Philadelphia - The Quakers will play host to numerous National Football League (NFL) scouts on March 3 from noon to 4 p.m. in order to showcase Penn's other area colleges' players as draft day draws nearer. This is the fourth year this mini-combine has been held at Franklin Field and hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. Thanks in part to the success of the Pro Day, 10 former Quakers have gone on to sign contracts within the NFL.
This year's batch of former Quakersis among the best Penn has to offer. Two-time first-team All-Ivy wide receiver Dan Castles will be in attendance on March 4 as will two-time first-team All-Ivy defensive back and 2005 Hula Bowl participant Duvol Thompson, 2004 unanimous first-team All-Ivy punter Josh Appell and two-time All-Ivy defensive lineman Michael Sangobowale. Joining his former teammates will be two-time All-Ivy offensive lineman Chris Kupchik as well as talented players from area schools such as Villanova and Temple.
Castles was selected first-team for the second-consecutive season. Castles finished 2004 with 966 yards and eight touchdowns on 70 catches. During the course of the season, the Toms River, N.J. native became Penn’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions (27), moved into second all-time in receiving yards (2,444) and third all-time in receptions (167). Castles recorded five 100-yard games with a season high of 145 and three scores on nine catches against Dartmouth on Oct. 2.
Thompson proved again in 2004 to be the League’s premier shutdown cornerback, finishing the season with 29 tackles (23 solo), six pass break ups and one interception. Thompson headed west in January to participate in the 2005 Hula Bowl, an event that showcases players from all NCAA divisions on a national stage. The Calumet City, Ill. native, who saw playing time throughout the game, was one of only two Ivy Leaguers to earn roster spots.
Appell led the Ancient Eight in punting the entire season and finished 2004 with a 40.9 yards per punt average. Appell recorded only two games this season with an average under 40 yards, pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line 17 times and had punts in excess of 50 yards or more 12 times. His longest of the season was 58 yards, two yards shy of his career-long 60-yarder against Harvard on Nov. 16, 2002. He, along with Castles, was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division I-AA All-Star Team and was also honored with a selection to the Division I-AA Athletics Directors Association (DI-AA ADA) Academic All-Star Team for his work of the field.
Sangobowale earned first-team All-Ivy on the strength of nine tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, which knocked the opposing signal caller back a combined 23 yards. His 43 tackles (26 solo) ranked sixth on the team. In 2003, Sangobowale registered 38 tackles, 2.5 sacks and ranked third on the team in tackles for loss with 7.0.
Kupchik received honorable mention for All-Ivy during the 2002 season when he started all 10 games for an offense that led the Ancient Eight in scoring, finished second in passing and third in total offense. He followed that performance with eight starts in 2003 on Penn's back-to-back Ivy championship team. Kupchik pass blocked for 2003 Ivy League Player of the Year Mike Mitchell and cleared a path for then-sophomore Sam Mathews to rush for 1,266 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Red and Blue concluded their season with an 8-2 record overall and a 6-1 mark in the Ivy League. Penn ended the 2004 campaign ranked No. 21 in both the Sports Network and the ESPN/USA Today polls.
The Quakers will look to replace a senior class of 21 student-athletes that leave an imprint on the football program with the highest winning percentage at Penn in the modern era (.897) and tie the Penn Class of 2004 with the highest Ivy winning percentage (.929) in the history of the League.
Written by Mat Kanan, associate director of athletic communications