Super Bowl for new recruits
TWO FORMER VIKING football players faced off at this year's Super Bowl, likely clinching a few letters of intent from new PSU football recruits and definitely boosting prospects for 2015, says head coach Nigel Burton.
Julius Thomas, a starting tight end for the Denver Broncos, graduated from PSU in 2010, and DeShawn Shead, a backup defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks, in 2011. As ESPN observed, PSU had more players on the Super Bowl's active roster than football powerhouses Auburn, Alabama, Oklahoma and Ohio State.
PSU coaches signed 21 student athletes—mostly top picks—from across the Northwest for the upcoming season. Most players had committed before the Super Bowl. But for those visiting the school one last time, who "saw a lot of headlines, and Julius and DeShawn talking about their experiences at PSU, my guess is that it impacted them," Burton says.
Thomas, a star Bronco tight end with 65 receptions for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns, was selected to play in the NFL Pro Bowl, Jan. 26. Shead now has a 43-8 Super Bowl win. Only two other Vikings have won Super Bowls: Clint Didier in 1983 and 1988 with the Washington Redskins, and Ted Popson in 1995 with the San Francisco 49ers.
"Now it's common knowledge that DeShawn won a Super Bowl and Julius is a Pro Bowler," Burton says. "As much as we tell recruits they can get to the NFL from PSU, now it's a little more in-your-face."
Caption top left: Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas '10 caught four passes for 27 yards during the Super Bowl. Top right: The Super Bowl trophy looks good next to alumnus DeShawn Shead, backup defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks. Photos by USA Today Images