Throughout the fall, I've tracked the progress of the top prospects on the Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list created by executive director Jim Nagy and his staff. With the regular season now in the books, I've put together an all-star squad of potential Senior Bowl participants (many have already accepted invitations) based on their production this year and whether they are likely to be Day 1 or Day 2 selections in the 2023 NFL Draft (April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri). Also, I included a second-team all-star squad, which you can find at the bottom of this article.
The 2023 Senior Bowl will be held at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, on Feb. 4, 2023 and broadcast on NFL Network.
- Heights and weights are via school measurements.
- * denotes Senior Bowl has announced player accepted invite to the game as of Noon ET on Friday, Dec. 2.
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee (6-foot-4, 218 pounds)
Prior to suffering a season-ending knee injury in the Volunteers' loss to South Carolina on Nov. 19, Hooker led the team to big wins over Alabama, LSU and Florida. His quick delivery and tight spiral allowed him to accurately hit short and intermediate routes, and Tennessee's excellent schemes helped him find open receivers downfield. The Maxwell (player of the year) and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm (top upperclassman QB) Award finalist also made edge rushers pay for going past the pocket, rushing for five scores.
Chase Brown, Illinois (5-11, 205)*
Brown's been a consistent performer throughout the 2022 campaign, but coming back from a leg injury suffered the previous week to carry the rock 29 times for 140 yards and two scores in Illinois' near-upset of Michigan took him to another level. The FBS' second-leading rusher (1,643 yards) and Doak Walker Award finalist (top RB) combines vision after the handoff with power through contact. He has the ability to find a second gear downfield, too.
Zach Charbonnet, UCLA (6-1, 220)
Charbonnet missed time due to injury this season, but his impact on the Bruins' offense cannot be overlooked. He ranks fourth in the FBS with 135.9 rushing yards per game and has scored 14 times in 10 contests. His size leads you to believe he is a pure power runner -- and he does high-knee his way through contact and overwhelm smaller defenders when lowering his pads. Charbonnet is agile for his build, though, when hitting a gap or catching the ball out of the backfield (he has 37 receptions this season).
Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State (6-3, 205)*
Hutchinson could have left Iowa State for the NFL after the 2021 season as a potential middle-round pick, but his play in 2022 positioned him as a probable Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) selection. The FBS leader with 107 receptions, Hutchinson possesses height and strength that allow him to get position on cornerbacks downfield and slants off the line. The Biletnikoff Award finalist (top WR) was also used on quick screens because of his toughness and short-area agility with the ball in his hands.
Rashee Rice, SMU (6-2, 203)*
Rice leads the FBS with 1,355 receiving yards despite drawing the focus of the defense each week. He played through a turf toe injury this season to remain a big part of the Mustangs' attack. Rice's abilities to win off the line, efficiently change directions on short throws to move the chains and attack passes in the air make him an all-around threat with No. 1 receiver potential at the next level.
Dalton Kincaid, Utah (6-4, 240)*
Kincaid took a step forward as a senior and leads all FBS tight ends with 850 receiving yards. His outstanding agility helps him separate from defenders, and he possesses the body control and catch radius to grab throws away from his frame. Whether from an H-back or in-line position, Kincaid can win as a run blocker, as well, which should earn him a top-75 draft slot.
Dawand Jones, Ohio State (6-8, 359)
Jones has really helped his draft status this season, playing the most consistent football of his career. Bookending with junior left tackle Paris Johnson Jr., he's given Buckeyes QB C.J. Stroud a strong pocket while also providing rushing lanes for the team's backs, even though injuries have ravaged Ohio State's backfield depth. Jones has played with better balance in the open field to negate linebackers, used his length to send edge rushers around the pocket and improved when it comes to gaining leverage off the snap in the run game.
Cody Mauch, North Dakota State (6-6, 303)*
Mauch's been very impressive this year as a leader for the Bison, giving up few pressures in pass protection and moving the line of scrimmage on zone and power runs. His athleticism is always evident when he takes off to block linebackers on run plays -- he consistently hits his targets to open big lanes. Mauch's intensity as a blocker is unmatched in this class, which helps explain why he was the lone offensive lineman finalist for the Walter Payton Award (top offensive player in the FCS).
