Zac's Back For An All-Star Appearance

Auburn safety Zac Etheridge received news that he has been invited to play in the Senior Bowl following his team's national championship football season.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior Zac Etheridge, who overcame a career-threatening neck and spine injury in 2009 to start every game at safety for the 2010 national champion Auburn football team, will play in the Senior Bowl all-star game on Jan. 29th in Mobile.

Etheridge will join his teammates offensive tackle Lee Ziemba and linebacker Josh Bynes on the South squad for the game that will be played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Auburn players will be on a team coached by Chan Gailey and his staff from the Buffalo Bills.

"I am very blessed just to get this opportunity to play in the Senior Bowl and really to play the game again," said Etheridge, who was seriously injured in Auburn's 2009 victory over Ole Miss.

Etheridge is shown with the neck brace he wore during his rehab.

Originally there was concern if he would ever be able to function normally much less play football, but he made a strong recovery with the help of an intensive rehab process and just before the start of preseason practice he was cleared by team doctors to make a comeback.

The senior from Charles Henderson High in Troy started all 14 games for the Tigers and finished second on the team in tackles with 69. He intercepted three passes during Auburn's 14-0 season including one in his team's 22-19 victory over Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game. For his career at Auburn he made 259 tackles.

As a senior he made one of the key plays of the season for the Tigers in the fourth quarter vs. Arkansas. Auburn was leading just 44-43 when he picked up a fumble and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown.

Etheridge is shown making an interception vs. the Oregon Ducks.

"I am looking forward to it," he says. "It is my chance to get down there and show my talents in front of a lot of NFL scouts and go out there with a lot of college players that you didn't get to play against from other conferences. It's just a great opportunity to go down there and compete against those guys."

Kickoff time for the game is 3 p.m. CST and it will be televised by the NFL Network.

"We're happy to be able to add Zac to the South roster as he is very deserving of this recognition," Senior Bowl President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Hale said. "Zac was one of the many senior leaders that contributed to the Tigers' undefeated championship season this year and seemed to play his best when it mattered most."

An honorable mention All-SEC selection, he started the final 38 games he was able to play. He finished the final four games of the 2009 season when he was in traction recovering from his injury.

Zac Etheridge

Etheridge broke into the starting lineup in 2007, earning Freshman All-SEC honors as he made 65 tackles while forcing two fumbles and recovering one while starting all 12 games for the Tigers.

Commenting on the news he will get to play in the Senior Bowl, Etheridge said, "I've been working so hard to get that invite and I was just so happy to get that call, especially after the National Championship game. It just made the celebration even better."

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