Today nine players were announced as official participants in the Senior Bowl. The premier college football all-star game often helps prospects gain momentum leading up to the NFL Draft. Brandon Weeden, for instance, used the momentum from this year's game to become a first-round pick.
Here is the full list of players the Senior Bowl announced on Twitter.
Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia
Will Davis, CB, Utah State
Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State
Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
The big name of course is Manuel. The Florida State signal caller has had some struggles this season, but is clearly a talent with an impressive frame at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds. As Orlando Sentinel reporter Coley Harvey properly points out, it was at the Senior Bowl last year that FSU's Nigel Bradham saw his stock rise. Bradham's Senior Bowl play help him go from being a late-round pick to a fourth-round pick. A good performance by Manuel in Mobile could solidify him as a top 100 pick.
There are two sleeper prospects in this grouping. The first is Utah State cornerback Will Davis. Because of where he plays, Davis doesn't get a lot of attention. But at 6-foot, 186 pounds, he has good size and has shown he can cover in man situation. He was named Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week last week.
The other intriguing name is San Jose State tight end Ryan Otten. A finalist for the Mackey Award, Otten is one of several mid-round tight ends with good size. At the Senior Bowl, he could help separate himself from the likes of Connecticut's Ryan Griffin, Western Kentucky's Jack Doyle and Ohio State's Jake Stoneburner.
More players will be announced for the Senior Bowl next Wednesday. Expect some names to slip out before that, though. There was a report this week that Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was invited to the Senior Bowl.
Senior Bowl practices begin on Jan. 21 and the game takes place Jan. 26.