UCLA’s Jordan Payton, Ka’imi Fairbairn picked for Senior Bowl

UCLA receiver Jordan Payton was one of two Bruins to accept invitations to the Senior Bowl. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA receiver Jordan Payton was one of two Bruins to accept invitations to the Senior Bowl. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA receiver Jordan Payton and kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn have both accepted invitations to the Senior Bowl.

The two Bruins will appear in arguably the top postseason all-star game on Jan. 30 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. Payton is the school’s all-time receptions leader and its first 1,000-yard receiver since 2011, while Fairbairn is a Lou Groza Award winner and consensus All-American.

UCLA was represented in the 2015 Senior Bowl by defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa — an eventual third-round draft pick — and defensive back Anthony Jefferson.

Center Jake Brendel is slated to appear in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23, while receiver Devin Fuller and linebacker Aaron Wallace are set to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl the same day.

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks accepts Senior Bowl invitation

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks became the second Bruin to accept an invitation to the upcoming Senior Bowl, event officials announced on Monday.

“Eric showed up big all year for the Bruins,” said Phil Savage, executive director of the pre-NFL draft all-star game. “He is a run-and-hit linebacker that can play all three downs and help on special teams, too.”

The 6-foot, 230-pound defender has led the country in solo tackles in two of his three seasons as a full-time starter, and capped his final year in Los Angeles by winning the Butkus Award, the top honor for collegiate linebackers. He also became UCLA’s second straight winner of the Lott IMPACT Trophy, after former All-American and eventual ninth overall draft pick Anthony Barr.

Kendricks will be joined in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 24 by UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, who accepted his Senior Bowl invite just before Thanksgiving. Fourteen other Pac-12 players are also on the roster.

Jordan Zumwalt earns UCLA’s third Senior Bowl invite

Jordan Zumwalt has earned himself a spot in the Senior Bowl. A standout performance in UCLA’s 42-12 Sun Bowl win over Virginia Tech likely helped his case for a late invite: the inside linebacker had 10 tackles and an interception, as well as a big hit that ended quarterback Logan Thomas’ college career.

He joins receiver Shaq Evans and All-American linebacker Anthony Barr to become the Bruins’ third Senior Bowl invitee.

Defensive end Cassius Marsh will play the East-West Shrine Bowl on Jan. 18.

Both games will be broadcast on NFL Network.

Shaq Evans talks NFL draft, Senior Bowl invite

Shaq Evans is trying to become the first UCLA receiver drafted since 2010, when Washington took Terrence Austin in the seventh round. His biggest chance to boost his stock may be the Senior Bowl, held in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 25.

“That game is huge for me,” said Evans, who received his invitation last week. “I didn’t really have the numbers I expected to have this year. I feel like I still played well, but I know that I’m still under the radar a little bit.” Continue reading “Shaq Evans talks NFL draft, Senior Bowl invite” »