BOONE, N.C. — With its six selections tying for the most among Group of Five programs, App State is well-represented on a Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List that includes quarterback Chase Brice, linebacker D’Marco Jackson, cornerback Shaun Jolly, receiver Corey Sutton, defensive end Demetrius Taylor and receiver/returner Jalen Virgil.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl, the nation’s most prestigious college all-star game, is scheduled for Feb. 5 in Mobile, Ala. App State has had a player invited to the game in three of the last four years.
Taylor, Sutton and Virgil all made the preseason watch list last year before opting to play additional seasons for the Mountaineers as “super seniors” in 2021. Jolly and Jackson, who both redshirted as true freshmen in 2017, are entering their third years as starters, while Brice is an App State newcomer who took more than 1,100 snaps at a pair of ACC programs before arriving in Boone.
App State’s total of six watch list players matches Cincinnati for first place among G5 schools.
Taylor and Jolly are both preseason candidates for the Bednarik Award that is presented to the top defensive player in college football. Taylor’s 19.5 career sacks rank No. 4 among active FBS players entering 2021, and Jolly recorded 19 passes defended in his first two years as a starter.
At linebacker, Jackson was the only FBS defender with at least 90 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and eight passes defended in 2020, leading him to be called one of the nation’s most versatile players by ESPN.
Brice will have an opportunity to direct an offense that includes a deep, experienced receiving corps. Sutton had 85 catches for 1,374 yards in first two seasons with the Mountaineers and, from 2018-20, led the Sun Belt with 17 touchdown catches in just 22 games — he opted out of the 2020 season to fully recover from a 2019 injury.
Virgil is ranked No. 4 overall and No. 1 among offensive skill position players on “The Freaks List” from The Athletic. He enters 2021 with 12 career touchdowns, including 10 among his 83 career catches that have totaled 1,210 yards. He has produced nine plays of more than 40 yards in his career.