Jan. 11, 2002
PULLMAN, Wash. --- For the majority of the 116 players on the Washington State football roster, the Sun Bowl marked the end of the 2001 season and time to begin looking forward to spring practice. But nine departing seniors will extend their season and careers by at least one game in a series of postseason bowls.
Free safety Lamont Thompson, wide receiver Nakoa McElrath, and strong safety Billy Newman will compete tomorrow, Jan. 12 in the East-West Shrine Game at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco. Kickoff is set for 10:33 a.m. PST. All three will suit up for the West squad, which also features Oregon's Joey Harrington and Stanford's Randy Fasani.
The inaugural Paradise Bowl is also set for tomorrow, Jan. 12, and will feature five departing Cougar seniors. Tight end Jeremy Thielbahr, offensive lineman Joey Hollenbeck, defensive lineman Tupo Tuupo, linebacker James Price, and punter Alan Cox will play for the West All-Stars. The game, being played in St. George, Utah, will be carried on the Fox Sports Network, including Fox Sports Northwest. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. PST.
Thompson and McElrath return to the gridiron Jan. 26 in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl. Joining them in the Yellowhammer State will be linebacker Raonall Smith.
The Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game are considered to be two of the top showcases for seniors preparing for the NFL Draft.