The Senior Bowl may not be for another six months, but we can start talking about it now. On Thursday, college football's top all-star game released its enormous watch list of players.
At 312 names, the list is certainly expansive. It ranges from top quarterbacks like Matt Barkley of USC and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas all the way down to Division II Mars Hill signal caller Jon Richt. By the time the game comes around on Jan. 26, the total number will be down to 100 players invited.
"We want both college and pro football fans to enjoy tracking the players on our list as they begin their journey towards the Senior Bowl and the 2013 NFL Draft," Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage said in a release. "We have included prospects from almost every level of the college game and look forward to monitoring their progress throughout the upcoming season."
As you'd expect, the Southeastern Conference has the most players on the watch list with 71. The next highest is the Big Ten with 46. With nine players each, no teams are more represented than Alabama, Georgia and Nebraska.
Obviously with such a large list, there are some snafus. For instance, it lists UCLA linebacker Patrick Larimore, but he unfortunately had to retire due to medical reasons. But regardless, if you're looking for a succinct list of seniors to track this season, find it here.
Another interesting nugget comes from Matt Elder of BuffaloBillsDraft.com. As he points out, Kenny Tate of Maryland is listed as a defensive end. Last season, Tate was in his first year of transition from safety to linebacker before getting injured. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, lets just chalk this one up as a typo.
Proving how much college football talent ebbs and flows, there is only a single player for each Arizona State, Baylor Boise State, BYU, Louisville, South Florida and Washington. All of those schools are behind Portland State, which has two players in kicker Zach Brown and defensive end Marquis Jackson.
From a marketing standpoint, this is an excellent idea. It generates interest in the Senior Bowl, much the same way preseason awards watch lists do. But unlike a random player award list, this can be a tool for true NFL Draft nerds like myself.
Parsing the list is quite fun really. But it did have one omission really stuck out. That would be Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher. The Chippewas aren't represented at all, actually. I'm intrigued by fellow CMU offensive tackle Jake Olson, who has struggled with injuries in his career.
But Fisher, to me, could be a sneaky good prospect. He's got excellent length at a listed 6-foot-8, 305 pounds. He was a third-team all-MAC pick a year ago and has started 19 games over the past two seasons.
We want to know who else is missing. Check out the list here and see if you can spot any others who were left out.