NFL scouts will be the most interested spectators, taking notes on every move these college All-Stars make. Big-time programs such as USC, Oklahoma, LSU are represented side-by-side with smaller ones, like Norfolk State, Tennessee State and Richmond. For the players who never got to perform on national television this season, the game is a big opportuniy to make a dramatic impression on NFL teams heading into the combine on Feb. 20. And players who are better-known commodities can damage their stock with a bad performance, said former Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, now a personnel executive with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who's been watching practices this week.
Houston DE Phillip Hunt vs. the East offensive line. The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Hunt recorded 14 sacks this season, second in the nation only to TCU's Jerry Hughes (15). Now, Hunt gets to show off in front of the pro scouts on his home field. The East's offensive front includes starting linemen from the Big Ten, Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference.
Players to watch:
East: Missouri QB Chase Daniel. The former Missouri star ranked third in the Big 12 in passing yards (309.6 yards per game), behind Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell. The
6-foot Daniel needs to prove he can overcome his lack of height to
be an effective NFL quarterback.
West: Rice WR Jarett Dillard. The NCAA's all-time leader in touchdown receptions (59) must convince scouts he can make the
transition to the pros after setting numerous records in one of the
nation's weakest conferences.
Facts & Figures
The East-West Shrine has been played since 1925 and is the
nation's longest-running college football all-star game. ... The rosters include a total of 25 players from the state of Texas. ... Florida and Utah are the only teams in the top 5 in the final Associated Press poll not represented. Oklahoma and Texas have three players each, while Southern California has four. ... Bobby Ross will coach the East team and Gene Stallings will lead the West.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)