Four Alabama State players are participating in postseason all-star games, the most ever in one season for the Hornets.
Left tackle Terren Jones and cornerback Saeed Lee are back on familiar turf at Cramton Bowl, participating in the inaugural Raycom College Football All-Star Classic. The game will be televised at 2 p.m. on Saturday on the CBS College Sports Network and tickets can be purchased for $20 at the Cramton Bowl gate for general admission to the East stands.
Lee had a standout junior season with five interceptions and all-Southwestern Athletic Conference honors. His senior season was plagued by nagging injuries but the 5-foot-11 cornerback from Miami said he is adjusting well to practice with stars from bigger college football programs.
“It’s been a great experience, something that I have really enjoyed,” he said. “The competition level is great, something I’ve never really seen on a consistent basis. It’s made me focus more, because I enjoy the challenge. I realize I do belong the more I rep and play at practice. The Raycom people really have a first-class game.”
Lee was a late replacement for Kejuan Riley, who accepted an invitation to the game and then pulled out to play in the East-West Shrine Game.
Professional scouts wanted to see Jones play with the big-school players to gauge his status for the upcoming National Football League draft. He suffered a knee injury in practice on Wednesday which could affect his status for the game, but said he is enjoying the experience.
“It’s been a good experience playing with different guys from big schools,” he said. “The level of competition is significantly different. The players are bigger, faster and stronger. I’m enjoying the week. We get to meet a lot of people and talk to the scouts that are here. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Riley, the school’s career leader in interception and interception return yards, is the first Hornet to participate in the East-West game since defensive back Michael Coe was selected to play in the 2007 game. His game in St. Petersburg, Fla., will be televised on Saturday at 3 p.m. on the NFL Network.
“It has been a great experience down here with these big-time players,” Riley said. “I just thank God for this opportunity. I started the week a little slow as I started at strong safety and making the adjustment to a new position, but now everything is running smoothly and I feel great. I do not see any difference from the talent I‘ve faced in my career, but I just have to continue to working hard and lay everything on the line.”
Quarterback Greg Jenkins was selected to play in the NFL Players Association all-star game in California, which will be aired live on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. The first Hornet ever selected for the game, he has the biggest adjustment in switching from the Hornets’ spread zone-read attack to the traditional pro-set used in the NFL.
“The verbiage is a lot different, which leads to different play-calling in the huddle,” Jenkins said. “Taking snaps from under center more is also different, but each day I’m more comfortable. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week and continuing to improve.”
While no Hornets were selected for the upcoming NFL-run Senior Bowl, any of the four could be added as a last-minute replacement if they have a great game this weekend.