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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Trio of ex-Wildcats invited to NFL combine

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UofA loss to Stanford Saturday, September 17, 2011 at Arizona Stadium

Three former Arizona football players were invited to the NFL Scouting Combine Tuesday — quarterback Nick Foles, wide receiver Juron Criner and cornerback Trevin Wade, according to a list released by the NFL.

The combine, which will take place from Feb. 22 through Feb. 28 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, brings top executives, coaches and player personnel departments from all 32 NFL teams together to evaluate the top college football players in the nation eligible for the upcoming draft, which will take place from April 26 to April 28.

Of the three former Wildcats invited to the combine, Foles is widely considered the best NFL prospect. ESPN’s Scouts Inc. has him ranked as the No. 22 overall player available in the draft and the No. 4 quarterback behind Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill.

In his senior season at the UA, Foles threw for 4,334 yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions with a 69.1 completion percentage. The 6-foot-5 quarterback finished with 10,068 career passing yards and 67 touchdowns after transferring to Arizona from Michigan State.

Criner, Arizona’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions, is ranked by CBS Sports as the No. 74 overall prospect and No. 9 wide receiver. Last season, Criner hauled in 75 catches, 956 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In the Senior Bowl on Jan. 28, Criner and Foles played together on the South squad. In the game, the two continued their chemistry from their time at the UA with a 20-yard touchdown connection. Foles went 11-of-15 with 136 yards and a touchdown while Criner contributed 77 yards and a touchdown on eight catches.

Wade, a 5-foot-11 defensive back, is considered a likely late-round draft pick, but his stock has risen over the last year thanks to his senior season. The Round Rock, Texas, native was selected to the All-Pac-12 Second Team after he recorded 50 tackles and two interceptions and deflected 13 passes. Wade is ranked the No. 30 cornerback in the draft by CBS Sports.

Other former Wildcats who were not invited to the combine but have chances at getting picked up by a NFL team — either in the draft or as a free agent — include defensive back Rob Golden, running back Keola Antolin and outside linebacker Paul Vassallo. According to CBS Sports, Golden is the No. 35 ranked cornerback, Antolin the No. 30 running back and Vassallo the No. 43 ranked outside linebacker.

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