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NFL announces big change to college all-star games

New York Jets, Reese's Senior Bowl
New York Jets, Reese's Senior Bowl, Getty Images

In a memo sent on Wednesday, the NFL announced that underclassmen would now be eligible for college all-star games

The NFL announced a massive change to college all-star games that could wind up having a significant impact on the pre-draft process.

On Wednesday, according to multiple reports, the league sent a memo to all 32 teams announcing that juniors who declare for the NFL draft will be allowed to participate in three college all-star games.

The East-West Shrine Bowl, Senior Bowl, and HBCU Legacy Bowl are now permitted to invite all draft-eligible players, starting immediately with the upcoming 2024 draft class.

Postseason all-star events give prospects the chance to compete against one another throughout a week of practice with NFL coaching, culminating in a game at the end of the week.

Previously, only seniors have been permitted to participate, which has been an oft-overlooked advantage to older prospects. The all-star games allow prospects the chance to boost their draft stock considerably. The New York Jets’ own Jermaine Johnson was a Senior Bowl standout whose stock soared following the event.

Now, presumed top prospects in the 2024 NFL draft class like USC quarterback Caleb Williams, Penn State tackle Olu Fashanu, Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., and others will be eligible to take part in these games if they want — although those players’ draft stocks may not necessarily need a boost.

The change will likely prove most helpful to underclassmen not projected as early-round picks, giving them a chance to get in front of NFL scouts. In theory, this could also encourage a higher number of underclassmen to declare for the draft in the future.

The Shrine Bowl is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 1; the Senior Bowl will be on Saturday, Feb. 3; and the HBCU Legacy Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 24.

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