SEC tops list of invitees to NFL scouting combine

The first week in February is big for both high school players and college players.

For the high school seniors, the first week in February means it’s time to sign with the college of their choice. For the college seniors (and selected underclassmen), the first week in February means it’s time to find out if you have been invited to the NFL scouting combine.

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The official list of invitees for the NFL scouting combine, to be held Feb. 22-28 in Indianapolis, was released Tuesday. Invitations were sent to 327 players; there were 327 invitees last year, too, when 254 players were drafted.

Trent Richardson was among nine Alabama players invited to the NFL scouting combine – the most of any school.
(US Presswire)

A selection committee, made up of representatives from the two main scouting services as well as members from various NFL player personnel departments, decides who gets the invitations. The committee’s goal is to invite every player who will be drafted in the ensuing NFL draft.

Obviously, the committee misses more than a few each year. For the most part, though, the invitees are the ones who end up hearing their names called during April’s draft. This year’s draft again will be a three-day affair, with the first round on April 26, the second and third rounds on April 27 and the fourth through seventh rounds on April 28.

The biggest position group at the combine will be defensive linemen and defensive backs (59 invitees each), followed by offensive linemen (55), wide receivers (47), linebackers (33), running backs (30), quarterbacks (19), tight ends (14) and specialists (11).

The SEC will be the most-represented conference, with 53 players (the same number as last year). The Big Ten and Pac-12 each have 45, followed by the ACC with 44, the Big 12 with 34 and the Big East with 20.

National champion Alabama has the most invitees, with nine. Georgia, LSU and Miami each have eight; Boise State, Iowa, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State and USC each have seven; and Arizona State, California, Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Stanford and Texas A&M each have six.

On the other hand, some big-name programs had a low number of invitees, among them Auburn (three), Florida (three), Michigan (three), Tennessee (two, the same number as Kentucky and Vanderbilt), Texas (four) and UCLA (one).

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All but seven teams in the Big Six conferences had players invited. The ones that didn’t: Duke, Indiana, Kansas State, Louisville, Minnesota, Texas Tech and Washington State.

There were numerous players who were selections on all-league and some All-America teams who weren’t invited, among them Oklahoma State offensive tackle Levy Adcock, LSU guard Will Blackwell, Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros, Duke strong safety Matt Daniels, Virginia Tech offensive tackle Blake DeChristopher, Michigan State guard Joel Foreman, Oklahoma State center Grant Garner, Arkansas linebacker Jerry Franklin, Wisconsin free safety Aaron Henry, Western Kentucky running back Bobby Rainey, West Virginia cornerback Keith Tandy, Arkansas free safety Tramain Thomas and Alabama center William Vlachos.

One underclassman who was not invited was Kansas State running back Bryce Brown. Brown was the No. 1 prospect in the 2009 recruiting class and signed with Tennessee. He transferred to K-State after his freshman season, but played in just two games this season with the Wildcats before leaving the team.

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Mike Huguenin is a Yahoo! Sports college sports editor. Send Mike a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Tuesday, Feb 7, 2012