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Local players in spotlight as bowl season gets set to kickoff

Glenbard West graduate Jordan Walsh is a starting offensive lineman for the University of Iowa.
Glenbard West graduate Jordan Walsh is a starting offensive lineman for the University of Iowa.

Many former local players will be in action over the next three weeks as their respective college football teams take part in bowl games.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

Teams: Fresno State (11-1) vs. USC (9-4)

Area player: USC

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Pat Hart FB Fenwick (Burr Ridge)

Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21


What to watch: Hart, a freshman reserve walk-on, and the Trojans face Fresno State, Mountain West champions. Clay Helton will lead USC as head coach. He will be the Trojans' third coach this season and second interim coach since the firing of Lane Kiffin and the resignation of Ed Orgeron after he was passed over for the full-time job.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Teams: Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (10-3)

Area players: Bowling Green

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Anthony Farinella K Downers Grove South

Greg Hohenstein LS Wheaton Warrenville South

Jamel Martin RB Bolingbrook

Tim McAuliffe OL Lemont

Kickoff: 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26


What to watch: Farinella has taken kickoffs for the Falcons, which won the MAC title. The sophomore has 24 touchbacks in 78 kicks and is averaging 60.5 yards per kickoff.

Hohenstein has also seen special teams duty as the long snapper. As a redshirt freshman he has played in 12 games and has registered two tackles.

After a breakout season during his redshirt freshman campaign in 2011 in which he ran for 211 yards and three touchdowns in a backup role, Martin has since been hampered by a stacked Bowling Green running back corp and a knee injury. He did not take any sanps for Bowling Green this season

S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Teams: Utah State (8-5) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1)

Area players: Northern Illinois

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Tate Briggs OL Montini (Naperville)

Wes Ott OL Lyons Township

Dominique Ware S Plainfield North (Bolingbrook)

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26


What to watch: The Huskies may be disappointed after failing to win the MAC championship and losing out on possibly going to a second straight BCS bowl game, but there are worse consolation prizes than trips to San Diego.

A pair of local products could see the field. Wes Ott, a redshirt junior on the offensive line, has played in three games so far. Dominique Ware, a senior, has played in all 12 games and has 36 tackles and a pair of interceptions.

Texas Bowl

Teams: Syracuse (6-6) vs. Minnesota (8-4)

Area player: Minnesota

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Andrew Harte K Montini (Downers Grove)

Kickoff: 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27


What to watch: Harte didn't see any action in his first year on campus for the Golden Gophers. As a team, Minnesota is making its second bowl appearance in a row.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Teams: Rutgers (6-6) vs. Notre Dame (8-4)

Area players: Notre Dame

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Will Cronin QB IC Catholic (Elmhurst)

Scott Daly LS Downers Grove South

Joe Romano CB Fenwick (River Forest)

Chris Watt OL Glenbard West

Kickoff: 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28


What to watch: Notre Dame has four area players on the roster, including grad student Chris Watt. The Glenbard West graduate is in his third season as the starter at left guard. Scott Daly (Downers Grove South) has also started all 12 games as a long snapper.

Belk Bowl

Teams: Cincinnati (9-3) vs. North Carolina (6-6)

Area player: Cincinnati

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Franklin Bruscianelli LB Montini (Woodridge)

Kickoff: 2:20 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28


What to watch: Montini graduate Franklin Bruscianelli is a redshirt freshman linebacker on Cincinnati.

Russell Athletic Bowl

Teams: Miami (9-3) vs. Louisville (11-1)

Area player: Louisville

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Jarel McGriff-Culver RB Downers Grove South

Kickoff: 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28


What to watch: A 2011 graduate of Downers Grove South, McGriff-Culver has yet to make an impact on the Cardinals' stat sheet this season. In two season prior, McGriff-Culver accumulated four receptions for 31 yards.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

Teams: Michigan (7-5) vs. Kansas State (7-5)

Area player: Michigan

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Kyle Bosch OL St. Francis (St. Charles)

