MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - It's less than a week away from the 2013 Senior Bowl, and this year will be different than past games, as junior-year graduates are allowed to play for the first time.
Two of the junior graduates selected to play this year, Justin Pugh from Syracuse and D.J. Fluker from Alabama said they're thankful the NFL and Senior Bowl are recognizing the player's hard work academically and on the field.
Pugh said he wants scouts to know what type of player he is and hopes to learn a lot from the NFL coaches.
"It's about your mentality how you're going to approach the week...you're going to get out what you put into it," said Pugh.
Fluker is the first in his family to go to college and wanted to finish his degree before the NFL draft. He said "football will be here forever but my degree means a lot" in a news conference Sunday.
"Take every game and play like it's your last, and that's the main thing, you've got to go out there with a ‘I will not be defeated' attitude," Fluker said.
Outside of the national championships, one of Fluker's favorite memories at Alabama is the 2012 SEC championship.
"That's probably one of the greatest comebacks of all time I believe. Playing on a team even though we were down, you've got to be able to be a leader," he said.
Since he's currently suffering from a calf sprain and groin injury, Fluker is waiting to see how he feels throughout the week but has high hopes he can show off his skills on Saturday.
Some of Fluker's fellow teammates are also in town for the bowl game including Michael Williams, Carson Tinker, Nico Johnson and Robert Lester.
Lester and Fluker are both graduates of Foley High School and are back along the Gulf Coast for at least another week.
Saturday's game is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. For more information on the Senior Bowl, including how to get tickets, click here .
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