The Senior Bowl comes and goes every year in late January, but when one of college football’s most prolific players in a generation elects to participate, its big news. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is that kind of a draw and its why more set of eyes are focused on the Senior Bowl in some time.
Tebow weighed in under the watchful eye of scouts Monday measuring in at a shade of 6’2 ½” and 236 pounds, and by most accounts looked fit. But as practices begin this week for Saturday’s game, the Gator signal caller is one of six quarterback prospects on hand.
The Buffalo Bills will likely be assessing whether they need a premier quarterback at the top of the draft or a developmental prospect taken in the middle rounds. Below is a thumbnail sketch of the six quarterbacks in this weekend’s Senior Bowl (Sat. Jan. 30, 3pm).
Sean Canfield, 6’4” 214, Oregon State
Canfield is a high-percentage passer that completed almost 68 percent of his throws as a senior (67.9%), which was good for fourth best in the nation. Though he doesn't possess a rocket arm, he finished his career with the Beavers fourth all-time in passing yards (5,970) and led the Pac-10 in passing yards per game with over 250 on average (251.6 yards per game). He ranked second in the Pac-10 in passer rating (141.9). A team co-captain, Canfield was 15-9 as a starter.
Canfield will be looking to put together a strong week after a rough outing in his final college game, a Las Vegas Bowl loss to BYU (44-20) in which he was just 20-41 passing for 173 yards an interception and a rushing touchdown.
Dan LeFevour, 6’3” 229, Central Michigan
It was a remarkable four-year career for the NCAA Bowl Subdivision’s all-time leader in total touchdowns with 150 (102 passing, 47 rushing). Second all-time in total offense with almost 15,583 yards, LeFevour is the only player in college football history with 12,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards. A finalist for a laundry list of awards including the Unitas Golden Arm Award, LeFevour is looking to become the latest in a line of successful Mid-American conference quarterbacks to make a successful jump to the NFL (see: Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Chad Pennington).
LeFevour compiled a record of 36-15 as a starter for the Chippewas and finished his college career with an impressive MVP performance in the double overtime GMAC Bowl win over Troy going 33 for 55 for 395 yards and a touchdown. He also had a rushing TD.
Tony Pike, 6’6” 209, Cincinnati
With 27 games under his belt in his college career with the Bearcats, Pike was ultra-productive in Brian Kelly’s spread attack. Pike threw for over 5,000 yards and 49 touchdowns while completing almost 62 percent of his passes as a two-year starter. Though he’s knocked for his inconsistency in reading coverages, Pike had a plus-23 passing touchdown to interception margin in 2009 to set a school record.
Senior season compromised somewhat by a broken non-throwing arm, but finished the season with his team in the Sugar Bowl loss to Florida going 27-45 for 170 yards and three touchdowns. Will be looking to display more consistent velocity on deep throws, better pocket awareness and ability to read coverages quickly and effectively.
Jarrett Brown, 6’4” 221, West Virginia
Brown was forced to wait his turn behind Pat White, but made the most of his opportunity in 2009 starting all 12 games to finish with a career record of 11-3. The double threat signal caller finished his Mountaineers career with over 4,000 yards of total offense (2,983 passing, 1,138 rushing) and 29 touchdowns (16 passing, 13, rushing).
Averaging a solid 7.24 yards per attempt, Brown had 29 pass plays of 20 yards or more in his final collegiate season including five of 40 yards or more while completing over 63 percent of his passes. The south Florida native will be using Senior Bowl week to avenge the sour note upon which his collegiate career ended. Brown suffered an ankle injury in the first half of the Gator Bowl against Florida State and could not return completing just one pass for 15 yards and rushing for 63 yards and a touchdown in a 33-21 defeat.
Zac Robinson, 6’3” 218, Oklahoma State
A finalist for the Unitas Golden Arm Award, Robinson rewrote the Cowboy record books for the quarterback position. The Oklahoma State signal caller was responsible for 10,175 yards of offense is the school’s all-time best and he also holds the university’s mark for career touchdown passes with 66.
The three-year starter was considered a dual threat after rushing for almost 850 yards as a sophomore, but ran less and less with each passing year. Robinson’s passing numbers however, dipped as a senior as the absence of dynamic wideout Dez Bryant hurt his production as well as the five games missed by All-American running back Kendall Hunter.
Robinson will be looking to prove that he can perform on a big stage, something that proved difficult in his college career, including his final game in the 21-7 Cotton Bowl loss to Ole Miss when he went 13-27 for 118 yards and two interceptions.
Tim Tebow, 6’2 ½” 236, Florida
Two years after becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, Tebow is a two-time recipient of the Maxwell Award and owner of 13 SEC and 25 school records. Tebow made 40 starts in his collegiate career completing better than 66 percent of his passes for 9,285 yards. He also rushed for 2,947 yards and had 145 touchdowns in his career (88 passing, 57 rushing).
Also twice named ESPN the Magazine’s Academic All-American of the Year. Tebow finished his college career in grand fashion going 31-35 for 482 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-24 whitewash of Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl.
Tebow however, will arguably have the most to prove this week at the Senior Bowl. After a rough start Monday, he’ll have to show he’s ready to get coached up and improve as the week wears on to ease the skeptics about his ability to play under center, effectively drop and throw accurately to all parts of the field.