that has set school records for points and total offense per game. After only two seasons, McCoy already ranks in the top six in GSU history in career receptions (100) and receiving yards (1,174).

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WYOMING COWBOYS | MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Coach: Craig Bohl

Wyoming Players to watch:

Senior SS Alijah Halliburton (6-2/190)

Halliburton ranks second in the MW and No. 11 in the nation in total tackles, averaging 9.9 per game. Halliburton led Wyoming in tackles in 2019, with 119 total tackles. He also has 10 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, one interception. He also had one fumble recovery which he returned for 79 yards against Missouri to set up a field goal.

Senior LB Logan Wilson (6-3/250)

Wilson is one of six national finalists for the 2019 Butkus Award, and is the only finalist from the Group of Five conferences. Wilson ranks No. 8 in the MW in passes defended, with 11 (4 interceptions and 7 pass breakups). He leads a Wyoming defense that ranks second in the Mountain West and No. 11 in the NCAA in Scoring Defense, allowing only 17.8 points per game. He has been named to several All-American teams.

**Sophomore OC Keegan Cryder (6-4/300)

The sophomore center from Littleton, CO, has played 769 total snaps in this season, and he leads Wyoming with over 100 Knockdown Blocks. Impressively, Cryder has allowed only one sack for the entire season, and he has also been called for only one penalty in 12 games in 2019.

Senior PR/WR Austin Conway (5-10/183)

Conway led the Mountain West in punt returns for much of the 2019 season, and currently ranks second in the conference and No. 11 in the nation, averaging 11.1 yards per return. He had 344 punt return yards on 31 attempts. A starting wide receiver for the Cowboys, he leads Wyoming in receptions (22) and is second in receiving yards with 296.

Senior LB Cassh Maluia (6-1/248)

Maluia recorded 57 tackles, with seven tackles-for-loss and two interceptions for 30 yards in the 2019 season. His first interception of the season came against Missouri.  He intercepted Mizzou in the end zone to stop a Tiger scoring threat on way to a 37-31 Wyoming victory. 

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Arizona Bowl
Wyoming 38, Georgia State 17
Arizona Stadium
Tucson, AZ
Dec 31, 2019 | 4:30 p.m. | CBSSN  

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2018 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl 
Nevada 16, Arkansas State 13 (OT)

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Citrus Bowl – Jan 1, 2020: Alabama vs Michigan

#13 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2) vs #12 Michigan Wolverines (9-3)

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ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Nick Saban

Alabama Players to watch:

Senior SS Jared Mayden (6-0/200)

Jared Mayden and Shyheim Carter were both recipients of the Pat Trammel Award. The award to given to the senior player, or players, whose character and contributions to the Alabama Football Team most personify the All-American youth of today and has reflected qualities of Integrity, Character, Importance of Academics and Inspirational Leadership during their time at Alabama.

Mayden will be headed to the Senior Bowl, a little more than three-weeks after the Citrus Bowl. The strong safety has 53 tackles, four interceptions and three passed defended on the season.

Senior STAR Shyheim Carter (6-0/195)

In 2018, Carter put up his most impressive stats, which was the first year he took significant snaps for the Crimson Tide. He logged in two interceptions, one forced fumble and 44 tackles. This year, he has 40 tackles, seven passed defended, and one forced fumble. While Alabama is stocked with bigger names, take a look at Carter, he’s sure to hear his name called on draft day. 

Senior DE Raekwon Davis (6-7/309)

“He has been very good,” Nick Saban recently said. “Has worked hard. Certainly tried to set a good example for some of the young guys that are playing around him. I’ve been pleased with his effort.”

Davis, Alabama’s veteran leader along the defensive front, has been credited with 45 tackles, including three tackles for loss and half a sack, along with four quarterback hurries this season. He has two games left in his college career, the Citrus Bowl and the Senior Bowl; then he’ll head off to the NFL.

**Sophomore CB Patrick Surtain II (6-2/203)

Son of NFL Pro Bowl corner Patrick Surtain, Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II graduated from the same American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.,) high school as Michigan DL Mike Morris and TE Nick Eubanks.

Surtain, Jr., totaled 35 tackles to go with three forced fumbles, added seven pass breakups, two interceptions (24 yards), a fumble recovery and one quarterback pressure in 2019.

