When: January 18, 2014 4 PM
Where: Tropicana Field (Home of the Tampa Bay Rays)
TV: NFL Network
The E-W Shrine Game is the first step of the draft process with many of the lesser known names participating to get themselves more publicity in order to garner a Senior Bowl and ultimately, a Combine invite. Over 100 prospects in this game last year made it to an NFL training camp.
Notable prospects (EAST)
- Jimmy Garoppollo QB Eastern Illinois - The other record setting quarterback from a directional Illinois school that no one has heard about. Garappollo set numerous records at the Division 1-AA level and this game provides a good test against better competition. It's worth seeing if he can handle the step up.
- Jordan Lynch QB Northern Illinois - Lynch was a Heisman candidate this past year and deservedly so after setting many school and NCAA records. Lynch might need to make a position change to make it to the NFL level. He's extremely brash and a liability to his team. Lynch famously challenged Florida State's dominant defense in the 2013 Orange Bowl through the media and got his talk stuffed back at him....hard
- Jeremy Gallon WR Michigan - Gallon was the latest receiver to wear Desmond Howard's exalted number 21 jersey but struggled along with the entire Wolverines offense in 2013. At just 5'8, he might be best suited at slot receiver and occasional return man.
- Ross Cockrell CB Duke - The leader on defense of an upstart Blue Devils team that made it all the way to an ACC Championship appearance. Cockrell was the do everything utility DB for Duke.
- Andrew Jackson ILB WKU - Jackson has been a tackling machine over the past 3 years and got some interesting draft hype last year.
- Tre Boston DB UNC - Boston is an instinctive ball hawking safety that played both corner and safety for the Heels. Corner might be a better fit for him.
- Hakeem Smith S Louisville - Smith is the other part of the talented safety duo for the Cardinals. His much more hyped teammate Calvin Pryor got most of the glory while Smith did the dirty work.
- Steven Clark P Auburn - Jack Nicklau....Steven Clark had a standout performance in the national title game, repeatedly pinning FSU back deep in their own territory. Clark broke out the pitching wedge and planted the ball multiple times inside the 10 yard line.
Notable prospects (WEST/ Pac 12 division)
Remember when I said that the Pac-12 had most of the premier pass rushers and defenders in general in the country? The West roster has 3 key guys that should hear their names called on the second day of the draft.
- Cassius Marsh DL UCLA - He had a bit of a slow start but turned it on late against crosstown rival USC, rendering the Trojans OL hapless to stop him.
- Josh Mauro DL Stanford - Mauro was part of one of the best defensive line duos in the nation.
- Shaq Richardson CB Arizona - The lynchpin of the Wildcats defense that improved towards the end of the year. He is a versatile athlete schooled in the arts of the 3-3-5 defense.
Notable prospects (WEST/Non Pac-12 division)
- Gabe Ikard OL Oklahoma - This year's version of Brian Schwenke, perhaps? Ikard can play both guard and center.
- Keith Price QB Washington - Jake Locker's heir apparent at Washington was injured midway through the season and never really fully recovered. He's had some good games but the team wasn't talented enough to assist him in many wins outside of a few key pieces.
- Ben Malena RB Texas A&M - Johnny Football's running mate in the backfield after serving as a backup to current Seahawk Christine Michael for a number of years.
- Prince Shembo LB Notre Dame - Shembo was his usual stout self but took a slight step back without Chargers LB Manti Te'o covering for him. Really helped by the twin monsters up front called Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt.
- Max Bullough LB Michigan State - The heart and soul of the insanely tough Spartans defense (they might be the best defense in the country), Bullough was suspended for the 2014 Rose Bowl however, for rules violations and the Spartans defense held its own against a good Stanford team. It will be interesting to see how he interviews with the suspension looming over him.