Senior day bios: U of L to honor 13 seniors

Mario Benavides/Alex Kupper

The University of Louisville will hold senior day on Saturday in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The Cardinals will host Connecticut at noon and will have a celebration of 13 seniors on the roster. Here's a look at those seniors.

Mario Benavides

6-foot-4, 287-pound, center

Los Fresnos, Texas

Benavides has started 44 career games, including 20 in a row, for the Cardinals at center. He missed the first three games of last season with an infection in his lower leg that led to a hospital stay. But he's been a mainstay in the middle of the line for the Cardinals since returning. Benavides has a chance to make it in the NFL. He is ranked as the No. 2 center prospect for the 2013 NFL draft by CBSSports.com and the No. 129 player overall. He's projected as a third- or fourth-round pick.

Quote: "It hasn't hit me yet this is senior day. I am sure it will start to set in when we are on the field. I would like to think I've upheld the standard set before me in being a leader, doing the right things, fighting through adversity and just kind of being a mainstay."

Daniel Brown

6-foot-1, 234-pound, linebacker

Atlanta Douglass

Brown has started 23 games during his career. He was a starting linebacker for the first four games of this season but went down with a knee injury. Brown is expected to be back either for UConn or Rutgers, saying after Wednesday's practice that "I really feel great." Brown has 17 tackles this season and for his career has 113 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss and two fumble recoveries.

Quote: "Senior day is an emotional day for everybody all over the country. It will be an emotional game. My best memory is getting the Keg of Nails this season because it was something we hadn't done since I've been here."

Adrian Bushell

5-foot-11, 184-pound, cornerback

DeSoto, Texas

Bushell played at Florida before heading to Cedar Valley Community College. He came to U of L at the start of last season and played in 10 games, starting seven. He has started all 10 games this season and has 48 tackles and three fumble recoveries. Bushell also has eight pass break ups. For his two-year career at U of L, Bushell has 98 total tackles, three tackles for a loss and two interceptions.

Quote: "For me personally, I have been in a college for five years and I am excited. I don't think it will hit me until I get on the field, but it will be fun. I'm excited. My best memory was still being undefeated (at 9-0). We weren't able to finish the season undefeated but we can do something that hasn't been done a lot and that's win a BCS bowl game."

Bo Eggers

6-foot-0, 240-pound, fullback

Manual High School

Eggers started his career as walk-on with the Cardinals but is now on scholarship. He is a back up fullback and will be graduating in the spring. He is a political science major and hopes to get into U of L Law School.

Quote: "It's kind of like a bittersweet moment. It's crazy to think it's final here because when you first come in, you never think you will see the end point. The last home game is going to be emotional for us. It will be great to go out there and play hard. My best memory is beating UK this year – that was great to be a part of that - and maybe something even better was beating Cincinnati."

STEPHEN GOODWIN

6-foot-0, 191-pound, wide receiver

St. Xavier High School

Goodwin has been in the program all four years and is a reserve wide receiver. U of L coach Charlie String rewarded him this season by putting him on scholarship for his senior year.

Quote: "We have been here forever, so it's going to be weird having the final game. But we want to go out with a victory. I have always loved Louisville football and I am living my dream. Even though I don't get to play as much as I want to, I am living my dream playing with all of these guys. My best moment was when we beat UK and beating Cincinnati since we haven't done that since I have been here, so that was pretty awesome."

Nick Heuser

6-foot-0, 236-pound, fullback

St. Xavier High School

Heuser started his career as a walk-on and earned a scholarship. He has started two games at fullback this season. Heuser hasn't run the ball, mainly being used as a blocker. But he has caught seven passes for 43 yards and two touchdowns. He's already graduated and is in the MBA program. He said he majored in business management and hopes to move to Chicago and get into sales.

Quote: "I don't know what to say, it's a culmination of everything. The last time I play in front of the fans and the last time my grandma will see me play. It's going to be fun. My best memory I guess would be beating Cincinnati. But I did have a lot of fun in the rain game down at Southern Miss."

Alex Kupper

6-foot-3, 296-pound, offensive lineman

Trinity High School

A former walk-on, Kupper is now on scholarship and has started 24 games, including 23 in a row. Kupper has played every position on the line, including center for three games last season when Mario Benavides was sidelined. Kupper was named a Burlsworth Trophy Semifinalist and is ranked as the No 46 offensive guard in the country by NFLDraftScout.com. Kupper is expected to be drafted in the mid-to-late rounds of the NFL Draft. He has already graduated and is in the MBA program at U of L.

Quote: "It's a special day for a reason, being the last time we play in that stadium. We want to go out a winner. I might be emotional, I don't know yet. It's been a big part of my life and has been a special time."

NATE NORD

6-foot-5, 250-pound, tight end

Boca Raton, Fla., West Boca

The son of former U of L player and assistant coach Gary Nord, the starting tight end this season has caught 12 passes for 113 yards and one touchdown. He battled through injuries for the first three seasons on the roster and has only played in eight games this season because of injuries. He's a stellar blocking tight end with great hands. Nord caught a touchdown pass last season in the Belk Bowl game against N.C. State and then also hauled in a TD pass this season in the Missouri State game.

SCOTT RADCLIFF

5-foot-10, 185-pound, wide receiver

Trinity High School

The former walk-on from Trinity, Radcliff has been a dependable receiver for the Cardinals. He has started five of 10 games as a senior, catching 14 passes for 162 yards. He has 24 catches for 286 yards and two touchdowns during his career. He's also been a punt returner for the Cardinals.

Quote: "We still have two games left and a lot to accomplish. It's something I look back and remember the rest of my life. We are all so close as seniors. We have each other's backs. My favorite memory was a two-point conversion on my first play, I can't ever forget that."

Andrell Smith

6-foot-3, 219-pound, wide receiver

Miami Palmetto

Smith has the third-most yards and four-most catches on the roster this season with 25 catches for 398 yards and three touchdowns. He's averaging 15.9 yards a catch. Smith has started 25 of 49 career games and has 61 catches for 982 yards and seven TDs during his four seasons.

Quote: "I feel like it's going to be sad. I want to enjoy the last time being with my teammates at home. It went so fast. My best memory, when coach (Charlie) Strong first came and the team really started to come together.

Will Stein

5-foot-10, 185-pound, quarterback

Trinity High School

The former walk-on from Trinity, Stein has seen limited time this season but was the starter last season until he was injured in the Kentucky game – the third game of the season. Stein has completed 7 of 11 passes for 29 yards as a senior. He has started five career games and has thrown for 1,173 yards and six touchdowns, completing 59.1 percent of his passes. Stein has already graduated and is in the MBA program. He will try to be a graduate assistant next season and has sent his resume out to a bunch of schools around the country.

Quote: "Not really emotional. It is what it is. It's always going to come to an end in anything you do in life. I'm just going to take it all in, but the main thing is we have to win. You throw all emotions aside. You just have to get the win and hopefully we can get the win next week too."

DEMARCUS TOPP

5-foot-10, 207-pound, wide receiver

Paducah Tilghman High School

Topp is a reserve wide receiver and has seen most of his time on special teams. He said he's been here four years and "struggled through some injuries." He has five tackles, including four solo, this season on special teams.

Quote: "We've been through some ups and downs here. But this is a day we have been looking forward too for a long time. My best memory has been this year, playing a lot and getting some big tackles on special teams."

 

CHRIS ZELLI

5-foot-11, 233-pound, linebacker

Jeffersonville, Ind., High School

Zelli has been a little-used reserve linebacker walk-on from Jeffersonville, Ind. He will go through Senior Day ceremonies.

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