Thirty-Four Allstate Sugar Bowl Participants Selected in 2016 NFL Draft park
Thirty-four players who were on Allstate Sugar Bowl rosters, including the top three picks of the New Orleans Saints, were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. Louisville star Sheldon Rankins was the first-round pick of the Saints, while two Ohio State standouts, receiver Michael Thomas and safety Vonn Bell, were selected in the second round by the hometown team.
Rankins was a freshman for Louisville in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl (following the 2012 season). He recorded his first career sack in the Cardinals' victory over Florida, taking down Jeff Driskel for an 11-yard loss in the third quarter. Driskel, who closed his career at Louisiana Tech, was selected in the sixth round by the San Francisco 49ers.
Thomas (pictured right, photo by Jonathan Bachman) and Bell were both standouts in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 2015 Allstate Sugar Bowl. Thomas led the Buckeyes with seven catches for 66 yards, including a critical 13-yard touchdown reception on a trick play that closed the first half, and brought Ohio State within one of Alabama after it had fallen behind 21-6 in the game. Bell had eight tackles and snagged a key fourth-quarter interception as the Buckeyes held on for a 42-35 victory which sent them to the inaugural College Football Playoff Championship game. Ohio State captured the championship with a win over Oregon.
Overall, nine first-round picks saw action in past Sugar Bowls, including the Offensive and Defense MVPs of the 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal – running back Ezekiel Elliott and linebacker Darron Lee from Ohio State. Another first-rounder, center Ryan Kelly from Alabama, who was tabbed by the Indianapolis Colts, was a part of three Sugar Bowl teams as he was a redshirt freshman for the Crimson Tide which won the BCS National Championship in the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl, as well as starting in the 2014 and 2015 Sugar Bowls. A 10th first-rounder, Robert Nkemdiche was a member of Ole Miss' 2015 squad which advanced to the 2016 Sugar Bowl, but he did not play in the game.
Alabama standout Derrick Henry, who was the 17th Heisman Trophy winner to see action in the Sugar Bowl. Was drafted in the second round by the Tennessee Titans. Henry rushed for a total of 195 yards in the 2014 and 2015 Sugar Bowls while scoring three touchdowns.
Allstate Sugar Bowlers in the 2016 NFL Draft
|Name||School|| Sugar Bowl (s)
|| NFL Team
|Eli Apple||Ohio State||2015||New York Giants||First|
|Vonn Bell||Ohio State||2015||New Orleans Saints||Second|
|Joey Bosa||Ohio State||2015||San Diego Chargers||First|
|Jacoby Brissett||Florida*||2013||New England Patriots||Third|
|Jonathan Bullard||Florida||2013||Chicago Bears||Third|
|Fahn Cooper||Ole Miss||2016||San Francisco 49ers||Fifth|
|Cody Core||Ole Miss||2016||Cincinnati Bengals||Sixth|
|Taylor Decker||Ohio State||2015||Detroit Lions||First|
|Kenyan Drake||Alabama||2014, 2015||Miami Dolphins||Third|
|Jeff Driskel||Florida*||2013||San Francisco 49ers||Sixth|
|Ezekiel Elliott||Ohio State||2015||Dallas Cowboys||First|
|Derrick Henry||Alabama||2014, 2015||Tennessee Titans||Second|
|Cardell Jones||Ohio State||2015||Buffalo Bills||Fourth|
|Cyrus Jones||Alabama||2014, 2015||New England Patriots||Second|
|Ryan Kelly||Alabama||2012, 2014, 2015||Indianapolis Colts||First|
|Darron Lee||Ohio State||2015||New York Jets||First|
|Alex McCalister||Florida||2013||Philadelphia Eagles||Seventh|
|Braxton Miller||Ohio State||2015||Houston Texans||Third|
|Antonio Morrison||Florida||2013||Indianapolis Colts||Fourth|
|Robert Nkemdiche||Ole Miss||2016||Arizona Cardinals||First|
|Emmanuel Ogbah||Oklahoma State||2016||Cleveland Browns||Second|
|Joshua Perry||Ohio State||2015||San Diego Chargers||Fourth|
|Reggie Ragland||Alabama||2014, 2015||Buffalo Bills||Second|
|Sheldon Rankins||Louisville||2013||New Orleans Saints||First|
|Jarren Reed||Alabama||2015||Seattle Seahawks||Second|
|A'Shawn Robinson||Alabama||2014, 2015||Detroit Lions||Second|
|Zack Sanchez||Oklahoma||2014||Carolina Panthers||Fifth|
|Sterling Shepard||Oklahoma||2014||New York Giants||Second|
|Charles Tapper||Oklahoma||2014||Dallas Cowboys||Fourth|
|Michael Thomas||Ohio State||2015||New Orleans Saints||Second|
|Laquon Treadwell||Ole Miss||2016||Minnesota Vikings||First|
|Laremy Tunsill||Ole Miss||2016||Miami Dolphins||First|
|Nick Vannett||Ohio State||2015||Seattle Seahawks||Third|
|Adolphus Washington||Ohio State||2015||Buffalo Bills||Third|
* Transferred from Florida (Brissett to N.C. State and Driskel to Louisiana Tech)
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 27 national champions, 88 Hall of Fame players, 47 Hall of Fame coaches and 17 Heisman Trophy winners in its 82-year history. The 83rd Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, will be played on January 2, 2017. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.3 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors over 25,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade.