Make that three members of the BCS National Champion Auburn Tigers slated to play in this year's Under Armour Senior Bowl. Safety Zac Etheridge has officially accepted an invitation to play in the senior showcase event, it was announced today. Etheridge joins previously announced Tigers Lee Ziemba and Josh Bynes on the South roster. The 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl will kickoff at 3pm (CT) on Saturday, January 29th in Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The game and all practices will be televised by NFL Network.
"We're happy to be able to add Zac to the South roster as he is very deserving of this recognition," Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale said. "Zac was one of the many senior leaders that contributed to the Tigers' undefeated championship season this year and seemed to play his best when it mattered most."
Etheridge closed out his collegiate career by snagging his third interception of the season in the Tigers' 22-19 victory over Oregon in the BCS National Championship. He was an honorable mention All-SEC pick this season after finishing second on the team in tackles (69) and 38th in the SEC in tackles per game (4.9). He had his best outing of the season against Kentucky—totaling 11 tackles, eight of which were unassisted.
"It was great, I've been working so hard to get that invite and I was just so happy to get that call (from Senior Bowl President Steve Hale) especially after the National Championship game, it just made the celebration even better," Etheridge said.
For his career the Troy, Alabama native tallied 259 total tackles, eight tackles for loss and four interceptions. He also made a remarkable comeback from a serious neck injury he suffered his junior year. Prior to the injury, Etheridge had made 33 consecutive starts.
"I'm very blessed just to get this opportunity to play in the Senior Bowl and really to play the game again," Etheridge said.
Etheridge, Ziemba and Bynes will be coached by Chan Gailey and his Buffalo Bills staff while in Mobile. In all, the SEC is sending 22 players to the Under Armour Senior Bowl with the Florida Gators and Mississippi State Bulldogs tied for the most participants at four a piece.
"I'm looking forward to it, it's my chance to get down there and show my talents in front of a lot of NFL scouts and go out there with a lot of college players that you didn't get to play against from other conferences. It's just a great opportunity to go down there and compete against those guys," Etheridge added.
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.