Arkansas coach Bret Bielema confirmed on his radio show Wednesday night that linemen Chris Smith and Travis Swanson have received invitations to the Senior Bowl, according to the Twitter feed of Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
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Swanson (6-foot-5, 318 pounds), a center, is a contender for the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top player at his position. Earlier this year, Bielema compared Swanson to two centers he coached at Wisconsin who were drafted in the first and second rounds. Smith (6-3, 268), a defensive end, has enjoyed an outstanding season as a pass rusher. He is tied for second place in the Southeastern Conference in sacks, along with Auburn's Dee Ford and draft-bound junior Kelcy Quarles of South Carolina, with seven. Smith's nine tackles for loss are tied for fifth in the league, as well.
The Senior Bowl annually gathers the nation's top senior NFL draft prospects in Mobile, Ala., in late January for an all-star game coached by NFL staffs. Assuming they accept their invitations, Swanson and Smith will likely play on the South squad.
They were two of five Arkansas players on the initial Senior Bowl watch list, along with defensive lineman Byran Jones, wide receiver Javontee Herndon and defensive tackle Robert Thomas. Thomas was lost for the season to an injury earlier this season. As the invitation process is fluid, Jones and Herndon could still receive invites at a later date.