*Junior WR Henry Ruggs III (6-0/190)

A speedy wideout in the Crimson Tide’s deep wide receiver corps. Ruggs ranks third on Alabama’s career touchdown receptions list with 24, just one behind Jerry Jeudy. He owns the team-long rush (75 yards on a jet sweep) and the second-longest reception (81 yards) this season. Always dangerous with the ball in his hands, Ruggs recorded 38 receptions for 719 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior.

*Junior OC Landon Dickerson (6-6/308)

A graduate transfer from Florida State who arrived before the start of fall camp and earned a starting job on the interior of the offensive line. Dickerson was named an All-SEC second-team honoree at center by the league coaches and selected to the All-SEC second team at guard by the Associated Press. He started all 12 games this season, four at right guard and eight at center where he appears to have settled in.

Senior OL Matt Womack (6-7/325)

The redshirt senior from Hernando, Miss., played in ten contest this season. Unfortunately, Womack missed some of the 2018 season due to injury but came back into the mix this season. With forty-one career games, Womack is a versatile player who has seen plenty of action at right tackle and right guard. 

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MICHIGAN WOLVERINES | BIG TEN CONFERENCE

Coach: Jim Harbaugh

Michigan Players to watch:

Senior SS Josh Metellus (6-0/204)

Metellus led Michigan defensive backs, and listed tied-third overall, with 63 stops. He made two interceptions among seven total pass breakups and added 3.5 tackles for loss with one fumble recovery. Metellus is tied-16th all-time with 21 career pass breakups.  He has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl.

Senior OT Jon Runyan (6-5/310)

As a group, this year’s Big Blue OL allowed only 1.83 sacks per game. Michigan’s offense operated at an 81 percent clip in the red zone, scoring on 46 of 57 trips with 35 touchdowns. The U-M offensive line allowed 22 sacks and 57 tackles-for-loss one year after allowing 23 sacks and 59 tackles for loss in 2018. Runyan, a first team All-Big Ten selection, was a key component is the line’s success.

*Junior OC Cesar Ruiz (6-4/316)

Ruiz handled all checks and calls for an offense that generated 5.8 yards per play with a balanced ledger of 24 passing touchdowns and 26 rushing touchdowns. He also was the core of Michigan’s interior offensive line (guard-center-guard) which was the only FBS group to not allow a sack all season.

Senior DE Josh Uche (6-3/253)

Michigan’s sacks leader over the last two seasons is turning pro. Linebacker Josh Uche, who says he had one year of eligibility remaining, announced Wednesday plans to forego his final season at Michigan and enter the 2020 NFL draft. Uche, a Miami, Fla., native said he plans on playing in the Citrus Bowl.

Senior DE Mike Danna (6-2/255)

Danna is a grad-transfer, defensive end, from Central Michigan. As a Chippewa, Danna was one of the most overlooked ends in the country. In his senior-year at Central Michigan, Danna posted 66 tackles, including 15 tackles-for-loss, and 9 1/2 sacks, earning him first-team all-MAC honors. He could have left for the NFL. However, when Jim Harbaugh came knocking on his door, Danna jumped at the chance to play for the Maize and Blue.

Danna didn’t shine out like he had hoped. He only had 35 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, and three sacks to go along with a forced fumble. Still, his freakish athleticism will get him plenty of looks from NFL Scouts – and there will be a lot of them checking out this blue-chip game.

Senior TE Sean McKeon (6-5/248)

McKeon missed several games due to injury but managed two touchdowns and 235 yards on 13 receptions, including a career-long 41-yard catch-and-run against Ohio State. His 18.1 yards per catch are second best on the Michigan roster.

Senior LB Khaleke Hudson (6-0/220)

An assistant captain on defense, Hudson was Michigan’s leading tackler in 2019 with a career-best 97 stops, including 3.5 for loss with two sacks. He added three pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and one blocked kick. Uche lists 10th on the team in tackles with a career-high 34, including 23 solo stops. His 11.5 tackles for loss are second on the team, and he leads the way with 8.5 sacks.

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Citrus Bowl
Alabama 35, Michigan 16
Camping World Stadium
Orlando, Florida
Jan 1, 2020 | 1 p.m. | ABC 

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2019 VRBO Citrus Bowl
Kentucky 27, Penn State 24

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