The Big East might not be what it once was (and, really, the football was never realistically going to be in the national conversation), but that doesn't mean the conference doesn't produce some great players.
Going back to last century, there's Donovan McNabb, Marvin Harrison and Dwight Freeney all NFL stars at one time or another by way of Syracuse. More recently, we have Larry Fitzgerald (Pitt) and Darrelle Revis (Pitt), Connor Barwin and Brent Celek (Cincy), Ray Rice (Rutgers), not to mention Tyvon Branch and Kendall Reyes (UConn) (among many, many others).
The point: the overall product might not compare to the SEC or Big Ten or even the ACC, but individually, the Big East can hold its own in the NFL. And one of the launching pads to that success starts late in January at the Senior Bowl. We've mentioned previously that the 2013 version of the game will feature Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Dwayne Gratz and Trevardo Williams. But ESPN Big East blogger Andrea Adelson writes the the entire conference will be well represented in Mobile, Ala.
A year ago, only three players from the Big East played in the Senior Bowl -- Reyes, and Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead and Derek Wolfe. This time around seven players are slated to play:
In addition to Wreh-Wilson, Gratz and Williams, there's Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers; Cory Grissom, DT, USF; Travis Kelce, TE, Cincy; and Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse.
Adelson is curious to see how Nassib plays in Alabama. "I am interested to see whether Nassib improves his draft stock, especially when you consider how weak the quarterback class is for 2013," she wrote Thursday. "Nassib has all the physical tools NFL coaches want to see -- good size, arm strength, intelligence and leadership ability. He has started for three years and has proven he can lead an offense."
NFLDraftScout.com ranks Nassib as the fourth-best quarterback prospect behind West Virginia's Geno Smith, USC's Matt Barkley, And Arkansas' Tyler Wilson.