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January 28, 2012
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32 football players from the University of California have participated in the Senior Bowl since 1956, and on Saturday, former Bears wide receiver Marvin Jones finished off a strong week of practice by hauling in the first Senior Bowl TD catch by a Cal receiver since Lavelle Hawkins caught a 36-yarder in 2008.
Jones caught an eight-yard scoring strike from Russell Wilson on the first play of the second quarter, to cap off a five-play, 46-yard scoring drive which staked the North to a 10-3 lead en route to a 23-13 win at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Jones came off the bench, while former Bears teammate Mitchell Schwartz started at right tackle for the North in front of a sell-out crowd of 40,646.
"Playing in the Senior Bowl was fun," Jones said. "We were all well prepared, and on the field we just had a good time. Playing against other top talent is something that I love to do, and I definitely got to do that today. Overall, it was a great experience. Throughout the week, I wanted to showcase my abilities, and I feel like I definitely did. I was just blessed to get the opportunity and am thankful to everybody that was a part of the process."
[Read about Jones juggling football, school and family HERE]
Jones was one of 11 North players with at least one of the team's 15 receptions, with none making more than two.
Capitalizing on a late invite to the event, Jones turned in an eye-openingly strong week of practice, during which he was pegged as one of the highly-scouted event's top wide receivers.
Jones and Scwhartz became the 31st and 32nd Cal players to play in the contest that is college football's premier senior showcase event, annually featuring the nation's best senior collegiate football stars and top NFL Draft prospects on teams coached by NFL coaching staffs.
Over 800 general managers, coaches, scouts and other front-office personnel attend the week of practices and the game itself.
Jones played in 43 games during his collegiate career, making 38 starts -- all of the Bears' games over his final three campaigns.
He finished his career among Cal's all-time leaders in receiving yards (2,260, 6th), 100-yard receiving games (6, T6th), receptions (156, T7th) and receiving touchdowns (13, T8th).
Jones is also tied for seventh on Cal's single-game receptions list with the 12 he recorded as a junior at Nevada, a game in which then-true freshman Keenan Allen was slowed by injury. Jones led the Bears in both receptions and receiving yards in 2009 and 2010, as well as in touchdown receptions as a sophomore in 2009. Jones also added 11 career rushes for 116 yards (10.5 ypr), 14 punt returns for 102 yards, 86 points, 2,488 all-purpose yards (116 rush, 2,270 receiving, 102 punt return) and four tackles.
In his final season in 2011, Jones and Allen were the No. 1 and 2 receivers for the Bears, with Jones recording career highs in receptions (62) and receiving yards (846), both second on the team behind Allen.
Jones started all 13 games and made at least one catch in each, to extend his catch streak to the final 38 games of his career. Jones earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors. He added three touchdown catches -- tied for second on the team -- and averaged 13.6 yards per catch that was the second-highest among the team's regular receivers and 866 all-purpose yards (22 rush, 758 receiving, 86 punt return) to rank third on the team. His final per-game averages registered ninth in the Pac-12 in receiving yards (65.08, 73rd NCAA) and 13th in receptions (4.77, T80th NCAA).
In an otherwise forgettable Holiday Bowl against Texas, Jones registered a season-high eight grabs for 88 yards.
Jones caught seven passes for a season-high 123 yards and a touchdown against FCS opponent Presbyterian, including a season long catch of 51 yards. He had the first of his two 100-yard receiving games in the season opener against Fresno State, making five catches for 118 yards and a career-high-tying two TDs while earning honorable mention Wide Receiver Performer of the Week honors from the College Football Performance Awards.
Schwartz was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection as a senior after starting all 13 games at left tackle, marking the fourth consecutive season he started every one of the team's games. Schwartz finished with 51 career starts -- one shy of the school record. As a senior, he anchored an offensive line that blocked for first-year starter Isi Sofele, who posted the sixth-highest rushing single-season rushing total in school history with 1,322 yards, giving Cal a 1,000-yard rusher for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons. Schwartz was also a first-team Pac-12 All-Academic choice as a senior.
Jones (African American Studies) and Schwartz (American Studies) both earned their bachelor degree from Cal and completed their collegiate football eligibility in December of 2011.
ALL-TIME CAL PLAYERS IN SENIOR BOWL (32)
1956 - Jim Carmichael, E
1957 - Don Gilkey, G
1975 - Steve Bartkowski, QB
1979 - Duke Leffler, OL
1984 - David Lewis, TE
1988 - Ken Harvey, LB; Brian Bedford, WR
1989 - Natu Tuatagaloa, DL; Dave Zawatson, OL
1994 - Todd Steussie, OL
1997 - Pat Barnes, QB
1999 - Marquis Smith, DB; Jerry DeLoach, DL
2001 - Nick Harris, P
2003 - Tully Banta-Cain, DL; Kyle Boller, QB
2005 - Lorenzo Alexander, DL; J.J. Arrington, RB
2006 - Ryan O'Callaghan, OL; Marvin Philip, OL
2007 - Daymeion Hughes, DB; Brandon Mebane, DL
2008 - Thomas DeCoud, DB; Justin Forsett, RB; Lavelle Hawkins, WR
2009 - Zack Follett, LB; Alex Mack, OL
2010 - Tyson Alualu, DL; Syd'Quan Thompson, DB
2011 - Cameron Jordan, DL
2012 - Marvin Jones, WR; Mitchell Schwartz, OL