January 18, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Nine different graduating Notre Dame football players have been selected to play in various college all-star football games in 1999, the most Irish players to participate in postseason contests in nine years.

Here’s who was selected:

* Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. — OT Mike Rosenthal, OT Luke Petitgout, OLB Kory Minor, TB Autry Denson, OG Jerry Wisne (unable to participate due to injury).

* Hula Bowl in Maui, Hawaii — ILB Bobbie Howard, S Benny Guilbeaux.

* All-Star Gridiron Classic in Orlando, Fla. — SE Malcolm Johnson, ILB Bobbie Howard, P Hunter Smith.

That’s the most Irish seniors to win invitations to play in the postseason since 1990 when Tony Rice (Hula Bowl, East-West Shrine Game), Ned Bolcar (East-West, Japan Bowl), Jeff Alm (Japan), Anthony Johnson (Hula), Tim Grunhard (Hula), D’Juan Francisco (Hula), Dean Brown (Hula), Pat Terrell (East-West) and Stan Smagala (Senior Bowl) all participated.

Rosenthal (Granger, Ind.), a first-team Walter Camp Foundation and second-team Associated Press All-American, led a rejuvenated Irish rushing attack in ’98 that ranked 16th nationally at 212.5 yards per game. He was joined by two-year starters Petitgout (Georgetown, Del.) and Wisne (Tulsa, Okla.), whose knee ligament injury in the Navy game ended his ’98 season.

Minor (LaVerne, Calif.) was a four-year Irish starter who led the team in sacks and forced fumbles in ’98 and had 22 and a half career sacks. Denson (Lauderhill, Fla.), a second-team AP All-American, led the Irish in rushing with his third straight 1,000-yard season in ’98 and finished as Notre Dame’s all-time best career rusher with 4,318 yards.

Howard (Rand, W.Va.) led the Irish in tackles in ’98 with 118, while Guilbeaux (Opelousas, La.) added 38 tackles and an interception in ’98 and finished with nine career interceptions.

Johnson (Washington, D.C.) led the Irish in ’98 with 43 catches for 692 yards and six touchdowns — while Smith (Sherman, Texas) finished with a 41.2-yard career average (second on all-time Irish list) after four seasons as Notre Dame’s top punter.