The Wolverine

March 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2021 THE WOLVERINE 73   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL FIVE WOLVERINES PARTICIPATE IN SENIOR BOWL ALL-STAR GAME Five former Wolverines attended the annual Senior Bowl all-star game in Mobile, Ala., in late January, going through a week of practices before the actual game took place Jan. 30. Long snapper Camaron Cheese- man, wideout Nico Collins, running back Chris Evans, fullback Ben Ma- son and cornerback Ambry Thomas were the five Michigan invitees, with all but Evans receiving playing time in the matchup. Three of those players — Cheese- man, Collins and Thomas — opted out of U-M's 2020 season before it even began, while Evans and Mason were both full participants. Mason was the lone Wolverine to earn a starting nod at the Senior Bowl, beginning the contest at full- back for the National Team and playing 16 snaps throughout the afternoon. He caught NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's eye during the game for his blocking abilities and versatility. "Keep an eye on him," Jeremiah said of Mason during the broad- cast. "He's already had a few nice lead blocks in the game. He actually started a game on the defensive line, so he's very versatile and is a tough kid. "This is an introduction to Ben Mason. You want to see a fullback handle his business? Keep an eye on No. 42." Collins, meanwhile, came off the bench to play 12 snaps for the National Team. He participated throughout the first half, but never saw the ball thrown his way and did not appear after halftime. Cheeseman handled the snapping duties on both punts and kicks for the National Team, while Thomas was technically the only Wolverine to register a stat that showed up in the box score. He posted one tackle while playing just three defensive snaps for the National Squad, which came away with a 27-24 victory over the American Team. The fact that Evans never appeared in the game itself came as one of the biggest surprises surrounding the event, after having impressed in the practices leading up to the contest. NFL Draft ana- lyst Dane Brugler went as far as to tab Evans as one of his 10 winners from the week, referring to the play- ers who helped their draft stock the most. "After an academic suspension in 2019 and limited reps in fall 2020, Evans posted only 25 touches over the last two seasons, creating doubt about his NFL future," Brugler wrote. "But during practice, he re- minded scouts about his impressive athleticism for a 220-pound ball car- rier and soft hands as a pass catcher. It didn't feel like Evans was a guar- anteed draft pick entering the week, but that isn't the case now." — Austin Fox CARLO KEMP WINS DEFENSIVE MVP HONORS AT HULA BOWL Former Michigan defensive line- man Carlo Kemp was the lone Wol- verine to participate in the Hula Bowl Jan. 31 in Honolulu, and he made the most of his time there. He suited up for Team Aina and played 40 snaps at defensive tackle, which were tied for the fourth most of any player on his squad. Kemp tallied four tackles during the game, but the highlight of his night oc- curred with just 1:58 remaining in the contest. With Team Aina trailing 15-7, Kemp intercepted a pass from Team Kai quarterback K.J. Costello (for- merly of Mississippi State) and showed off impressive speed to run it back 64 yards for a touchdown. The ensuing two-point conversion failed and Team Aina lost 15-13 as a result. "Credit Carlo Kemp for sniffing out that screen right away," color an- alyst Brian Baldinger said during the CBS Sports broadcast. "He jumped in the passing lane and then finished the play. "You're taught as a defensive line- man that as soon as you see screen, start to turn and run. He felt it and then showed off the speed. He's kind of an undersized defensive lineman, but makes up for it with plenty of speed." — Austin Fox Kemp played 40 snaps and tallied four tackles with an interception, which he returned for a touchdown, in the Hula Bowl. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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