The Reese’s Senior Bowl is here, and all throughout the practice period, we have seen a lot of onlookers openly express how impressed they are with most of these guys. Ian Book is positioning himself for a mid-round pick — and has been maybe the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl. Robert Hainsey has impressed with his versatility and steady play, and defensive ends Adetokunbo Ogundeji and Daelin Hayes have also turned heads.
It might be a very fine day for Notre Dame, so give it a watch. From today’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish football press release:
MOBILE, Alabama — Five University of Notre Dame former student-athletes will suit up for the 72nd annual Reese’s Senior Bowl Saturday, Jan. 30 in Hancock Whitney Stadium on the campus of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. Offensive linemen Aaron Banks and Robert Hainsey, quarterback Ian Book and defensive linemen Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji have participated in the preparation for the game, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. EST on the NFL Network.
Offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg previously accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl, but elected not to participate. Additionally, wide receiver Ben Skowronek accepted an invitation and participated in the first three days of practice in Mobile, before leaving the event with an injury. With seven accepted invitations, Notre Dame leads all programs with the highest number of accepted invitations, and with six participants, the Irish tie for first among all college football programs with the most student-athletes taking part in the week’s on-field activities.
Overall, Notre Dame has had a total of 71 players take part in the history of the Senior Bowl, with this year’s five bumping that number up to 76. The Irish have been represented in the game for 16-straight years.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl invites the nation’s top senior collegiate football players and NFL draft prospects on teams representing the American (Panthers) and National (Dolphins) teams. The Carolina Panthers’ and Miami Dolphins’ coaching staffs will coach the teams. Only college seniors and fourth-year junior graduates are eligible for the game. Fourth-year junior graduates must have graduated by December prior to the game to be eligible.
Banks racked up 31-career starts and is a consensus All-American for 2020, having been named to the Associated Press and AFCA All-America first teams. He was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance vs. Clemson (11/7). Selected to the All-ACC First Team, Banks was part of an offensive line that led the ACC and ranked seventh in the FBS in time of possession, controlling the ball for 33:56 minutes of game time and winning the time of possession battle in 11-of-12 games this season. The 33:56 time of possession average led the ACC by more than two minutes per game.
The winningest quarterback in Notre Dame history (30-5), Book completed 228 passes for 2,830 yards and 15 touchdowns, also adding 116 rushes for 485 yards (ranked third on the team). The graduate student and two-time team captain won the 2020 Pop Warner National College Football Award, and was named third team All-ACC by the conference. He is a finalist for the Manning Award, as well as a semifinalist for the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards, while finishing in the Top 10 in Heisman voting. Book was also recently announced as a member of the All-ACC Academic Team.
Hainsey, a mainstay on the Irish O-Line and selected by the conference as All-ACC Second Team, was a rare two-time team captain, and was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, also being named Senior CLASS Award First Team All-America. He was named ACC co-Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance vs. South Florida, and totaled 34-career starts. Also returning from a season-ending injury in 2019, Hainsey was a member of a line that paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in Kyren Williams, and two additional players who totaled more than 480 rushing yards on the season (RB Chris Tyree – 496, QB Ian Book – 485). This past week, Hainsey was tabbed to the All-ACC Academic Team.
Graduate student Hayes was a captain for the Irish in 2020-21 and leader on the defensive line. He started all 12 games for Notre Dame this past season, totaling 6.0 TFL (loss of 32 yards), including 3.0 sacks (loss of 19 yards). He totaled 17 tackles on the season, also noting his first-career interception, which he returned for 13 yards vs. Syracuse. Hayes forced two fumbles and recorded one fumble recovery. The honorable mention All-ACC honoree was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance at Georgia Tech, in which he totaled 2.0 sacks, and two forced fumbles on those sacks.
Also a captain for the Irish, Ogundeji started all 12 games of the 2020-21 season, leading the team with 7.0 sacks (loss of 28 yards). He posted 23 tackles on the year, also noting a forced fumble and fumble recovery. A graduate student, he served as a leader on the defensive line and posted multiple sacks on two occasions in 2020-21, marking 2.0 sacks each vs. Florida State and at North Carolina. Following the regular season, he was tabbed honorable mention All-ACC.
Skowronek led the Irish in receiving touchdowns in 2020 with five, as he caught 29 passes for 439 yards in 10 games. With three receiving touchdowns at Boston College, no other Notre Dame player has ever recorded more receiving touchdowns in a single game vs. a Power 5 opponent than Skowronek’s three. He also noted his first-career rushing touchdown in 2020 on the first rush of his career (at North Carolina). The graduate student also earned a selection to the All-ACC Academic Team.
The Senior Bowl will air on NFL Network beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on January 30. Tickets have been sold to capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.