The Pro Bowl was played in Orlando, Florida and the NFL was greatly represented by two colleges from the Beehive State. One was Ute standout quarterback Alex Smith but two others didn’t hail from the Mormon Mecca of Provo or the state capital of Salt Lake City. They played for a smaller agricultural school in a northern Utah city named Logan.
The Utah State Aggies haven’t had a traditional football powerhouse like the Utes and Cougars who enjoyed undefeated seasons and big bowl wins. They have, however, produced great individual athletes, particularly in the trenches. Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Donald Penn and Seattle Seahawks defensive back Bobby Wagner are a testament to that.
Bobby Wagner played a pivotal role in the Renaissance of Aggie football. As a senior he guided the Aggies to their first bowl eligible season in 14 years. In 2011 the Aggies had a rocky start with a 2-5 record when Bobby went on a tear to end his senior season on a high note. He finished his college career with 445 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 4 interceptions.
As the 47th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, Bobby Wagner has been very deserving of his three bowl appearances. As the middle linebacker, he was the quarterback of a Seattle Seahawks defense that became renowned as The Legion of Boom. They won Super Bowl XLVIII (48 if you don’t get this Roman Numerals thing) over the Denver Broncos. The game wasn’t even close as Seattle torched the Broncos 43 to 8.
Bobby has recorded 2 defensive touchdowns, 14 sacks, 645 total tackles, 300 assists, 6 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries in his illustrious career. Expect many pro bowls to come from #54, Big Time Bobby.
Donald Penn is a different mold from Bobby. He was an undrafted lineman even though he notably never allowed a sack in his career. He was likely undrafted given the poor play by the Aggies in those years and the smaller competition in the WAC.
As a Los Angeles native, The Real Donald is now enjoying success on his new team in Oakland. That may change if the Raiders move to Sin City. Donald also enjoyed one year with the Vikings and seven years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Donald also made a Pro-Bowl in 2010. He has made a habit of scoring against the Bay rival San Francisco 49ers as two of his three career touchdown passes came against that team. He caught his other touchdown in his 100th consecutive game started when his Buccaneers faced their Sunshine State foe Miami Dolphins on November 11th, 2013.
Whether you’re a Seahawk, a Raider or an Aggie you can’t help but appreciate the work that these two young men have put in. Even though their season ended with the Pro Bowl party in Orlando, they will always be recognized for the great effort they have put into their craft.