The 2016 Senior Bowl rosters were released Thursday ahead of next week’s game, with both Cody Kessler and Soma Vainuku on the North team.
It’s a rather bizarre geographic quirk given that the Trojans play in Southern California, but USC’s reps aren’t the lone misnomers.
Joining them on the North roster are UCLA’s Ka’imi Fairbairn and Jordan Payton, along with San Diego State long snapper Jeff Overbaugh and a trio of players from Louisiana Tech. Inversely, the South includes Michigan man and center Graham Glasgow.
The culprit for the weird designations? An overload of players from southern states.
For Kessler, he’ll look for a way to separate himself on a roster that includes the King of the North himself, Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan.
Going into Senior Bowl week, Kessler is tasked with repairing his draft stock, which has plummeted following his mediocre second half of the season.
“That’s something I wanna prove,” Kessler told SeniorBowl.com this week. “Come down there and show that I can still throw and I can make all the throws. Coming down there is going to be a very important week for me but I look forward to it.”
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Currently, Kessler has a seventh round grade per CBS Sports. He finished his Trojan career ranked third on the all-time passing yards list.
USC has had 83 previous players participate in the Senior Bowl, dating back to 1952 when the late Frank Gifford was the first Trojan to play. Last year, Hayes Pullard and Josh Shaw suited up.
Throughout school history, the Trojans have had more players compete in the now-defunct Hula Bowl than any other postseason all-star game, with 135 participants.
The Senior Bowl is set to kickoff on Saturday, January 30th at 11:30 a.m. Pacific from Ladd-Pebbles Stadium. It’ll be televised on the NFL Network, along with practice sessions throughout the week. For full set of rosters, click here.