Five Vols have been named to the first-ever Senior Bowl Watch List: linebacker Herman Lathers, tight end Mychal Rivera, defensive back Marsalis Teague, lineman Dallas Thomas and defensive back Prentiss Waggner.
» SENIOR BOWL RELEASE: http://www.seniorbowl.com/files/Watch%20List%20Release.pdf
Lathers returns to action this season after missing all of 2011 with a fractured ankle. Lathers enters his senior year as the Vols' starting weakside linebacker. In 2010, Lathers made 75 tackles including 4.5 tackles for a loss. In 25 career games, he has 127 tackles with seven for a loss. He is a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection.
Rivera is on the Mackey Award Watch List presented to the nation's top tight end. He caught 29 passes for 344 yards and one touchdown while starting all 12 games for the Vols in 2012, including a career-high, 85-yard receiving effort against Georgia. In 25 career games, he has caught 40 passes for 466 yards and one score. Rivera finished third in the SEC in receptions and yards receiving in 2011 and also ranked second on the Vols in both categories.
Teague, a former wide receiver with the Vols, enters his final season as a Vol battling for the starting job at left cornerback. Teague played in 11 games last season, starting eight, and made 27 tackles. In his career, Teague has 75 career tackles, including 46 as a sophomore in 2010. He also had eight of his 10 career passes defended in 2010.
Thomas is a member of the Outland Trophy Watch List and will start at left guard as a senior in 2012. Thomas has started the last 25 games of his career at left tackle including all 12 in 2011. Thomas was part of an offensive line that allowed just 18 sacks (1.5 per game) last season, third-fewest in the SEC. He helped the Vols to a pair of 500-yard total offense games as well. As a sophomore in 2010, Thomas started all 13 games and aided Tauren Poole to an SEC-best six 100-yard rushing games.
Waggner comes into 2012 as the Vols starting right cornerback. He was a member of the preseason watch lists for the Thorpe, Bednarik, Nagurski and Lott Awards in 2011. As a junior, Waggner piled up 48 tackles along with nine passes defended and two interceptions. In his career, Waggner has 111 tackles, 18 passes defended and seven interceptions. He was a second-team All-SEC selection after his sophomore year in 2010.
The Senior Bowl will once again have a wide range of talent to choose from when selecting the top senior college football players for its annual showcase event. The nation's premier all-star game unveiled its first ever "Watch List" today, highlighting 312 seniors and top NFL draft prospects from 114 different schools to keep an eye on during the 2012 college football season.
The top 100 seniors in the country will be invited to participate in the 2013 Senior Bowl, set for Saturday, January 26 th in Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Appearing on the Watch List is not a requirement for a player to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl.
"The Senior Bowl is very pleased to announce our first-ever `official' Watch List," Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage said. "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. We have included prospects from almost every level of the college game and look forward to monitoring their progress throughout the upcoming season."
The Southeastern Conference, winners of the last six BCS National Championships, leads all conferences with 71 players on the list