Jan. 3, 2011
MOBILE, Ala. — A trio of Iowa Hawkeyes have been added to the North roster for next month’s Under Armour Senior Bowl. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi, defensive end Adrian Clayborn and defensive lineman Christian Ballard have all accepted invitations to the senior showcase event, it was announced today. The 2011 game is scheduled for 3 p.m. (CT) on Jan. 29 in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The game and all practices will be televised live by NFL Network.
“We are thrilled to have these three outstanding players represent the University of Iowa in next month’s game,” Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale said. “All three had great careers and were integral parts in the Hawkeyes’ success the last several years.”
Stanzi, a three year starter for the Hawkeyes, finished his career second all-time among Iowa signal callers with a 26-9 record. Entering the Hawkeyes bowl game earlier this week he ranked second in the Big Ten and 11th in the country in passing efficiency (160.5). He finished 2010 with 3,004 passing yards and 25 touchdowns while only throwing six interceptions. The Mentor, Ohio native capped off the season with a 200-yard passing performance in an Insight Bowl victory over Missouri on Tuesday night.
“I’m humbled,” Stanzi said of receiving an invitation to the Under Armour Senior Bowl. “To be in a position to go out there and compete with a ton of great athletes from across the country in front of NFL coaches and scouts, it’s just a tremendous opportunity and I’m very thankful to have a chance to do it.”
“I’m humbled. To be in a position to go out there and compete with a ton of great athletes from across the country in front of NFL coaches and scouts, it’s just a tremendous opportunity and I’m very thankful to have a chance to do it.”
Stanzi, a permanent team captain and Iowa’s MVP on offense this year, was one of five finalists for the 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award–given annually to the nation’s top senior quarterback. His 21-game streak with at least a touchdown pass came to an end in the Hawkeyes’ bowl game but not before it set a new school record. He wrapped up his career ranked third in school history in touchdown passes (56), passing yards (7,377) and total offense (7,373).
“I think the main thing I want to show them (scouts) is work ethic. I want to go in there and really seize the opportunity, you know squeeze it for all it’s worth. I want to show them that I’m willing to work, do whatever I’m told and be the hardest working guy that I can be out there and help the team and try to learn as much as possible in the short time that I am there.”
Clayborn was a first team All-American selection this season by the AFCA and Walter Camp, a third team All-American selection by the Associated Press and a first team All-Big Ten pick by the league media and coaches. The defensive end was also a finalist for the Lombardi and Hendricks Awards this season.
Clayborn totaled 52 tackles in 2010, including 7 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. As a junior he was named the MVP of the Orange Bowl after posting 9 tackles and two sacks in Iowa’s 24-14 win over Georgia Tech. He finished his career at Iowa with 30 consecutive starts, 192 total tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss and 19 sacks.
Ballard was named honorable mention All-Big Ten this season by the league media and coaches. He started all 13 of the Hawkeyes games in 2010 at defensive tackle, but showed his versatility by playing both tackle and defensive end in several games. He finished the year with 43 total tackles, 5 tackles for loss and three sacks, including one in the Hawkeyes bowl game.
Ballard and Clayborn were key members of an Iowa defense that ranked second in the Big Ten in rush defense (101.5 ypg) and scoring defense (17.0 ppg) and third in total defense (332.1 ypg) in 2010.
“I definitely think that it will help to have two guys that I’ve played football with a lot of years and trained hard together for a long time (down there),” Stanzi added. “We’ll be able to push each other through the whole week and be someone that we can have there to talk to about the whole process and I think it will definitely be a help to have those guys down there.”