As the players get ready for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday, the National Team’s Thursday practice is in the bag now. The team looks to be coming together as they near the end of their week of practice, but they are still ironing out a few kinks that come with getting used to new teammates.
Today was a usual NFL style practice, with position drills and some scrimmaging. The coaches focused largely on special teams today. Coach Frank Gansz Jr. went over the specifics of properly executing the kick return with Coach Vermeil overlooking it all.
The quarterbacks took a pretty equal number of snaps. Fordham QB Ryan Higgins and Rice TE Luke Willson found the end zone a number of times. Willson, native of Canada, also played baseball at Rice and for the Canadian Jr. National baseball team. He was drafted by the Toronto Argos in the fourth round of the CFL draft.
Jeffrey Tuel from Washington State completed some nice passes to WR Myles White from Louisiana Tech and RB Mike James from Miami (FL). Tuel led the Cougars in passing and his completion percentage is the second- best single- season total in WSU history.
Mike James is no stranger to the end zone and to off-season honors. He was named team MVP this season, as well as being awarded community service man of the year, receiving the captains award, and the leadership award.
Long snapper Evan Jacobsen from New Mexico was particularly efficient in working with Stanford punter Daniel Zychlinski. Jacobsen is a native of Laguna Niguel, not far from where he’ll be playing in the NFLPA Bowl. He and his father are founders of Summit7, a non-profit organization that raises funds for housing projects in six countries. They raise funds in conjunction with their efforts to summit the tallest peak on every continent. So far, he’s climbed Mt. Elbrus in Russia, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mt. Kosciusko in Australia, Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, and quite a few throughout California and Washington.
There’s only one more day left of practice, as the teams will square off on Saturday.