Jerron Cage didn’t end up playing in Saturday’s Hula Bowl, but there was a good reason for that.
The former Ohio State defensive tackle announced in a tweet Saturday night that he received an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Bowl, giving him another opportunity to put his skills on display for NFL scouts and make his case that he’s worthy of a selection in this year’s draft.
Big s/o to the hula bowl blessed and honored for the opportunity to go preform and showed my talent. Ended up getting an invite to the shrine game blessed and thankful for another chance to go preform on another big stage #Thankful #HulaBowl2023 #shrinebowl— Jerron Cage (@CageJerron) January 15, 2023
While Cage spent the week in Orlando practicing in front of NFL scouts at the Hula Bowl, the Shrine Bowl gives him an even bigger opportunity to put his skills on display for pro talent evaluators, as the Shrine Bowl is one of the top two all-star games for pre-draft prospects along with the Senior Bowl. This year’s Shrine Bowl will also feature full coaching staffs from the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, giving him the opportunity to learn from an NFL coaching staff over a week of practices leading up to the game in Las Vegas on Feb. 2.
Assuming Cage accepts the invitation, he’ll become the third Buckeye on the Shrine Bowl roster along with fellow former Ohio State defensive tackle Taron Vincent and cornerback Cameron Brown.
Cage didn’t have a ton of opportunities to put his skills on display for NFL scouts in his final season as a Buckeye, in which he was the No. 5 defensive tackle in the rotation and recorded 12 total tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Receiving a Shrine Bowl invitation, though, is a reflection of how impressive he was during Hula Bowl practices this week, making NFL scouts want to see more from him.
Jerron impressed all week with his lateral qks and play speed. Took on double teams with aggression and consistently flashed burst to disengage and finish. Impressive interview and background that includes a standout wrestling career. Next stop Vegas #Earned #ShrineBowl #GoBucks https://t.co/hk8AMkbBKA pic.twitter.com/yLPHbsLz4P— Shane Coughlin (@Shane__Coughlin) January 15, 2023
Cage wasn’t the only member of last year’s Ohio State football team who spent the week at the Hula Bowl as Tanner McCalister also went through the week of practices and played in Saturday’s game.
The former Ohio State safety made a highlight-reel play late in the first quarter of Saturday’s contest when he broke up a deep pass in a play that was reminiscent of the touchdown-saving PBU he made against Wisconsin in September. Like Cage, McCalister was grateful for his Hula Bowl experience as he looks to bolster his NFL draft stock.
Video of Tanner McCalisters Hula Bowl pass breakup: pic.twitter.com/zngutj7TVD— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) January 14, 2023