Written by Jason Pavilack
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks, running back Rakeem Boyd and offensive lineman Myron Cunningham have all been named to the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Top 250 watch list. Players must be a senior or fourth-year junior to be eligible for the Reese’s Senior Bowl, which is the nation’s most prestigious college all-star game and has been played annually since 1950.
Franks will be playing his first season in Fayetteville as a graduate transfer after a successful three-year run at Florida, where he played in 28 games and made 25 starts, registering 4,593 passing yards with 37 touchdowns to 17 interceptions and a 59.1% completion percentage (354-for-599). On the ground, the Crawfordsville, Fla. product ran for 438 yards and eight scores. Last season, Franks started the first three games of the season but missed the remainder of the campaign due to an injury. In his last healthy season as a redshirt sophomore in 2018, he started all 13 games guiding the Gators to a 10-3 record and a No. 6 final ranking in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll throwing for 2,457 yards and 24 touchdowns. Leading the Gators to a 41-15 thrashing of No. 7 Michigan in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, he earned Offensive MVP honors racking up 173 passing yards (13-for-23) and one touchdown, while rushing for 74 yards and a score. Additionally, Franks has garnered Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list recognition this year.
Boyd led the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in 2018 and 2019, totaling 1,867 career rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in his first two seasons on the Hill. As a junior, he ran for 1,133 yards and eight scores, while rushing for over 100 yards in five games. The Houston, Texas native ranked fourth in the SEC and 27th nationally averaging 94.4 yards per game; in addition, Boyd’s 6.4 yards per carry ranked ninth in the conference. On just eight carries, he rushed for a career-best 185 yards against Western Kentucky, averaging 23.1 yards per attempt, including two touchdown runs of 76 and 86 yards with the latter being a career-long. As a sophomore in 2018, Boyd ranked 10th in the SEC running for 6.0 yards per carry and 13th among league-leaders totaling 734 rushing yards. Both the Maxwell and Doak Walker Awards tabbed Boyd to their respective watch lists before the 2020 season.
Appearing in 11 games and making 10 starts predominately at left tackle and right guard, Cunningham proved to be a durable offensive lineman in his first season on the Hill last year, playing every snap of the game on eight occasions. The Warren, Ohio native excelled in pass protection and only surrendered one sack on 383 pass blocking plays. Prior to arriving in Fayetteville, Cunningham played two seasons at Iowa Western Community College, where he was a 2018 NJCAA First-Team All-American.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl has had 93 total players selected in the last two NFL Drafts, with 40 selected in the first three rounds, including 10 first-round picks in 2019. Next year’s game will shift venues to the brand-new Hancock Whitney Stadium on the University of South Alabama’s campus in Mobile, Ala after being played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium since 1951. One thing that differentiates the Reese’s Senior Bowl from other all-star games is the participation of two full NFL coaching staffs. Last year, the two teams were coached by the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals staffs and there were over 900 credentialed NFL personnel in Mobile for game week.
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