Kickoff: 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28


What to watch: St. Francis grad Kyle Bosch has appeared in five games as a freshman for Michigan, starting three at left guard. He received his first playing time on Oct. 19 against Indiana and then made his initial collegiate start on Nov. 2 against Michigan State.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl

Teams: Duke (10-3) vs. Texas A&M (8-4)

Area player: Duke

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Jake Brodner OL Glenbard West

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31


What to watch: A two-year starter at Glenbard West, Jake Brodner is a freshman offensive lineman on Duke, which reached the 10-win plateau this season. Gator Bowl

Teams: Nebraska (8-4) vs. Georgia (8-4)

Area player: Nebraska

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Jordan Westerkamp WR Montini (Lombard)

Kickoff: 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 1


What to watch: Westerkamp has one of the plays of the college football season by catching a 49-yard Hail Mary on the final play of the game to beat Northwestern. As a redshirt freshman Westerkamp made notable contributions to the offense with 20 receptions, 283 yards and the lone touchdown.

Outback Bowl

Teams: Iowa (8-4) vs. LSU (9-3)

Area players: Iowa

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Colin Goebel OL Naperville North (Lisle)

Jaleel Johnson DL Montini (Lombard)

Jordan Walsh OL Glenbard West

Area player: LSU

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Ethan Pocic OL Lemont

Kickoff: Noon Wednesday, Jan. 1


What to watch: Glenbard West graduate Jordan Walsh is a starter on the offensive line for Iowa his fall after seeing action in seven games last fall. Jaleel Johnson, who transferred to Montini for his senior year, has also played in seven games on the defensive line for the Hawkeyes, registering one tackle.

Former Lemont standout Ethan Pocic is the back-up center for LSU and has seen playing time as a freshman this fall.

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO

Teams: Stanford (11-2) vs. Michigan State (12-1)

Area player: Stanford

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Johnny Caspers OL Glenbard West

Area player: Michigan State

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Jack Allen OL Hinsdale Central

Kickoff: 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 1


What to watch: Caspers so. OG, Pac-12 second team all-academic, defensive scout team player of the week Oct. 5

A Third-year player who is wrapping up his second season starter on the Spartans' offensive line, Allen has started the last 10 games at center. The versatile lineman – who has started 22 career games for Michigan State – was named second-team All-Big Ten by the media and honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches. This season, He ranked third on the team with 60 knockdowns.

AT&T Cotton Bowl

Teams: Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. Missouri (11-2)

Area player: Missouri

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Nick Monaghan OL Downers Grove South (Darien)

Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3


What to watch: Monaghan, a redshirt sophomore walk-on, will get to experience a trip to the ritsy AT&T Stadium, expensive home to the Dallas Cowboys, with the Missouri Tigers, which were a win away from a potential berth in the BCS National Title game. The 6-foot-2, 245--pound Monaghan has seen limited action this season for the Tigers.

Discover Orange Bowl

Teams: Clemson (10-2) vs. Ohio State (12-1)

Area player: Ohio State

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Tommy Schutt DL Glenbard West

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3


What to watch: After missing the early part of the season with a football injury, Schutt has seen action on the defensive line in six games. The Glenbard West graduate has totaled three tackles and half a sack.

BBVA Compass Bowl

Teams: Vanderbilt (8-4) vs. Houston (8-4)

Area player: Vanderbilt

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Nathan Marcus TE Glenbard West

Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Jan. 4


What to watch: Nathan Marcus (Glenbard West) is in his freshman year at Vanderbilt and is a tight end.

GoDaddy Bowl

Teams: Arkansas State (7-5) vs. Ball State (10-2)

Area player: Ball State

Name            Pos.    H.S.

Jarrid Lloyd OL Benet (Naperville)

Kickoff: 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5


What to watch: A 2012 Benet grad, Lloyd spent his freshmans season on the Ball State sideline. While the 6-foot-5, 255-pound offensive lineman will most likely not play during the bowl game against Arkansas State, Lloyd has the necessary physical skill set to be an impactful player during his sophomore or junior season.

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