Panini America On Location: Kicking Things Off at the 2014 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
LONG BEACH, Calif. — As a postcard-perfect California afternoon eased into evening, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith on Wednesday addressed a room full of former NFL greats and future hopefuls on the growing importance of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Presented By Panini. Smith’s impassioned words kept everyone in attendance on the edge of their seats and underscored the importance of an event that has matured significantly in its first three years.
That maturation continues in earnest this week as some of the top draft-eligible players in the country receive coaching from legendary names like Dick Vermeil and Dennis Green in preparation for showcasing their wares to NFL scouts during Saturday’s game at StubHub Center.
Panini America’s presenting sponsorship of the game this year has added considerable import to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl as a football card event. Panini America has brought eight of the top rookies from the 2013 Draft Class — EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, DeAndre Hopkins, Le’Veon Bell, Stedman Bailey, Denard Robinson and Justin Hunter — to serve as Panini America ambassadors and to get caught up on their 2013 autograph commitments. Beginning today, those players not only will sign for their outstanding redemptions, they’ll also be signing cards for upcoming 2013 Panini America products such as 2013 Black Football, 2013 National Treasures Football, 2013 Spectra Football and more.
Stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for continued coverage of those signings as well as continued coverage of 2014 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl activities leading up to Saturday’s kickoff. But for now, here are some things you should now about the game:
Offensive headliners for the American team include Missouri quarterback James Franklin, Wisconsin tight end Brian Wozniak and Texas Tech receiver Eric Ward. The National team counters with South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw, Stanford running back Anthony Wilkerson and LSU receiver Kadron Boone. Check out the complete rosters for both teams right here.
Kudos to the NFLPA for constructing a simply legendary roster of coaches for both the American and National teams. In addition to the aforementioned head coaches of Vermeil and Green, the assistants are anchored by the likes of Priest Holmes, Andre Reed, Darrell Green, Charlie Joiner, Daunte Culpepper and more. Check out the complete roster of coaches here.
Finally, to get you ready for Saturday’s action, we thought we’d share this sweet video the NFLPA Bowl put together during yesterday’s practice using some strategically mounted GoPro cameras. Enjoy, and stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for continued coverage of the 2014 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Presented by Panini.