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Duke's Vernon, UNC's Williams accept invites to play in Senior Bowl

Posted January 2, 2013
Updated January 3, 2013

Dukeโ€™s Conner Vernon and North Carolina's Sylvester Williams accepted invitations Wednesday to play in the 64th annual Senior Bowl. The game is set for 4 p.m. (ET) on January 26 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., and will be televised live by the NFL Network.

In 48 career games at Duke, Vernon caught 283 passes for 3,749 yards and 21 touchdowns and established ACC records for career pass receptions, career receiving yardage, most consecutive games with at least one pass reception (48), most seasons with 50-plus receptions (4) and most seasons with 70-plus receptions (3). On the NCAAโ€™s career charts, he ranks 23rd for career catches and 24th for career receiving yards.

The Miami, Fla., native posted 85 receptions for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior captain in 2012 as the Blue Devils played in a bowl game for the first time since 1994. The 85 catches set a Duke single-season record and matched the fifth-highest single-season total in ACC history. 

Vernon will become the 21st player from Duke to play in the Senior Bowl and first Blue Devil since Chris Combs participated in the game following the 1999 season.

Williams is a two-year starter at defensive tackle for North Carolina. After virtually not playing football in high school and spending a year working in a parts factory, he willed his way to Coffeyville Community College and became a legitimate FBS recruit. He signed with the Tar Heels and has started 25 consecutive games for two different coaching staffs. 

The Jefferson City, Mo., native registered 42 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 6 sacks and 6 hurries and was recently named 1st team All-ACC during the 2012 season. 

North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon accepted an invitation December 13 and will also play in the Senior Bowl.

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  • StunGunn Jan 3, 2013

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    So true! The guys on Sunday Night Football got a kick out of it - Dan Patrick was the one giving the commentary on the Lewis to Little TD, and then Little presenting Lewis with the ball. He even pointed out a "Duke to Carolina" pass and then a Carolina guy giving a Duke guy the ball. If the former rivals can "play nice", we should as well.

    Speaking of Kyrie, he seems to be living up to all the hype - he's really very talented.

  • 903 mens national championships Jan 3, 2013

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    That was a great moment. Duke to UNC for the TD. Almost as funny as seeing Kyrie pass to Tyler Zeller in highlights or seeing Grant Hill and Vince Carter highlights when they both played for the Suns.

  • wjuliang Jan 3, 2013

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    Maybe GL has grown-up a little.

    Congrats to Vernon and Williams. Great kids.

  • StunGunn Jan 3, 2013

    Congrats to all three players - it's quite an honor. Hope to see all playing on Sunday next year. Saw the highlight of last Sunday's game where Thad Lewis threw to Greg Little for a TD, and Little gave the ball to Lewis so he could keep his first NFL TD football.

  • Rameses Unchained Jan 2, 2013

    I hope both have great success at the next level. I think both have quite a bit to contribute.

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