BATON ROUGE -- Three members off of LSU's Cotton Bowl champion team will suit up for the South squad later this month in the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl as linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, defensive tackle Drake Nevis and kicker Josh Jasper have all be invited to take part in the all-star game in Mobile.
Kickoff for the 62nd Senior Bowl is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT on Jan. 29 from Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The game will be televised by NFL Network.
"LSU is known for always being strong defensively and Drake and Kelvin certainly were two big factors for that this season," Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale said. "They've both had outstanding careers and are two of the best players at their respective positions in this year's senior class."
Sheppard was a first team All-SEC selection by both the Associated Press and league coaches this season. The three-year starter at middle linebacker led the Tigers with 116 total tackles, including 11 tackles for loss and four sacks in 2010. He posted double-digit tackles in six of the Tigers' 13 games this year and was the unquestioned leader of the SEC's second ranked total defense.
"First and foremost it's an honor to be invited and have the opportunity to come down there and play in the Senior Bowl," Sheppard said. "I just want to go out there and put on a show and show the coaches, the staffs and the Senior Bowl representatives why I got invited. I want to go down there and show off my tools, but at the same time gain some tools because I know I'm going to be working with NFL personnel, NFL coaches. So I'm going to go down there and pay attention to all the details to try to make sure I do my best at everything."
The Stone Mountain, Ga., native finished his career with 311 total tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and two interceptions. He played in 53 career games for the Tigers, starting 30 of those contests.
"I feel that with getting that hands-on knowledge from these NFL coaching staffs, I'll have a huge advantage over other guys that won't play in the Senior Bowl," Sheppard added.
Nevis is the latest addition to what is becoming a very impressive list of defensive linemen to play at LSU. He was a second team All-America selection (Walter Camp, AP) and first team All-SEC pick by the AP and league coaches this year. The defensive tackle was a force up front for the Tigers in 2010, totaling 56 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and six sacks. He tied for third in the SEC with three forced fumbles and was eighth in the conference in sacks.
The Marrero, La., native wrapped up his career ranked ninth on LSU's all-time list with 31.5 tackles for loss. He also tallied 139 total tackles, 10 sacks and four forced fumbles.
Jasper was a first team All-America (FWAA, Sporting News) and a first team All-SEC selection (Associated Press) in 2010. He finished the season having connected on 28-of-34 field goals and 36-of-37 extra points. His 28 made field goals are a new LSU single-season record. The Memphis, Tenn., native also set a school record for field goals made in a single game this season when he booted five against Mississippi State. He capped off his record-breaking career at LSU with a Cotton Bowl record-tying 50-yard field goal in last week's victory over Texas A&M and drilled a career-best 53-yarder against Louisiana-Monroe earlier in the year.
Jasper leaves LSU as one of the most prolific and efficient kickers in school history, ranking fourth all-time with 47 field goals made (47-of-56). He is also LSU's all-time leader in career field goal percentage (.839), which ranks second in SEC history. He was 5-of-6 from beyond 50 yards and 75-of-76 in PATs over the course of his career.
Tickets for the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl are currently available for purchase at the Senior Bowl ticket office (151 Dauphin Street), the Bel Air Mall customer service desk, all area Food For Less locations, select Regions Bank locations, online at www.seniorbowl.com or by calling (251) 432-4109.
(Courtesy: LSU Athletics Department)