This Sunday was historic for the Washburn football program. Two former players, Cary Williams and Michael Wilhoite, advanced to the Super Bowl with their respective teams. They will face each other , Feb. 3 in New Orleans, La.
the first two former Ichabods to play in the Super Bowl.
In Super Bowl XLVII, the Ichabods will have more former players than Notre Dame, Florida State, Louisiana State, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State and Texas A&M, which all have only one former player in the big game. Washburn will have the same number of former players as Georgia, Florida, Auburn and Alabama, which all have two players in the Super Bowl. Washburn also will become the first school in 11 seasons to have two players from the same non-Division I program, including FBS and FCS, play in the Super Bowl.
"We are obviously very proud of both players and what they have been able to accomplish and the way they both represent Washburn University," said Washburn football head coach Craig Schurig.
Williams, a six-year NFL veteran, is in his fourth season with
the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore defeated New England 28-13 on the road for its
Super Bowl berth. Williams had six tackles in the game, including the
game-ending interception in the endzone, picking off Tom Brady. So far this
season Williams has recorded 75 tackles, fourth among all Ravens, and six
interceptions, with two coming in the postseason.
"Cary is a tremendously talented player," Schurig said. "He's very determined and had a strong faith that he could make it to that level. … Coming from a NCAA Division II school you have to have to be really strong-willed because you're told a lot you can't do it and he's overcome a lot. He's overcome the adversity of being on a practice squad to playing on special teams to being a top-level starting cornerback in the NFL and we're very proud of what he's accomplished and the way he has gone about accomplishing it. His faith is one of the reasons why he is where he is."
Wilhoite is in his first season on the active roster for the 49ers after spending the 2011 season on the practice squad. The 49ers topped the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 on the road to reach the Super Bowl. Wilhoite, who was also a special teams captain for the 49ers in the NFC Championship game, had two special teams tackles to lead the team. This season Wilhoite has seven tackles, all on special teams.
"Michael is a lot like Cary," Schurig said. "He's had a lot of faith in his abilities and his drive to get to the NFL level coming from an undrafted free agent to a year trying to get in the NFL and then a year on the practice squad and has really developed into one of their leaders on special teams. He has such a tremendous work ethic and desire to get to that level.”