Pead Wins MVP, Wolfe Also Impresses in Senior Bowl

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College football’s premier All-Star game allowed Isaiah Pead to shine today. He has always performed at his best when the stage was the biggest. Just go look at gametape from Cincinnati-West Virginia in 2009, Cincinnati-NC State from last season, and most recently the Liberty Bowl. It seems that the brighter the lights shine, the more it pushes Pead to be great and that’s just what happened yesterday at the Senior Bowl. He led both teams with 31 rushing yards and had the longest run of the day with an 18 yard burst. But the highlight of his performance was an amazing 60 yard punt return. In limited time in that role, we Bearcat fans saw what iPead could do and it honestly made me question why he wasn’t installed there from day 1. The return yesterday was vintage Pead. Upon catching the punt, he immediately turned on the jets and began drifting into traffic from the opposing coverage unit. No matter. A little shake-and-bake evaded a helpless tackler and Pead hit the turbo button to burn the rest of the South’s special teams down the sidelines. The only thing that stood between Pead and the endzone was his own two feet but, as we saw a million times in his career, he was attacked by the turf monster at the South’s 18 yard-line. He finished with 98 return yards on just two tries all in the first half. It was a Senior Bowl record and helped earn him the game’s MVP award.

Isaiah spoke about his award after the game.

When Pead gets drafted in a few months, he’ll probably be tabbed as a 2nd or 3rd rounder. Yesterday he proved how versatile of a player he truly is. Of course he can get it done as a tailback in the regular offense but his abilities as a receiver and returner makes him more of an attractive candidate to NFL teams. He’s only snagged more suitors with his performance at the Senior Bowl. I’ll get to more details on his draftability (probably a word) as the NFL Draft approaches but for now it appears like Pead has locked himself into the 2nd/3rd round.

Another former Bearcat playing in the Senior Bowl was defensive tackle Derek Wolfe. He had a much quieter game finishing with just 3 total tackles but he gave NFL scouts a look at what a dominating lineman he can truly be. There was some speculation that he might get drafted as a defensive end and the fact that he played there most of the day on the edge only confirmed those suspicions. While not the greatest line in the world in limited snaps, Wolfe got the best of his opposing offensive tackle most of the time. He likely caught the attention of teams like the Patriots and Ravens who each utilize 3-4 defenses and would definitely need his services. Wolfe spent most of the first half of the game at defensive end but moved to his more natural defensive tackle position in the second half. He had markedly better success on the edge. Like Pead, I will speak more about Wolfe at the next level a little before the NFL Draft in April.

Both Pead and Wolfe certainly did the C-Paw on their helmets proud yesterday. It was bittersweet watching them strap on those helmets in a live game for the final time. Hopefully we see them have long and illustrious careers in the NFL but I will always remember them as Bearcats.