Shrine-East vs. Shrine-West
Saturday, January 19, 4 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
GAME NOTES: Some of the best seniors in the nation will showcase their talents on Saturday afternoon in the 88th annual East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
In addition to being the longest-running college football all star game, the Shrine is also a benefit event raising money for Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Coaching the East team is Jerry Glanville, former head coach of the Houston Oilers and the Atlanta Falcons and most recently the head coach of Portland State from 2007-09. Leading the West squad will be Leeman Bennett, who was also once an NFL head coach, spending six seasons with the Falcons and two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Headlining the East's offense is Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein. The signal-caller completed 64.8 percent of his passes this season for 2,641 yards, 16 TDs, and nine INTs while also rushing for 920 yards and 23 more touchdowns. While Klein will certainly lineup at quarterback, he is also likely to play other positions, as he's not expected to be an NFL-caliber passer. Also suiting up at QB for the East is Louisiana Tech's Colby Cameron (4,147 yards, 31 TDs, five INTs) and Southeastern Louisiana's Nathan Stanley (1,952 yards, nine TDs, nine INTs).
A trio of 1,000-yard rushers will line up in the backfield for the East. Ray Graham of Pittsburgh and Montel Harris of Temple combined for 23 rushing scores in the Big East this season, while Zac Stacy (1,141 yards, 10 TDs) is Vanderbilt's all-time leading rusher.
Among the East's receiving talent is Auburn's Emory Blake (789 yards), Virginia Tech's Marcus Davis (900 yards) and Corey Fuller (815 yards), North Carolina's Erik Highsmith (587 yards), and Florida State's Rodney Smith (524 yards).
The East's defense also displays plenty of high-impact playmakers. Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges tallied 109 tackles, while SEC defensive backs Brandon Smith (Georgia), Josh Evans (Florida), and Trey Wilson (Vanderbilt) were all fantastic in the nation's most stout defensive conference. Maryland boasts a pair of athletic defensive lineman in A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano looking to make a splash at the next level.
On the West side, the most notable name on offense is Texas Tech's Seth Doege, who ranked in the top-three nationally in completion percentage (.702), passing yards (4,205), and passing touchdowns (39). Also lining up under center will be Arizona's Matt Scott (3,620 passing yards, 506 rushing yards, 34 total TDs), and Western Michigan's Alex Carder (1,652 yards, 13 TDs, 10 INTs).
Keywynn Williams rushed for 1,512 yards and 15 touchdowns for Utah State, and his versatility out of the backfield will surely be valued by many NFL franchises (45 receptions, 697 yards, five TDs). SMU's Zach Line rushed for 1,278 yards and 13 TDs, and while Texas A&M's Christine Michael had just 417 yards, he needed only 88 carries to get there while plunging into the end zone 12 times.
Chad Bumphis (58 receptions, 922 yards, 12 TDs) was one the best receivers in the country this year, and he's Mississippi State's all-time leader in touchdown receptions. Anthony Amos was often overlooked at Middle Tennessee but he'll be out to prove that his 72 receptions for 992 yards and nine touchdowns were not just a product of the weak defenses in the Sun Belt Conference. Jasper Collins out of Mount Union exploded in the Division III playoffs with 43 receptions for 795 yards and 11 TDs in five games. Joseph Fauria is considered by many to be one of the top receiving tight end prospects, as he caught 46 passes for 637 yards and 12 scores at UCLA this season.
The West's defense consists of plenty of players that performed on the biggest stages, including Notre Dame safety Zeke Motta, Ohio State linebacker Nathan Williams, Oklahoma cornerback Demontre Hurst, and South Carolina linebacker DeVonte Holloman. It also has brought together several small school players trying to showcase their talents against the nation's elite, including Central Michigan safety Jahleel Addae, Howard linebacker Keith Pough and Montana State defensive lineman Caleb Schreibeis, who earned the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the FCS ranks.
Whether it be a proven producer, a player with great talent but limited by injuries over his career, an overachiever from a small program, or even a guy who didn't get his fair share of playing time on a elite team, every player in this game has something to show in order to improve their stock come NFL Draft time in April.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Shrine East 45, Shrine West 44
01/16 11:02:08 ET