Thanksgiving is a season full of traditions. Among them is feasting with friends and family, then collapsing on the couch to watch football.
In Mobile, there is no greater football tradition than the Reese’s Senior Bowl. The 67th annual college all-star game will kick off Saturday, Jan. 30, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Senior Bowl organizers have announced the initial group of 19 players who have accepted invitations to the game. Among them are Georgia outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, Illinois defensive lineman Jihad Ward, Louisville defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins and North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.
Jenkins is considered a likely first-round selection in the NFL draft. So far this season, he has 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Joining him from the Bulldogs is wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, a four-year starter who has also played cornerback and on special teams.
Ward is a former junior college star who later earned All-Big Ten honors. The 6-foot-6 Wentz was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2015 FCS Championship. Rankins has nine tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks for the Cardinals this season.
The remaining group includes Evan Boehm, four-year starter at center for Missouri; James Bradberry, four-year starter at cornerback for Samford; Sean Davis, who has 300 career tackles as a cornerback at Maryland; Josh Garnett, preseason All-American pick at offensive guard for Stanford; Deiondré Hall, FCS All-American cornerback for Northern Iowa; Matt Ioannidis, three-year starter at defensive tackle for Temple; and Miles Killebrew, safety who leads Southern Utah in tackles.
Also in the group are Jay Lee, deep-threat wide receiver for Baylor; Blake Martinez, Butkus Award semifinalist at linebacker for Stanford; Tyler Matakevich, linebacker for Temple who is on watch lists for Lombardi, Butkus, Bednarik, Nagurski and Lott IMPACT Awards; Charles Tapper, All-Big 12 defensive end at Oklahoma; Cole Toner, All-Ivy League offensive tackle at Harvard; Dan Vitale, three-year starter at fullback for Northwestern; and Bryce Williams, all-star tight end for East Carolina.
To learn more about the week-long schedule of events, visit www.SeniorBowl.com or call 251-438-2276. For ticket information, call 251-432-4109.
College champion to be crowned
The 32nd annual NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship is taking place at the Orange Beach SportsPlex. The 16-team, single-elimination event begins Monday, Nov. 30. The winner will be decided Saturday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m.
Adding some local flavor will be the University of Mobile. The Lady Rams won the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament for the second straight year and are seeded No. 5.
As the host team, the 18-2 Lady Rams received a first-round bye. Their initial game will be against the winner of a match between Eastern Oregon and Biola. According to the school’s website, the Lady Rams will play Monday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m.
This is Mobile’s 6th straight tournament appearance and 10th overall. They won the NAIA national title in 1997 and were runners-up in 1996 and 1998.
Named to the all-conference first team were senior forward Katie Compton, junior defender Leah Corse, sophomore midfielder Cayla Hebert and junior midfielder Tyler-Rae Molloy. On the second-team unit are senior goalkeeper Rebecca Wynne and senior forward Saskia Adriance. Forward Colleen Kennedy was selected to the all-freshman team.
For those going to Orange Beach, an all-tournament pass costs $30 for adults and $15 for youth. A one-day pass is $10 for adults and admission is free for children 10 and under accompanied by a paying adult.
● The men’s soccer team from the University of Mobile did not receive one of the eight at-large bids to the NAIA tournament. The Rams entered the SSAC tournament as the top seed but lost 5-3 to Auburn-Montgomery. Bethel ended up claiming the league’s automatic bid.
The Rams finished the year with an 11-6-2 record. Named to the first-team all-conference list were sophomore forward Newton Henry, freshman defender Jordan Sinclair and senior defender Pierre Mangold. Senior goalkeeper Elijah Gibson was on the second-team unit, while midfielder Matthew McArthur was an all-freshman pick.
● Two players on the University of South Alabama football team have earned recognition from the Sun Belt Conference. Linebacker Blake Dees was named defensive player of the week for his school-record 20 total tackles in the win over Idaho. Jeremy Reaves was honored for his special-teams play in the win over Louisiana-Lafayette, after he blocked an extra-point attempt and intercepted a two-point conversion pass. This is his second award from the SBC, having gained notice on Sept. 21.
● Two volleyball players from Spring Hill have received Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference awards. Madison Seuzeneau, a junior outside hitter, was named to the all-conference squad. Dorina Klinger, a freshman middle blocker, was selected as Newcomer of the Year. Ineligible for post-season play during their NCAA transition process, the Lady Badgers were 23-7 overall and 19-1 in the SIAC.
● The University of Mobile carried a 12-game winning streak into the finals of the Southern States Athletic Conference volleyball tournament. However, Coastal Georgia pulled off the upset to deny the Lady Rams a berth in the NAIA national playoffs.
Mobile, which ended with a 32-6 record, had two players on the all-tournament team in senior Bailey Nations and junior Hannah Buck. The all-SSAC squad had Nations, senior Taylor Harper, sophomore Hannah Wentland and junior Jessica Bagwell on the first team, plus Buck and senior Caroline Ennis on the second team.
Harper and Nations have also been named to the 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-District team. Harper has a 4.0 grade point average as a biology major and chemistry minor. Nations has a 3.82 GPA in accounting.
During the season, Lady Rams head coach Jon Campbell picked up his 400th career victory. He has coached for 17 years, including the last 11 seasons with Mobile. He has been named conference coach of the year four times, including this season.