We are at the point of the season where Senior Bowl invitations are being issued, accepted and publicized.
Among those who have open invitations are Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy and wide receiver Cody Hoffman, TCU cornerback Jason Verrett and Virginia offensive linemen Morgan Moses have all been extended an invite. Meanwhile, players like Arkansas center Travis Swanson, Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard and Virginia defensive tackle Brent Urban have already accepted an invitation.
For other seniors, considering 11 weeks of college football have passed, time is running out to garner attention and an invite.
One senior who has to be close to an invitation is Devon Kennard of Southern California. After sitting out last season because of injury, Kennard has settled into a 3-4 outside linebacker position for the Trojans. He's capable of rushing the passer on the outside or the inside. For the year, Kennard is up to 47 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
Here are some other players, senior or otherwise, that helped their NFL Draft standing.
Chris Borland, MLB, Wisconsin: Despite starting the majority of four years at Wisconsin, Borland's role in the NFL is still up for dispute. Borland is obviously not tall and may not be much of a coverage linebacker. But he's stellar between the tackles and a capable pass rusher. In his first game back from injury on Saturday against BYU, Borland added another 13 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. The intriguing thing about Borland a a pass rusher is the variety of moves he uses. He got a first-quarter sack against BYU on an A-gap blitz where he used a spin move to beat the block.
C.J. Mosley, MLB, Alabama: It can be difficult to put a top-level player in a stock report piece. That's why you haven't seen someone like Anthony Barr or Teddy Bridgewater. There's just not that much higher they can go. While the same can be said for Mosley, his performance on Saturday against LSU is worth noting. Although Mosley narrowly missed out on a couple of interceptions, he was all over the field with 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. If there were any issues with Mosley's instincts, he should have put them to rest against the Tigers. Now it'll just be a matter of deciding if he's a weak-side linebacker or a middle linebacker. NFL teams will view him differently.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech: It's only fair if a player gets ripped, they should be credited when earned. The yo-yo that is Thomas' career was back on the upswing against Miami on Saturday. Despite playing in a hard rain, Thomas still completed 25 of 31 passes for 366 yards and two touchdowns. Consider this your reminder that Thomas, who is full of physical tools, is still going to get drafted higher than you think he should. Whether or not he scores a Senior Bowl bid may depend on his final games of the season.
David Yankey, G, Stanford: Stanford beat Oregon up last Thursday, thanks in large part to the physical play of its offensive line. The leader was Yankey, Stanford's star left guard. Stanford controlled the clock with a power offense with Yankey leading the way on big runs. Yankey was used on pulls several times and looks natural in space. Perhaps more importantly was a line from the ESPN broadcast about Yankey leading Stanford's offense. That's a small intangible NFL teams will like.
Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee: There may not be a bigger player in college football than McCullers, who looks bigger than the 351 pounds he's listed. Tennessee gave up 444 yards rushing to Auburn, and part of the problem was McCullers. At the least, McCullers should be occupying multiple blockers to open gaps for the linebackers behind him. But often he was not only being blocked by a single lineman but he was being pushed around.
Za'Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky: Following a fast start to the season, Smith has cooled considerably over the past several weeks. Against Missouri on Saturday, Smith again struggled to generate a pass rush, finishing the game with four tackles and a single quarterback hurry. While some of that can be credited to Missouri offensive tackle Justin Britt, a rising senior, Smith hasn't been as disruptive. A junior, Smith has one more year of eligibility remaining and may be wise to use it.
De'Anthony Thomas, WR/RB, Oregon: Unquestionably, Thomas is one of the more fun players to watch in college football. But after proclaiming Oregon would put up 40 points on Stanford, Thomas did little. For the game, he had six carries for 30 yards and four receptions for 45 yards. As we've seen with Tavon Austin, prior to this past week, it's going to a crafty offense to get the most out of Thomas. At the moment, he's a man without a true position.
Chris Whaley, DT, Texas: Whaley lands on the stock down portion due to suffering an undisclosed knee injury that ended his season. A converted running back, Whaley is a fun player to watch in the middle of the Texas defense. He was a late-round prospect who would really benefit from the offseason process. How quickly he can return from this injury could determine where or if he's drafted in May.