NFL-bound Spence to play in Senior Bowl

(STATS) – Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 30, signaling he is entering the NFL draft early.

Spence completed his redshirt junior season with the Colonels as the Ohio Valley Conference's co-defensive player of the year. Most scouts projected he would enter the draft after one season at EKU.

“He has first-round talent,” Dane Brugler wrote in a scouting report for CBS Sports. “Spence will have the opportunity to audition in front of all 32 teams in Mobile (Alabama) and help himself through the interview process.”

The 6-foot-3, 261-pound Spence could transition to outside linebacker at the next level. He had 22 1/2 tackles for loss, 11 1/2 sacks and 63 tackles this season.

Spence spent two seasons at Ohio State before being declared ineligible by the Big Ten Conference for the 2014 season because of two failed drug tests. He earned first-team all-conference honors from the media as a sophomore in 2013.

William & Mary free safety DeAndre Houston-Carson also accepted an invitation to the 67th Senior Bowl. Like Spence, Houston-Carson is a finalist for the STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year award.

Other FCS players previously announced as commitments to the Senior Bowl are cornerbacks James Bradberry of Samford, Deiondre' Hall of Northern Iowa and Harlan Miller of Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Utah safety Miles Killebrew, Harvard offensive tackle Cole Toner and North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.