A pair of Fighting Illini NFL rookies are in New Orleans this week for Super Bowl XLVII, which takes place this Sunday, Feb. 3, at 5:30 pm CT on CBS. Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins of the San Francisco 49ers and offensive lineman Jack Cornell of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad have been in the "Big Easy" all week going through all the usual Super Bowl week events while also getting ready, and helping their teams get ready, for the big game. It marks the seventh straight year and the 11th time in the last 12 years that at least one Illini has played in the Super Bowl.
AJ Jenkins has
been active for both 49ers playoff victories but did not see any action during
San Francisco's 28-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship
game. Selected by the 49ers with the 30th pick in the first round of the
2012 NFL Draft, Jenkins has yet to catch a pass during his rookie season,
despite seeing playing time in several games.
Jack Cornell has spent the entire season on the Ravens practice squad after joining the team as an undrafted free agent last summer. Though he doesn't suit up for the games, he'll be there on the sideline and has been helping the team prepare for the 49ers during practice as he's done all season.
Check out Cornell's sweet Super Bowl jersey:
The Super Bowl jersey twitter.com/JackCornell73/...-- Jack Cornell (@JackCornell73) January 29, 2013
ILlini History in the Super Bowl
Ed Brady (1): Cincinnati XXIII
Bill Brown (3): Minnesota IV, VIII, IX
Darryl Byrd (1): L.A. Raiders XVIII
Jameel Cook (1): Tampa Bay XXXVII
Carey Davis (1): Pittsburgh XLIII
Dave Diehl (2): New York Giants XLII, XLVI
Ken Dilger (1): Tampa Bay XXXVII
Tony Eason (1): New England XX
Greg Engel (1): San Diego XXIX
Jim Grabowski (2): Green Bay I, II
Howard Griffith (2): Denver XXXII, XXXIII
Kelvin Hayden (2): Indianpolis XLI, XLIV
Nathan Hodel (1): Arizona XLIII
Robert Holcombe (2): St. Louis XXXIV, XXXVI
Brad Hopkins (1): Tennessee XXXIV
Henry Jones (3): Buffalo XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII
Jim Juriga (1): Denver XXIV
Greg Lewis (1): Philadelphia XXXIX
Adam Lingner (4): Buffalo XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII
Rashard Mendenhall (2): Pittsburgh XLIII, XLV
Aaron Moorehead (1): Indianapolis XLI
Ray Nitschke (1): Green Bay I, II
Preston Pearson (5): Baltimore III; Pittsburgh - IX; Dallas - X, XII, XIII
Neil Rackers (1): Arizona XLIII
Simeon Rice (1):Tampa Bay XXXVII
Jack Squirek (1): L.A. Raiders XVIII
Calvin Thomas (1): Chicago XX
Pierre Thomas (1): New Orleans XLIV
Steve Weatherford (1): New York Giants XLVI
Eugene Wilson (3): New England XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII
Walter Young (2): Carolina XXXVIII
Other Illini Performances during Conference Championship Week
Brandon Lloyd, WR, New England Patriots - Had seven catches for 70 yards, including a long of 16 yards, in the Patriots' 28-13 loss to the Ravens in the AFC Championship game. Lloyd finished the playoffs with 12 catches for 102 yards and one touchdown, after racking up 74 receptions for 911 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season.
Tavon Wilson, FS, New England Patriots - Wilson played in the Patriots' AFC Championship game loss to the Ravens, but did not record a statistic. The rookie made three tackles in two playoff games after posting 41 tackles, six passes defended, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries in the regular season.
Michael Hoomanawanui, TE, New England Patriots - Hoomanawanui started and saw plenty of action, but did not record any stats in the Patriots AFC Championship game loss to the Ravens. He made six starts and recorded five catches for 109 yards, including a long of 41, in the regular season.