Thirty-Four Allstate Sugar Bowl Participants Selected in 2016 NFL Draft


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.