For Immediate Release
December 19, 2016
DARIUS HAMILTON, HARDY NICKERSON, JAKE SIMONICH, JEREMY TYLER, JEREMIAH VALOAGA COMMIT TO 2017 NFLPA COLLEGIATE BOWL
The NFL Players Association is proud to announce the next set of player commitments to the 2017 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Joining the National and American team rosters are Rutgers defensive tackle Darius Hamilton, Illinois linebacker Hardy Nickerson, Utah State offensive lineman Jake Simonich, West Virginia safety Jeremy Tyler and UNLV defensive lineman Jeremiah Valoaga.
Highlights from the five committed players include:
- Hamilton led the Scarlet Knights in more ways than one, starting all 12 games at defensive tackle, serving as a team captain and leading the defensive line with 56 tackles this season. He was awarded the David Bender Trophy as the top lineman on the team and became the 13th player in school history to appear in 51 career games.
- Nickerson led the Illini this season in tackles, totaling 107 takedowns. He was fourth in the Big Ten in tackles per game with 8.9 during the regular season and sixth among active FBS players in career tackles. Nickerson is the son of former NFL All-Pro linebacker Hardy Nickerson Sr.
- A three-year starter on the offensive line, Simonich paved the way for an Aggies ground attack that totaled 2,046 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns this season.
- Tyler tallied 56 tackles this season for the Mountaineers from the safety position, good for sixth on the squad. He added two interceptions and batted down eight passes.
- A talented pass rusher with an impressive vertical leap for a big man, Valoaga recorded 24 tackles and four sacks through 10 games this season for the Rebels.
In this year’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Mike Martz will look to defend his 2016 National Team title against Jim Zorn’s American Team at StubHub Center on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills. The Jan. 21 game will be broadcast by Fox Sports on FS1 with kickoff slated for 1 p.m. PST/4 p.m. EST.
About the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl:
Founded in 2012, the annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl gives prospective players the best opportunity to showcase their talents to potential employers and fans. Nearly 200 scouts, player personnel staff, general managers and head coaches from all 32 NFL teams are expected be in attendance to watch live practices, conduct player interviews and review tape. Participants in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl have the unique opportunity to network with and learn from current and former NFL players. These veterans provide players with first-hand insight on what it takes to win on and off the field. Since its inception, many players have gone on to begin careers in professional football, with notable Collegiate Bowl alumni including Seattle Seahawks quarterback Trevone Boykin (2016 alum), San Diego Chargers linebacker Jatavis Brown (2016), Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley (2015) and Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King (2012).