Former FCS players have Super Bowl spotlight

(STATS) – Super Bowl LII offers quite the stage for a number of former New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles who played at FCS schools.

They hope to play major roles when their teams square off in football’s biggest game on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

The defending champion Patriots are back in the Super Bowl following Sunday’s 24-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game.

The Pats’ roster includes Pro Bowl fullback James Develin from Brown as well as wide receiver Chris Hogan (Monmouth). The team’s injured reserve list include rookie defensive ends Keionta Davis (Chattanooga) and Derek Rivers (Youngstown State), while the practice squad has rookie safety David Jones (Richmond) and tight end Will Tye (Stony Brook).

Among the coaches, running backs coach Ivan Fears played the position at William & Mary and assistant special teams coach Ray Ventrone was a hard-hitting safety at Villanova.

The Eagles captured the NFC championship with a 38-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. They’ll seek their first Super Bowl win with perhaps the biggest former FCS player on injured reserve, quarterback Carson Wentz from North Dakota State.

Their roster includes safety Corey Graham (New Hampshire), linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (Eastern Illinois) and long snapper Rick Lovato, who spent two seasons on the FCS level at Old Dominion. Wide receiver Rashard Davis, a rookie out of James Madison, is on the practice squad.

The Eagles’ coaching staff is full of former FCS players, including defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, a linebacker at Georgetown.

Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo played the position at James Madison. Safeties coach Tim Hauck is a former safety at Montana, where his brother Bobby is in his second stint at the Grizzlies’ head coach. Dino Vasso, the team’s defensive quality control/assistant secondary coach, was a defensive back at New Hampshire and defensive assistant Ryan Paganetti a running back at Dartmouth. Offensive assistant Trent Miles was the head coach at his alma mater, Indiana State.

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