Ichabods rule! Division II Washburn University has two alums playing in Super Bowl XLVII

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

In addition to hosting six Super Bowls, with a seventh to be played on Sunday, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted the Sugar Bowl since 1975 and was the site of four BCS national title games.

It would be safe to say that the football program at Washburn University, a Division II school in Topeka, Kan., has not played any games in the building, but a pair of Ichabod alumni — Baltimore Ravens cornerback Cary Williams and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Michael Wilhoite — will be competing against one another in Super Bowl XLVII, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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As the paper notes, Washburn's two reps outnumber schools like Notre Dame, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State, Texas A&M and Florida State and it's equal to the number of former players from Alabama, who have won three of the last four BCS title games.

What's crazy is that Washburn nearly had a third player in this game, but former 49ers wide receiver Joe Hastings was released last August.

"It's huge for Michael and Cary, and it's huge for our school," Washburn head coach Craig Schurig said. "It shows you can get there from here."

Williams was a seventh-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2008. After spending the first season and a half on the Titans' practice squad, the Ravens signed him to their active roster. Williams emerged as a full-time starter in 2011, tied Ed Reed for the team lead with four interceptions in 2012 and could be on the receiving end of a lucrative contract offers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

[Related: Video: Why are they called 'Ravens' and '49ers'?]

Wilhoite was not drafted by the NFL, beginning his professional career with the Omaha Nighthawks of the defunct United Football League. According to the Chronicle, Wilhoite sold shoes at a local mall, worked as a personal trainer and interned at a Topeka radio station while awaiting an NFL opportunity to surface. That break happened with a Dec. 14, 2011 workout with the 49ers, who signed Wilhoite to the practice squad and then a "futures" contract after the season. Wilhoite was waived at the end of training camp, but was re-signed to the practice squad before being promoted on Nov. 30, 2012. In five regular season games, Wilhoite had seven tackles in 100 snaps (10 on defense, 90 on special teams) and leads the 49ers with three special teams tackles this postseason.

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