CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Western Carolina All-American running back Detrez Newsome has accepted an invitational to play in the 2018 National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) Collegiate Bowl. Billed as the “premiere postseason all-star game,” the seventh annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will be played on Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., which has been the site of five Super Bowls and numerous major college football games including an epic FBS national semifinal on New Year’s Day.
The 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will be televised live on FS1 at 4 p.m. ET. The players will be divided into two teams – the American and the National squads – and will be coached by Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Martz, who is in his fourth year, and Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green, who was selected to seven NFL Pro Bowls and is making his NFLPA Collegiate Bowl head coaching debut.
Newsome is the third Catamount football player since 2014 to accept a bid to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. He joins former all-conference defensive back Ace Clark, who played in the game following the 2014 season, and former defensive lineman Helva Matungulu, who accepted the invitational following his senior campaign in 2015.
“I’m really proud of Detrez being selected to participate in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl,” said WCU head coach Mark Speir. “It’s a true and high honor for both Detrez and our program to be selected to such a highly regarded senior bowl game. It is an honor that is very deserving and we look forward to even bigger things that are ahead for him in the future both on and off the field.”
Newsome finished his career in Cullowhee as one of the most heralded players in program history. Over his final two seasons, he collected 10 different All-America honors including recognition from six different groups following his senior season.
Newsome, who also received an invitation to the 4th Annual College Gridiron Showcase & Symposium (cgsallstar.com), finished his collegiate career as the second-leading rusher in Western Carolina football history after becoming the first Catamount to amass three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. After rushing for just 488 yards and nine scores as a freshman, Newsome eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark each of his next three seasons, including a career-high 1,109 and nine scores as a sophomore in 2014; 1,031 yards and a career-best 10 TDs in 2016 as a junior; and most recently, scoring nine touchdowns while rushing for 1,100 yards in just nine games, leading the Southern Conference with a 122.2 yard-per-game average.
In addition to his prowess in the backfield, Newsome proved to be a threat anytime he was on the field during his playing career for the Purple & Gold. He led both the Southern Conference and the NCAA FCS in all-purpose yards as both a junior and senior. In 2016, Newsome led three of the four NCAA Divisions as the FCS individual season champion for all-purpose yards, amassing a SoCon-record 2,343 yards (213 all-purpose yards per game). A year later, he averaged 170.67 all-purpose yards to again pace Division I FCS.
Founded in 2012, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl’s week-long schedule provides participants with a first-class professional experience while also introducing them to the business of the National Football League. Participants in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl have the unique opportunity to network with and learn from current and former NFL players. These veterans give players first-hand insight on what it takes to win on and off of the field. The annual game gives prospective NFL players the best opportunity to showcase their talents to potential employers and fans.
Scouts from every NFL club and other professional leagues attend the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl’s practices and game. Nearly 200 NFL scouts, player personnel staff, general managers and head coaches not only watch the live practices and game but also conduct player interviews and review tape. Last year, 35 of the players invited to the Collegiate Bowl were invited to the NFL Combine.
For more information on the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, log on to http://collegiate.nflpa.com.