For the first time ever, the Senior Bowl will feature two players that are not actually seniors.
Offensive tackles D.J. Fluker of Alabama and Justin Pugh of Syracuse have been cleared to participate in interviews, practices and the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. this week, according to a press release (PDF).
Phil Savage, the executive director of the Senior Bowl, said Fluker and Pugh had to meet certain criteria in order to be eligible to play in the game. First, the players had to have been with their college teams for four years. The players also had to have graduated before Dec. 31 and have get permission from their college coach to be eligible.
Fluker won't play in the game or practice because of a strained calf, but he will have to opportunity to attend the event and participate in interviews throughout the week. Pugh will be able to play on Saturday and stands to have a lot to gain with a strong performance.
Savage says the standards have been set for future underclassmen to have a chance to play in the Senior Bowl.