Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Three Temple players invited to NFL Combine


PHILADELPHIA – For the second consecutive year, three Temple football players have been invited to the NFL Combine. This week junior All-American running back Bernard Pierce (Ardmore, Pa.), senior tight end Evan Rodriguez (North Bergen, N.J.), and senior linebacker Tahir Whitehead (Newark, N.J.) will participate in the 2012 NFL Combine in Indianapolis to be held Feb. 22-28 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The annual NFL Combine provides more than 300 college players the opportunity to showcase their skills and meet with each of the 32 NFL teams head coaches, coaching staffs, personnel directors, and scouts in preparation of the 2012 NFL Draft.  The NFL Combine will be televised on the NFL Network and NFL.com.

Pierce, who decided to forego his senior season, is a three-time first-team All-MAC honoree and was named the 2009 MAC Freshman of the Year. In 2011 he became Temple’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (53), total touchdowns (54), and points scored (324). Pierce also set the season records for rushing TDs (27), total TDs (27), points scored (162), and 100-yard rushing games (9), while setting game records for rushing TDs in a game (5 at Maryland) and points scored (30 at Maryland).

Rodriguez, who played in the East-West Shrine Game, is a two-time first-team All-MAC selection. He played in all 13 games with 12 starts at tight end in 2011. Named to the Mackey Award Watch List, he led the Owls with 479 yards and two touchdowns on 35 receptions. In the win at Maryland, Rodriguez had a career-high 96 yards on five receptions en route to National TE?of the Week honors from the National Football Performance Awards.

Whitehead, a team captain, was a second-team All-MAC honoree in 2011 and the Defensive MVP of the 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.  He played in all 13 games with 12 starts at Sam linebacker. Named to the Butkus Award Watch List, he finished third in team tackling with 70 tackles, a team-best 13.5 TFL for a loss of 66 yards, five sacks, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.

Last spring, senior safety Jaiquawn Jarrett (Brooklyn, N.Y.), senior linebacker Elijah “Peanut” Joseph (Hartford, Conn.), and junior defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson (Linden, N.J.) were invited to the Combine.  Wilkerson was a first round pick (30th overall) by the New York Jets, while Jarrett was a second round selection (54th overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 2012 NFL Draft is slated for April 26-28 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  The first round will start on Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m.  The second and third rounds are set for Friday, April 27 at 7 p.m.  Rounds four through seven will be held on Saturday, April 28 at Noon. It will be televised by ESPN and the NFL Network.
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