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Nevada Notebook: Mannix, Nephi Sewell headline Wolf Pack departures

Nevada accepts invitation to Arizona Bowl

NCAA Football: UNLV at Nevada Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of 24 hours, Nevada Wolf Pack wide receiver McLane Mannix and safety Nephi Sewell announced their departures from the University of Nevada, Reno. The two players join fellow tight end Trevion Armstrong, who transferred on Nov. 14.

Mannix will reportedly leave the university due to personal reasons, he announced Sunday night via Twitter.

The 5’9” sophomore receiver hauled in 50 receptions for 875 yards and a team-leading seven touchdowns for Nevada this season. Mannix’s speed and versatility was used all over the field, he returned punts and kicks on special teams and lined up in the slot to gash defenses over the middle.

Mannix received offers from Vanderbilt, Air Force and Army coming out of Midland High School, located in Midland, Texas. He originally joined Vanderbilt, but de-committed from the university and joined the Wolf Pack on signing day. He played in all 24 games over the last two seasons.

Mannix’s impressive 2017 season earned him a selection to the Freshman All-American Team by the Football Writers of America last season. Mannix caught 57 passes for 778 yards and six touchdowns.

Head Coach Jay Norvell told Nevada Sports Net Monday night that sophomore safety Nephi Sewell has not reported for bowl sessions and practices, and is expected to transfer from the university this coming offseason.

Sewell accumulated 111 tackles, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two interceptions over his two seasons with the Wolf Pack. He was one of the top returning player for Nevada’s defense and played a crucial role in coverage or wrapping up tackles in the open field.

Sewell verbally committed to Nevada in 2017 over offers from Washington State, Southern Utah and Weber State. He appeared in eight of 11 games as a freshman, recording 58 tackles and 4.5 for loss.

Both departures hurt Nevada in the upcoming Arizona Bowl Dec. 29 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona. The matchup pits the Wolf Pack against the Arkansas State Red Wolves of the Sun Belt Conference.

The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl is one of the more recent additions to the bowl landscape, but Nevada share unique history with the game. The Wolf Pack’s last bowl appearance and victory occurred during the 2015 Arizona Bowl in a 28-23 win over Colorado State.

Arkansas State capped-off an impressive 8-4 season with four-straight wins during the regular season. Led by quarterback Justice Hansen, the Red Wolves place 24th in the nation in total offense.

Nevada finished second in the West Division of the Mountain West Conference with a 7-5 record which also included four-straight wins, the most in the Norvell era. Known for their offensive attack through the air, running backs Kelton Moore and Toa Taua have formed a potent attack on the ground, the duo averages 157.6 rushing yards per game.

Fans may be in for a treat. Last year’s Arizona Bowl featured a 26-20 thriller between New Mexico State and Utah State. The Lobos ran away victorious after a 21-yard score by running back Larry Rose III sealed the game.

With two high-powered offenses, Nevada and Arkansas State may be able to put on another show.