The 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl is in the books. The National team knocked off the American team, 27-10. Fresno State QB Jake Haener was the game’s overall MVP. Haener completed 12 of 19 passes for 139 yards and a score.
The game was marred by the number of players who opted out of the game after practicing all week. 33 players in all sat out the game on Saturday. The American team had 16 players that didn’t play in the game while the National team had 17. Some of these players had legitimate injuries while others just straight-up bailed out.
Below we will look at the prospects who stood out the most in the game on both teams.
2023 Senior Bowl Prospect Rewind
The obvious standout is Haener after winning MVP. However, I hope he shared his trophy full of Reese’s cups with Stanford WR Michael Wilson. Wilson elevated himself on my draft board in practice this week. He then entered the game today and showed off his catch radius. Wilson made a wild adjustment on a ball early in the game and then fielded a wounded duck of a pass from Haener for a 44-yard TD. Wilson finished with four catches for 76 yards and the TD as mentioned earlier.
Northwestern RB Evan Hull was outstanding in the game, averaging 7.4 yards on 10 carries. Sa’Roderick Thompson (RB/Texas Tech) also had some explosive plays on the ground.
That ground attack worked because of the stellar blocking on the interior of the National team defensive line with players like Cody Mauch (North Dakota State), Olu Oluwatimi (Michigan), and Asim Richards (North Carolina) leading the way.
Defensively for the National squad, Cincinnati LB Ivan Pace, Jr. recorded ten tackles (nine solos) and was consistently around the action. The same can be said for WAZZU LB Daiyan Henley who finished with 8 stops and a fumble recovery.
Maryland CB Jakorian Bennett (a Mobile, AL native) finished off any hope of a comeback with a red zone interception of Tyson Bagent (QB/Shepherd). Bowling Green DL Karl Brooks also stood out as he was disruptive often and recorded a sack.
Tyson Bagent was a solid passer today when he was able to get into a rhythm but unfortunately, that was something he could not maintain. The D2 product finished 17/22 for 138 yards and an interception.
The American team could not get a running game going for the most part. Kentucky’s Chris Rodriguez probably faired the best of the backs with 27 yards on 6 carries.
South Alabama’s Jalen Wayne saw more targets (12) and receptions (8) than any other player in the game. Wayne finished with 50 yards receiving. Miami-FL TE Will Mallory became Bagent’s security blanket with all five of his catches coming from the Shepherd passer. Mallory finished with 46 yards.
On defense, it was the HBCU prospects leading the charge. Jackson State’s Aubrey Miller Jr. laid hits hard enough for us to hear them in the radio booth. Miller finished the game with seven tackles. Florida A&M LB Isaiah Land recorded a sack in the game as well.
LSU edge Ali Gaye beat Chattanooga’s McClendon Curtis clean for a sack earlier in the game.
NEXT AT DRAFT COUNTDOWN
We will continue to wrap up our 2023 Senior Bowl coverage this week before moving on to the Combine.
Shane will have another 7-Round mock draft up on Monday.