O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida (6-5, 347)
Torrence controls defensive tackles with his powerful upper body, turning them out of the hole and throwing opponents to the ground, where he's happy to finish the block. He anchors in pass protection with his strong lower half, and he has shown enough foot quickness to stick with quicker rushers and move to targets at the second level. I think most NFL teams will value his skill set, no matter what blocking scheme they employ.
Andrew Vorhees, USC (6-6, 325)
Vorhees returned to USC to play a sixth year after Lincoln Riley was hired and has been a rock at left guard. His power off the snap helps in the run game, and he's reliable when it comes to protecting Heisman candidate Caleb Williams, as well, which means he's been a big part of the team's fifth-ranked offense. Vorhees' experience starting at guard and tackle during his career is a bonus for his NFL stock.
John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota (6-4, 320)
It's no surprise the Gophers rank 11th in the FBS in rushing with Schmitz leading the offensive line. The sixth-year senior directs his mates up front and willfully moves his opponent out of his gap. His powerful lower body allows him to get that movement, and he provides sturdy pass protection in the pivot. He's moved into Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) consideration with his play this year.
Zach Harrison, Ohio State (6-6, 272)
Harrison did not post eye-catching production early in the season, but he found his groove in the most important part of the campaign. He was unleashed against Iowa in late October, beating the right tackle regularly off the snap and turning the corner for a strip-sack. With Ohio State holding onto a six-point lead late against Maryland on Nov. 19, the senior took over the game with two sacks, besting left tackle Jaelyn Duncan to end the Terrapins' hope of an upset. Even in the Buckeyes' disappointing loss to Michigan last week, Harrison stood his ground in the run game and chased plays across the field.
Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech (6-6, 275)*
I projected Wilson as the No. 3 senior prospect heading into the season, and he did not disappoint. He ranks 12th in the FBS with an average of 1.4 tackles for loss per game and is among the Big 12 leaders with seven sacks despite missing the last two games due to a foot injury. Wilson's contributions didn't always show up on the stat sheet, as his length and power on the edge have forced quarterbacks to make hasty throws or try to escape his grasp. Wilson announced on Nov. 20 that he would not play again this season, stating that he would be 100 percent healthy for NFL draft workouts, "where I plan to continue to prove that I'm the best defensive player in this upcoming draft."
Siaki Ika, Baylor (6-4, 358)*
Ika followed his former defensive coordinator at LSU, Dave Aranda, to Baylor before last season. The Bears use multiple fronts, with Ika eating A-gaps versus the run by winning one-on-ones with quickness (yes, at 358 pounds) in a four-man front and shedding blockers in a two-gap situation. While he does not have a sack this season, Ika affects the passing game even if he doesn't get home before the quarterback unloads the ball.
Byron Young, Alabama (6-3, 292)
Young has been a consistent bright spot for an Alabama defense that has not always played to its usual standard. He's tied for second on the team with four sacks, regularly affecting plays between the tackles and outside the box, as his hustle to the ball is excellent. Whether lined up over a guard or outside a tackle, his quickness off the snap, athleticism and strong build make him a potential fit at multiple spots on the D-line at the next level.
Jack Campbell, Iowa (6-5, 246)
Campbell has averaged 10 tackles a game for the Hawkeyes over the past two seasons. This year, he leads an Iowa defense ranked top-10 in the FBS in yards and points allowed. He directs traffic, finds running backs inside and oversees a large share of the field in coverage. While not charged with attacking the backfield as much as other linebackers (11.5 tackles for loss since the start of the 2020 season), Campbell is fully capable of coming downhill, whether it's to make a play versus the run or to nix screen passes.
Daiyan Henley, Washington State (6-2, 232)*
The Cougars signed Henley from the transfer portal after the 2021 season, when he was an All-Mountain West performer at Nevada. He began his career with the Wolf Pack as a receiver after starring at quarterback for Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, but eventually moved to defense. His speed and physicality have been evident on the field this season, as he's Washington State's leader in tackles (106) and tackles for loss (12). He earned a Butkus Award finalist (top collegiate linebacker) nod for his efforts. Henley's quickness to the ball reminds me of 2022 third-round draft pick Channing Tindall.
