Patrick Willis named to Reese’s Senior Bowl 75th Anniversary Team
OXFORD, Miss. — Wednesday, former Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis was named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl’s 75th Anniversary Team.
The college all-star game honored 41 players, including 19 Pro Football Hall of Famers.
“The history of our game means everything to us here at the Senior Bowl so this is a special announcement,” Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said.
“This 75th Anniversary Team includes many of the greatest players in NFL history and they are all legendary players for their respective franchises. We look forward to bringing these all-time greats back to where their NFL journeys started, the city of Mobile, Alabama. The Senior Bowl is grateful for our partners at the (National Football League Players’ Association) for helping to make this celebration happen.”
Willis, who played at Ole Miss from 2003-2006, was a first-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers where he played for eight seasons.
At Ole Miss, Willis was a two-time All-SEC and All-America performer, and in his senior season, he was the SEC’s defensive player of the year, and the winner of the Butkus, Jack Lambert and the Connerly Awards.
He was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019.
Willis was one of only four inside linebackers selected by the Senior Bowl for the honor, along with Derrick Brooks, Brian Urlacher and Bobby Wagner.
“I am so humbled and honored to be amongst this great group of players, especially these linebackers,” Brooks said. “Thank you to all the voters. The Senior Bowl impacted so much of my player career and set the stage for me to show the NFL personnel that I was ready for the NFL.”
Willis was one of three Mississippi players named to the team along with Brett Favre and Patrick Surtain, Sr., from Southern Miss.
The states of Texas and Pennsylvania also placed three players on the team.
The only state with more players was Florida with four.
The players will be in attendance at the 2024 Senior Bowl that will be played at Hancock-Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Ala., Feb.3 and the game will be broadcast by the NFL Network.
Ole Miss has 20 players on the Senior Bowl’s watch list for the game.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.