NEWBERRY, S.C. - Newberry College offensive lineman Heath Benedict has accepted an invitation to the 2008 Under Armour Senior Bowl, college officials announced today. Benedict is the first Newberry player to ever be invited to the event, and only the fourth South Atlantic Conference player.
The 2008 Under Armour Senior Bowl will be held at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday, January 26. The game kicks off at 3 p.m. and will be televised live on the NFL Network. The week of practices and meetings leading up to the game will also be televised on the NFL Network.
Benedict has been a four-year starter on the offensive line for the Newberry Indians, earning all-South Atlantic Conference honors in three straight seasons. He has been named all-Southeast Region for three straight years and was named a 2006 All-American by four publications. He was also the winner of the 2006 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which is awarded to the South Atlantic Conference's top blocker each year. Prior to the 2007 season, Benedict was named a preseason All-American by six separate publications.
According to its website, "The Senior Bowl is the nation’s most unique football game and football’s premier pre-draft event, annually featuring the country’s best senior collegiate football stars and top NFL draft prospects on teams representing the North and South which are coached by the entire coaching staffs from two National Football League teams. Senior Bowl practices are also attended by over 700 general managers, head coaches, assistant coaches, scouts and other front office personnel from the 32 National Football League teams, making Mobile and the Senior Bowl the week-long host to a one-of-a-kind NFL Coaches Convention."
The only other South Atlantic Conference players to participate in the Senior Bowl have been Carson-Newman's Brent Collins and David Pool in 1990 and Tusculum' Ricardo Colclough in 2004. Benedict will also be the first Division II player to participate in the Senior Bowl since Colclough's 2004 appearance.
"I am truly honored to be invited to the Senior Bowl," Benedict said. "There are not many Division II players that get this type of opportunity, and I hope I can go represent Division II and Newberry College well."
"I think that this is as big of an honor for an individual player that we could receive," Newberry head coach Zak Willis said. "This proves that a young man can participate in athletics at Newberry College and be recognized at the highest level."
Information on the game, including ticketing can be found at the Senior Bowl Web site, www.SeniorBowl.com .