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Two MAC players to participate in 2023 Hula Bowl

Two Toledo teammates are set to take the stage in Orlando to impress scouts at the first major college all-star bowl game of the season.

Cincinnati v UCF Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Hula Bowl will remain stateside in 2023, as Hawai’i’s original college all-star game once again takes up residence in Orlando, Florida for a second-straight season this upcoming weekend.

The third edition of the rebooted game, originally established in 1946, will see just two former Mid-American Conference players participate after five featured in the game in 2022. It will be the first college football game to feature an officiating crew made up of all women.

A platoon of former NFL and NCAA coaches return to the game, with former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick and former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith returning to their roles as head coach of Team Kai and Team Aina, respectively. Other coaches set to be on staffs include former Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips, former Texas A&M and Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin, and former NFL assistant Ron Turner.

Here is a brief profile on the two players confirmed for the game:

LB Dyontae Johnson

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 03 MAC Championship - Toledo vs Ohio Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Johnson was a contributor over four seasons for the Toledo defense, starting full-time at the linebacker position for the final two years of his Rockets career.

The 2022 season was Johnson’s best by a good measure, keying in as a foundational player on a defense which dominated the MAC at large en route to the conference title. Johnson finished the year with 109 tackles, including eight tackles-for-loss, three sacks, three passes defensed, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, earning first-team all-MAC honors at season’s end for his efforts.

It was a marked improvement from his 2021 campaign, which saw him earn third-team all-MAC honors.

Johnson finished his career with 273 total tackles, 22.5 tackles-for-loss, 6.5 sacks, one interception, nine passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.

TE Jamal Turner

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 22 Toledo at Buffalo Photo by Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Turner, a sixth-year senior, started the final three years of his Toledo career at the tight end position.

Primarily a blocking option in his first two full-time starting campaigns in 2020 and 2021, Turner broke out in the 2022 season, with 29 receptions for 378 yards and eight touchdowns. He was a reliable vertical threat, averaging 13.3 yards per receptions, with a six-foot-six, 245 lb. frame which made him a difficult matchup for most MAC defenses.

Turner finished his career with 46 catches for 577 yards and nine touchdowns.

The 2023 Hula Bowl will air on CBS Sports Network, with kickoff scheduled for Saturday, January 14, at noon Eastern time from UCF’s Bounce House Stadium.