UNI football: Benny Sapp III is first Panther to hit 2023 Senior Bowl watch list

2023 Senior Bowl Watch List Benny Sapp


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – UNI’s defensive back Benny Sapp III is the first Panther to make the Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list. 

The Reese’s Senior Bowl is widely regarded as the preeminent college football all-star game and the first stage in the NFL Draft process. The longest continual-running all-star game has taken place in Mobile, Alabama, the past 73 years. More than 900 NFL personnel, including key decision-makers from all 32 teams, and more than 900 media members from around the country were credentialed last year. This past April, the game produced a record-tying 106 total picks for the second straight year, representing 40% of the entire NFL draft, including 45 of the top 100 players selected.

Sapp has been named to two preseason all-American teams and three preseason conference teams. He earned Phil Steele All-American Fourth Team Defense honors and Bluebloods All-American Second Team Defense honors. 

In addition, he was named to the MVFC First Team Defense, the Phil Steele MVFC First Team Defense and the Bluebloods All-MVFC Defense preseason teams.  

Last season, he tallied 52 tackles in 12 games, including a season-high nine against North Dakota State last season. He was third in the conference with four interceptions. In his first season with the Panthers in the spring of 2021, he was fifth on the team with 33 tackles and tallied one interception, one fumble recovery and two pass break ups. He was named to the MVFC Newcomer Team.

A transfer from Minnesota, Sapp attended Eden Prairie High School in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and is the son of Benny Sapp Jr. and Erica Sapp. His father, currently an assistant coach at UNI, played collegiately for the Panthers and then played in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs (2004-07), Minnesota Vikings (2008-09 and 2011) and Miami Dolphins (2010-11). 

Benny Sapp III is majoring in liberal studies with a minor in sports administration and strength and conditioning.

This year’s Senior Bowl is set for 1:30 p.m. CT Feb. 4, 2023. It will be played at the University of South Alabama in Hancock Whitney Stadium and broadcasted on the NFL Network.

Sapp and the Panthers will kick off the season on the road at Air Force Sept. 3. 



  • 1966 Randy Schultz (RB) – 5th Round NFL Draft
  • 1984 Scott Etzel (OL) – USFL
  • 1990 Bryce Paup (LB) – 6th Round NFL Draft
  • 1993 Kenny Shedd (WR) – 5th Round NFL Draft
  • 1999 Ty Talton (DB) – 5th Round NFL Draft
  • 2008 Chad Rinehart (OL) – 3rd Round NFL Draft
  • 2014&15 David Johnson (RB) – 3rd Round NFL Draft 
  • 2016 Deiondre’ Hall (DB) – 4th Round NFL Draft
  • 2021 Spencer Brown (OL) – 3rd Round NFL Draft
  • 2021 Elerson Smith (DL) – 4th Round NFL Draft
  • 2022 Trevor Penning (OL) – 1st Round NFL Draft

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