Henry To'oTo'o, Alabama (6-2, 228)
To'oTo'o transferred from Tennessee to Alabama prior to the 2021 season and has been a steady force in the middle since his arrival. He has 89 tackles, including seven for loss, handling his responsibilities against the run and pass with equal aplomb. He's strong as a delayed blitz threat and weaves through trash to attack running backs. NFL teams know they can stick him into the starting lineup on Day 1.
Anthony Johnson, Virginia (6-2, 205)*
A sixth-year player who transferred to Virginia after four seasons at Louisville, Johnson is among the FBS leaders with an average of 1.4 passes defended per contest, including two interceptions in 10 games. His height and build make him a nice fit outside against taller receivers, and his seven career interceptions show he can make plays on the ball when quarterbacks challenge him.
Devon Witherspoon, Illinois (6-0, 180)*
Illinois has one of the top defenses in the country, with a strong secondary that includes three players who have accepted Senior Bowl invites: Witherspoon, safety Sydney Brown and nickel back Jartavius Martin. Witherspoon intercepted three throws this year and ranks among the nation's leaders with 14 pass breakups, consistently harassing receivers through the catch downfield and on shorter routes. When playing off the ball, the Jim Thorpe Award finalist (top collegiate defensive back) transitions quickly from his backpedal to the receiver to knock away passes and secure tackles. Witherspoon has earned six penalty flags this season, per Pro Football Focus, and has a physical style of play, but NFL coaches will appreciate his tenacity.
Jammie Robinson, Florida State (5-11, 203)*
There's no surprise in Robinson making this list; he was a first-team All-ACC pick in his first year with the Seminoles in 2021 (after transferring from South Carolina) and received the same recognition after his strong senior campaign. He's a versatile performer who patrols the third level, reliably wrapping up running backs in the open field and stopping receivers if they escape coverage. Florida State's leading tackler also lines up in the box and over slot receivers, showing off his toughness and athleticism.
Christopher Smith, Georgia (5-11, 195)
A leader of the nation's fourth-ranked defense, Smith has made big plays the past two years, intercepting a pass against Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship last season and picking off a throw in this year's opener against Oregon. His INT set up the Bulldogs' third touchdown, putting the game out of reach for the Ducks. The Bronco Nagurski Award finalist (top defensive player) might not be the biggest or fastest safety in the draft class, but his recognition skills and toughness as a tackler will allow him to earn a starting job early in his pro career.
- QB: Bo Nix, Oregon (6-2, 213)
- RB: Eric Gray, Oklahoma (5-10, 210)*
- RB: Kenny McIntosh, Georgia (6-1, 210)
- WR: Zay Flowers, Boston College (5-10, 172)
- WR: Jonathan Mingo, Mississippi (6-2, 225)*
- TE: Sam LaPorta, Iowa (6-4, 249)
- OT: Javon Foster, Missouri (6-5, 319)
- OT: Blake Freeland, BYU (6-8, 305)*
- OG: Steve Avila, TCU (6-4, 330)*
- OG: Nick Broeker, Mississippi (6-5, 315)*
- C: Alex Forsyth, Oregon (6-4, 312)*
- Edge: Derick Hall, Auburn (6-3, 256)*
- Edge: K.J. Henry, Clemson (6-4, 255)
- DT: Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin (6-4, 315)*
- DT: Zacch Pickens, South Carolina (6-4, 305)*
- LB: SirVocea Dennis, Pittsburgh (6-1, 230)
- LB: DeMarvion Overshown, Texas (6-4, 220)*
- LB: Owen Pappoe, Auburn (6-1, 225)*
- CB: Julius Brents, Kansas State (6-4, 202)*
- CB: Jartavius Martin, Illinois (6-0, 195)*
- S: Jordan Battle, Alabama (6-1, 206)
- S: Sydney Brown, Illinois (6-0, 205)*