Justin K. Aller
Penn State might not have been eligible for an NCAA-sanctioned bowl game this season, but that doesn't mean the season is over for a host of former Nittany Lions.
Sure, you're probably familiar with the Senior Bowl. Maybe you even know about the East-West Shrine Game. But, dear readers, the opportunity to play one more game and show off for NFL scouts doesn't stop there. And while Penn State will send a couple players to the more established post-season all-star games, if you want to catch all your favorite Nits in action one last time, you'll have to tune in to the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Challenge, the Astroturf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and the Casino del Sol All-Star Game.
Well, actually, you're too late for that last one. The Casino del Sol Game was played last Friday, in Tucson, and featured, amongst others, Penn State's own Mike Farrell. Unfortunately, it's kind of hard to find too much about how it went (both for Farrell and in general), but what we do know is that Farrell's East squad came out on the short end of a 40-7 blowout.
The Collegiate Bowl will feature the most former Lions, with fan-favorite Mike Zordich headlining a trio that also includes Pete Massaro and Sean Stanley. While Zordich is a known commodity, Massaro and Stanley both have something to prove after injury-laden senior seasons, You can catch them in action this Saturday at 6 on ESPN2.
Also on Saturday (at 4 on the NFL Network), a pair of all-Big Ten Lions will look to improve their draft stock, when Gerald Hodges and Matt Stankiewitch take the field representing the East squad in the Shrine Game. Unless something drastic happens in the next few months, Hodges will likely be the first Nittany Lion off the board in April, and he could jump into the early rounds with a good performance here at at the combine.
Jordan Hill is the lone Nittany Lion in the most prestigious of post-season games, as he'll play in the Senior Bowl a week from Saturday. Another all-conference performer, if Hill plays anywhere near as well in the Senior Bowl as he did in the finale against Wisconsin, we could be hearing his name as one of the risers on a whole lot of draft boards.
The last 2012 Lion to play this winter will be Matt McGloin, representing "The Nation" in the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Challenge on February 2nd. It's exceedingly unlikely that McGloin will be drafted, or be anything more than camp fodder at the next level, but after the kind of season he put together in 2012, I like to think we've all learned better than to count him out.
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