Changes in college all-star football games are coming. According to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, the NFL sent a memo to all 32 clubs on Wednesday. In that memo, the league announced the East-West Shrine Bowl, HBCU Legacy Bowl, and Senior Bowl are now permitted to invite juniors who declare for the NFL draft.
“Upon the NFL publicly announcing that a player has been granted special eligibility, the East-West Shrine Bowl, HBCU Legacy Bowl, and Senior Bowl may invite such players to participate in their respective game activities,” the NFL said in the memo. “Only these three games are permitted to invite underclassmen to participate.”
The new format could be a literal game-changer, opening up the Senior Bowl for the first time in decades to the entire NFL draft class, including those players who choose to turn pro after just three years in school. Among those top-rated juniors likely to enter the draft after the 2023 season are USC quarterback Caleb Williams, North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., Georgia tight end Brock Bowers, and Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.
The Senior Bowl has publicly announced only one player commitment for 2024, though numerous invitations have already been extended. The game announced Tuesday that Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt, a fourth-year junior, will play in the upcoming event.
The 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl takes place Feb. 3 at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the University of South Alabama campus.
Everyone at @seniorbowl is excited about today’s announcement re: all juniors being eligible for our game.
We’ve been building our board with underclassmen in anticipation of this potentially happening.