Jan. 16, 2004
UPDATE: Eight seniors from the University of New Mexico are slated to take part in three college football all-star games this month, including six Lobos in action on Saturday, Jan. 17. Offensive tackle Jason Lenzmeier and defensive lineman D.J. Renteria will suit up for the Aina squad in the Hula Bowl Maui, while wide receiver Dwight Counter, safety Brandon Ratcliff, linebacker Billy Strother and safety Sidney Wiley will compete for the West squad in the Las Vegas All American Classic. Later in the month, defensive end Daniel Kegler and offensive guard Calvin McDonald are scheduled to travel to Florida for The Villages Gridiron Classic.
Lenzmeier and Renteria both arrived in Maui on Monday to a lei greeting at the airport before being transported to their host hotel, The Royal Lahaina, which is located just north of world famous Kaanapali Beach.Following Tuesday's Hula Bowl Maui press conference and Ruth's Chris Steak House dinner, the players were measured and weighed for the NFL scouts on Wednesday. Lenzmeier's official height and weight were 6-4, 299, while Renteria came in at 6-2, 293. Both Lenzmeier and Renteria will wear their UNM jersey numbers of 75 and 98, respectively, in Saturday's game.
The Hula Bowl Maui will be held at War Memorial Stadium on the island of Maui and will be televised live on ESPN at 6 p.m. (MST). Ohio State head coach Jim Tressell will lead the Aina team, along with John Gagliardi of St. John's (Minn). Gagliardi was named Division III Coach of the Year and is college football's all-time winningest coach.
In Las Vegas, meanwhile, Counter, Ratcliff, Strother and Wiley return to Sam Boyd Stadium for the Las Vegas All American Classic, formerly the Paradise Bowl. The game will kickoff at 1:30 p.m. (MST) and will be televised nationally on College Sports Television (Direct TV channel 610). Live scoring and play-by-play can also be accessed at the All American Classic website (www.paradisebowl.com).
The Classic will have 110 of the top college athletes from around the country making it "America's Largest College All-Star Football Game." Several familiar names to Lobo fans are scheduled to compete in the All-American Classic, including West team members: Chance Harridge (Air Force), Matt Kegel (Washington State), Brandon Warfield (Utah), Chris Pittman (Colorado State), Malcolm Floyd (Wyoming), Sammy Moore (Washington State), Josh Savage (Utah), Bryan Save (Colorado State) and Drew Dunning (Washington State). The West team will be led by Joe Pendry, a 20-year NFL coach who was most recently the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills in 2000.
The Villages Gridiron Classic will take place on Jan. 31 in The Villages, Fla., just outside of Orlando. The 6-4, 323-pound McDonald was a 14-game starter in 2002 before being hampered by an MCL injury during his senior season. McDonald and Kegler, the Lobos' sack leader the past two years, will have a chance to put their skills on display for the NFL Scouts and an ESPN national television audience. The game gets underway at 1:30 p.m. (MST). Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin) and Mark Richt (Georgia) will be the head coaches for the North and South squads.
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