Tech's Charles to Play in Cactus Bowl Tonight

Arkansas Tech senior defensive back Antonio Charles will be among 88 of the top football players in NCAA Division II playing in the 2011 Cactus Bowl in Kingsville, Texas, tonight (Friday, Jan. 7).

The annual all-star game provides NCAA Division II players with an opportunity to catch the eyes of professional scouts. All proceeds from the game go to Shriners Hospitals for Children in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Click here beginning at 7 p.m. to watch a video webcast of the Cactus Bowl.

Charles (photographed), a senior defensive back from Sarasota, Fla., was named All-NCAA Division II Super Region 2 by Daktronics and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette this season. He became the first all-region defensive player from Arkansas Tech since cornerback Tito Jose earned that honor in 2007.

Charles led Arkansas Tech with 87 tackles during the 2010 season. He made 8.5 tackles for a loss, two quarterback sacks, two interceptions, four pass break-ups, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick.

Charles’ 87 tackles were the most in a single season by a Wonder Boy since 2005, when Mike Houston made 113 stops for Arkansas Tech.

In two seasons with the Wonder Boys, Charles made 132 career tackles.

Charles is the 11th Wonder Boy invited to participate in the Cactus Bowl (or the Snow Bowl, as it was previously known when it was played in Fargo, N.D.) since 1999.

Defensive lineman D.J. Crane (1999), offensive lineman Todd Mathews (1999), defensive lineman/punter Tommy Edwards (2003), offensive lineman Jonathan Hayes (2004), offensive lineman Kyle Jackson (2005), offensive lineman Bailey Dickson (2006), offensive lineman Jeremy Ashcraft (2009), quarterback Nick Graziano (2010), wide receiver Frantz Simeon (2010) and offensive lineman Torrence Wright (2010) have also represented Arkansas Tech in the NCAA Division II all-star game.