Dec. 23, 2009
Mobile, Ala. - With the addition of yet another 1,000-yard rusher, the South squad's backfield in next month's Under Armour Senior Bowl is shaping up to be one of the best ever.
Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty and defensive tackle Dan Williams have officially accepted invitations to the 2010 game, bowl officials announced today. The 61st annual event is scheduled for Jan. 30 at 3 p.m. Central time in Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The game will be televised live by the NFL Network.
"Montario and Dan had outstanding senior seasons and were a big reason for Tennessee's turnaround this year," Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale said. "We feel like they are both great additions to the roster and with Hardesty's acceptance we will now have three 1,000-yard rushers in the South backfield this year."
Auburn's Ben Tate (1,254 yards in 2009) and Mississippi State's Anthony Dixon (1,391 yards in 2009) have also accepted invitations to the 2010 game.
Hardesty earned second team All-SEC honors this season (AP & Coaches) after rushing for 1,306 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Volunteers. His 108.8 rushing yards per game ranked third in the SEC this season and he was tied for third in the conference in touchdowns scored (13). The New Bern, N.C., native saved his best effort of the season for last, rushing for 179 yards and three scores in the Vols' regular season finale against Kentucky.
Hardesty enters Tennessee's bowl game against Virginia Tech with five 100-yard games on the season and has not fumbled the ball once in 264 attempts. For his career, Hardesty has rushed for 2,352 yards and 25 touchdowns. He has also totaled 34 receptions for 326 yards and a score.
"One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to help the team so much that I got invited to the Senior Bowl," Hardesty said. "I'm a big competitor and I believe that competition will make you better, so it's definitely going to be a great competition at that running back spot and I am going to try to get it going."
A first team All-SEC selection (AP), Williams' 61 tackles this season is the fourth most by a Tennessee interior lineman since 1990. The Memphis native leads the team in quarterback hurries with nine and is tied for the lead in tackles for a loss with 8.5. His best effort of the season came against Ole Miss when he tallied a career and team high nine tackles.
"I hope to show people that I can play with the best of them," Williams said. "It's a huge honor for me to be selected and I want to come down there to prove that I deserve the invitation and give the scouts a more up close look at how I can play."
Tickets for the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl are currently available for purchase at the Senior Bowl ticket offices (151 Dauphin Street and inside Bel Air Mall), select Regions Bank locations, online at www.seniorbowl.com or by calling (251) 432-4109.