USM duo preparing for NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

USM duo preparing for NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Two more former University of Southern Mississippi football players have put their talents on display this week in front of National Football league personnel in the lead-up to the seventh annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

USM senior safety Tarvarius Moore and senior defensive end Xavier Thigpen were among 112, draft-eligible players gathering in California this week. The duo will be teammates on the American All-Stars that will face the National All-Stars.

The game is set for 3 pm. Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and will be carried on FS1.

Both Moore and Thigpen started all 13 games this season.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Moore led the Golden Eagles' defense in tackles (87), solo tackles (59) and interceptions (three) and ranked second in passes broken up (10). Moore, a Conference USA honorable mention selection from Quitman, also had three tackles for loss and forced a fumble.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Thigpen led all defensive linemen with 44 tackles (22 solos), and tied for tops among USM defenders with 11 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Thigpen, a second-team All-C-USA selection from Soso, ranked second on the team with five sacks and also broke up two passes and blocked a kick.

Also invited to take part in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl were a trio of C-USA players, including Middle Tennessee State University cornerback Charvaius Ward; Western Kentucky University tight end Deon Yelder; and Florida Atlantic University receiver Kalib Woods.

University of Mississippi linebacker Demarquis Gates also was among the invitees.

The two were among four Golden Eagles to be invited to postseason games and events that professional teams will use to evaluate collegiate prospects.

Last week, former USM defensive tackle Draper Riley took part in the fourth annual College Gridiron Showcase & Symposium in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Former running back Ito Smith will head back to his hometown, Mobile, Ala., next week to take part in practices leading up to the 2018 Senior Bowl. The game is set for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 27 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and will be carried by the NFL Network.