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Smith & Amos Wow Woo from Penn State at Senior Bowl

by on January 25, 2015 11:15 PM

Five Penn Staters were in Mobile, Ala., last week to work at the Senior Bowl.

You know four of them – all played football for the Nittany Lions the past several seasons.

There’s gritty linebacker Mike Hull, who left Mobile midweek when his recently-scoped knee swelled after two practices.

Then there’s the three who comprise half of the celebrated Supa Six that entered Penn State before the 2011 season -- offensive tackle Donovan Smith, safety Adrian Amos and defensive end Deion Barnes.

That trio played in the 66th Reese’s Senior Bowl on Saturday, their North squad downing the South 34-13.

Smith had the best week of the three, impressing NFL scouts, head coaches and the media with his size, tenacious play and athleticism. He also helped lead the way for North backs and fellow Big Ten players Ameer Abdullah and Minnesota’s David Cobb to run for 142 yards and a touchdown.

Amos’ versatility and technique also made scouts take notice, as did his pair of unassisted tackles in the game. Barnes flew more under the radar than his teammates, although he did record a QB hurry and an assist in Saturday’s game.

That’s four. So, who was fifth the Penn Stater at the Senior Bowl?


Well, he’s quick – posting a 4.7 for the 40 in high school. But, unfortunately, at 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds, he’s smaller than Darren Sproles. Still, Patrick Woo might have a shot at the NFL. Just not on the field. 

Woo is a 2014 PSU grad who has worked for the Senior Bowl as a scouting assistant since last July. And before that, he served as a Senior Bowl media intern. Woo has a bunch of broadcasting experience, through a number of internships and his work at Penn State’s ComRadio station and other outlets. 

But the Senior Bowl gig has him thinking that his future might have the NFL, a bowl game or other big-time sports event in it. As an undergrad, Woo would have as many six TVs and computer screens on simultaneously every Saturday, watching and studying a half-dozen college games at once. The knowledge gained helped him parlay his passion into the scouting assistant job with the Senior Bowl last summer. 

At the Senior Bowl, Woo works for Phil Savage, an NFL scout, coach and executive who was the Cleveland Browns’ GM for four years. Woo kicked off the 2014 college football season with a week-long boot camp where he learned trade secrets from NFL scouts from St. Louis and Seattle. From there, Woo took to the road, visiting a different college football stadium each week to assess players who might earn a Senior Bowl invitation.

“I saw a lot of monumental moments in college football this past fall,” Woo said by telephone from Mobile on Sunday. “I was at Alabama twice, Auburn and Mississippi State – my favorite venue. I saw Notre Dame-Florida and Ohio State-Penn State. I was at the Marshall-UAB game, which was the last game UAB ever played. And I was at the Georgia Tech-Tulane game for the opening of Tulane’s Yulman Stadium.” 

Last week, Woo was back in Mobile, working 17-hour days in preparation for the bowl game, and assisting every scout, coach or media member who asked.

“The North squad practiced every morning and the South every afternoon,” Woo said. “All of the scouts, directors of scouting, directors of player personnel, most of the GMs and most of the head coaches were here. Every top guy in the NFL who you can think of was here.”


Woo has spent the past 200 days analyzing college football players, in person and on film (like the day before the PSU-Ohio State game, when he broke down tape in Lasch Building). Plus he has some home-school knowledge about the Nittany Lions who were in Mobile the past week. So we asked him for an assessment of their performance at the Senior Bowl practices last week, culminating in Saturday’s game. Here’s what he had to say:

DONOVAN SMITH: “Donovan was a lot of fun. He was dominant at times. We were pleasantly surprised. He just had to put it all together on the field. From the reps I saw, Donovan more than held his own. And from what I heard from other people here who saw him, at times he dominated. He got a lot of reps at left tackle, and he took some at right tackle, too.”

ADRIAN AMOS: “Amos showed good athleticism. He’s fluid in his movements. He has good hips. You want all that from a DB. He has quick feet, he tackles well, he has good technique. He’s versatile. He can cover deep and he come down in the box. Adrian had a good week.”

DEION BARNES: “I did not see too much of him, so I can’t give an honest assessment with him. There was not a whole lot of buzz on him.”

MIKE HULL: “When he first got out there, Mike looked out of place. He looked small, he looked slow. He got better as the week went along. The first practice is always the toughest, because they all have new shoes and they’re slipping and sliding all over the place. Mike was playing at only 85%. He had a knee scoped three weeks ago, so I commend him a lot for coming down here and participating and trying to play. A lot of people who had the slightest injury used it as an excuse to pull out. And Mike didn’t do that. He told me that he wanted come down and compete. That’s definitely something we all respect. Unfortunately, after the second practice the knee that he got scoped up started to swell a little bit.”

As for Woo, here’s his own scouting report on his Senior Bowl experience: 

“It’s been tremendous,” Woo said. “I get to work with all 32 NFL teams and help all 32 NFL teams. I get to help 100 players. I get to work with our staff and also work with the media, and help fans and have so much fun. For two years in a row, being part of Senior Bowl has been the best week of my life.”

Donovan Smith knows exactly how Woo feels.


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Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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