Senior Spotlight: Senior Bowl trio
First in a Series on Senior Athletes
Haynes, Adewola, Ekanem among national all-stars
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team completed the fall season with a 4-6 record in a season filled with big plays and special moments by the Lions and their players.
Three of them concluded their collegiate careers by appearing in the 2013 Freedom Bowl, which was limited to seniors from the NAIA and the NCAA’s D2 and D3 levels.
Cornerback Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / Arkansas State Univ., B.F. Terry HS), running back Sean Haynes (Katy, Tx / Univ of Houston, Taylor HS) and defensive end Richard Adewola (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) all appeared in the Senior Bowl.
The game was played at the Beach Sportsplex in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The venue has a seating capacity of 17,000 for football, where players were divided onto two teams, the Generals and the Admirals.
Ekanem (EE-kahn-em), who set SAGU’s all-time record for interceptions, with 18, and Haynes suited up for the Admirals. Adewola (AH-dah-WAH-la) was a member of the Generals. Ekanem earned a starting berth.
“I really enjoyed the experience,” he said. “Getting to meet so many different athletes from across the country was great. The entire experience was nice and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
As for his performance, the 5-foot-10, 195-pounder broke up a pass and added four tackles. During his years in purple and gold Ekanem racked up 36 pass break-ups, leading the nation as a freshman with 13.
He had eight picks as a senior and six during this freshman campaign. Following a redshirt season at Arkansas State University, he finished his career at SAGU with 133 tackles, 89 of them solo.
Haynes, at 5’10, 207, who also spent a redshirt season at an NCAA Division 1 program (University of Houston), displayed his mix of speed and power in gaining 30 yards on five carries. He caught two passes for 20 yards.
Haynes was also involved in a halfback pass play in which his throw resulted in a pass interference call on the cornerback that picked up 30 yards.
The mercurial running back rushed for 470 yards at SAGU and was on the receiving end of 25 passes. He scored four touchdowns.
Adewola enjoyed the last laugh with his SAGU teammates when his team, the Generals, won the game, 17-16. He registered five tackles and sacked the quarterback once.
Adewola played all along the defensive line at SAGU, from end to nose tackle. The 6-footer tipped the scales at 295. He totaled 25 tackles in his senior year, including 1.5 sacks against Wayland Baptist University.
In his junior campaign the man with the constant 100-watt smile was credited with 41 stops.
The Admirals led at halftime, 16-0, before yielding to a Generals’ comeback. The Generals drew to within 16-10 after three quarters, then parlayed an interception – returned to the Admirals’ seven yard line - into a touchdown to pull out a 17-16 triumph.
Note: While playing at SAGU, Haynes (1) and Adewola (57) wore the same jersey number they had at the Senior Bowl, while fans will recall Ekanem wore no. 5.