Penn State redshirt junior defensive tackle Austin Johnson announced after the TaxSlayer Bowl that he was forgoing his final year of eligibility to turn pro and enter the 2016 NFL Draft. The first step in that process appears to be participating in the 2016 Senior Bowl. It was announced today that Johnson accepted an invitation to the college football all-star game.
Non-senior players are eligible for the Senior Bowl if they have already graduated. Johnson met that prerequisite after graduating in December. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg has not yet graduated, making him ineligible for the game.
Johnson is the third Penn State player to accept an invitation to this year's senior bowl after defensive end Carl Nassib and safety Jordan Lucas. Indications are that Lucas will likely not be healthy enough to participate in the game, so he will have to impress NFL scouts at Penn State's pro day and in private workouts. Notably, defensive tackle Anthony Zettel was not invited to the game.