It’s the ultimate pre-draft all-star game and it has eyes on Northeast Conference football.
On an annual basis, the Reese’s Senior Bowl provides an opportunity for elite draft prospects from around the country to showcase their talent and connect with coaches and decision-makers from all 32 NFL teams.
Sacred Heart running back Julius Chestnut and Merrimack cornerback Darion McKenzie may earn the chance to attend the week-long festivities in Mobile, AL this coming February. The two players appear on the official Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List heading into the 2021 fall season.
Chestnut comes off a spring season that saw him finish third overall in the Stats Perform Walter Payton Award voting. He totaled 888 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns in four games against NEC opponents. In a NCAA FCS playoff game, the 6-foot-1 do-it-all running back rushed for 138 yards and one touchdown against No. 5 Delaware.
Chestnut will enter his fourth collegiate season with 3,063 career rush yards over a 28-game span. He averages 5.75 yards per carry.
McKenzie made Merrimack’s lone interception in a game against Sacred heart this past spring. In 2019, the 6-foot-2 cornerback appeared in nine games and totaled 11 pass break-ups.
Should Chestnut and/or McKenzie impress enough to earn an official invitation, they would join a short list of NEC invitees.
In 2017, Saint Francis safety Lorenzo Jerome became the first-ever NEC athlete to earn a spot in the Senior Bowl.
Jerome, a four-time all-NEC first team honoree, performed exceptionally well during the all-star game, intercepting two passes and forcing a fumble. He went on to sign a post-draft contract with the San Francisco 49ers, and he currently competes for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.
During the 2020 NFL Draft process, Wagner’s Cam Gill (LB) and Chris Williams (DL) were invited to the East-West Shrine Game. Gill went onto sign an undrafted free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played in Super Bowl 55. Williams spent the 2020 NFL season on the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad and is battling for a spot on the 53-man roster this summer.