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Six Tigers to Compete in HBCU All-Star Bowl
Friday, December 16, 2011
Six Tigers to Compete in HBCU All-Star Bowl
Six Tennessee State University football players will represent the Tigers and the Ohio Valley Conference in the third annual HBCU All-Star Bowl on Sunday, Dec. 18. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

TSU is just one of four HBCU athletic programs to have six representatives in the senior showcase. John Jones, Jr., and Dante' Thomas will represent the Big Blue on the West team. The East team roster consists of TSU seniors Rico Council, Calvin McNairl, Donte'e Nicholls and Joseph Wylie.

Jones, a native of Sarasota, Fla., tallied 47 tackles and 7.5 tackles-for-loss in his senior campaign. The stout linebacker finished with 117 tackles, 16.0 tfls and 7.5 sacks in his two-year career at TSU.

Thomas totaled 1,800 yards rushing during a four-year span, ranking fourth all-time in school history. The Dallas product carried the ball 126 times for 659 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games this season.

Ranking as one of the top defensive players in recent TSU memory, Council completed his career with 295 tackles. His mark was only second behind TSU Head Coach Rod Reed's total of 406.

Tabbed the OVC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in July, Council proved the voters correct as he earned the postseason honor as well. He became just the second Tennessee State player to earn the award, joining defensive end Lamar Carter (1999). Last week, Council was also named a Boxtorow All-American.

In 11 games Council netted 87 tackles (50 solo), 8.0 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, five pass breakups, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He had 12 tackles in a game at Eastern Kentucky, 11 against Jackson State and 10 against each Murray State and UT Martin.

McNairl, a first team OVC wide receiver selection, started his career as a quarterback but finished it by catching 42 passes for 742 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011; his 749 receiving yards during the year ranked 38th nationally. The senior from Paris, Tenn., accumulated over 3,000 all-purpose yards during his four year tenure at TSU.

As a defensive line standout, Nicholls posted 65 tackles and 8.5 tackles-for-loss in his career. The Pompano Beach, Fla., product registered 29 tackles, 3.0 tfls and a block in 11 games for the Tigers.

Also joining the other five Tigers will be Wylie, a first team OVC defensive back selection and honorable mention HBCU All-American. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., product had 66 tackles, an interception that he returned 59 yards for a touchdown and a forced fumble in 2011.

This group of seniors helped Tennessee State, who was winless in OVC play last year, to a 4-4 Conference mark this season, which tied the team for fifth place in the OVC (after being picked eighth). The Tigers also captured the Sgt. York Championship (contested between the four OVC schools from the state of Tennessee).

Scouts from numerous professional teams including the Arena Football League, Canadian Football League, National Football League and the United Football League will be in attendance for the combine and game.

The Classics Sports Radio Network will broadcast the HBCU All-Star Bowl live from the Georgia Dome. The pregame show will begin at 1:30 p.m. (CT) with the kickoff following at 2 p.m. Donal Ware (play-by-play), Eric Curry (color), who are working together for the eighth season, will call the game.  Ivan McDowell will handle sideline duties. Fans can listen online at