Three Gophers playing in bowls this weekend

by Michael Dougherty

A trio of Gophers football players will be playing in all-star games this weekend.
Strong safety Tyrone Carter will play in the prestigious Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Carter’s former teammate, running back Thomas Hamner, is in the Hula Bowl in Hawaii, and receiver Luke Leverson will play in the third annual Florida vs. USA all-star game in Florida.
All three games will be played on Saturday.
Carter, who won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back, will be one of 13 Big Ten players in the Senior Bowl. The game will air on TBS at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
“Tyrone’s record-setting tackle totals, All-American honors and major awards speak for themselves,” Senior Bowl President Steve Hale said. “However, he was extended an invitation to the Senior Bowl because of the fact that there is a tremendous amount of interest in him among NFL coaches and scouts in regards to this year’s NFL draft. Senior Bowl week will provide Tyrone with an outstanding opportunity to showcase his talents.”
Coaching Carter’s team will be George Siefert of the Carolina Panthers, and one of his teammates will be Oregon running back Reuben Droughns.
Hamner, meanwhile, will share backfield duties with Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. Barry Alvarez, Dayne’s coach at Wisconsin, will lead Hamner’s North team and Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer heads the South team.
Carter and Hamner have been in the host cities all week preparing for their games. University officials said the scouts at the Senior Bowl — which include coaches from every NFL team — lead the practices and workouts.
If Carter is impressive during the week, there’s a good chance he could be drafted as high as the second round.

Michael Dougherty covers football and men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]