We look at the East as the path to the NFL draft has begun. Over the course of the next few months, hundreds of NFL hopefuls will be working hard to impress team scouts and general managers. This weekend, we have the 93rd annual East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The East-West Shrine Game is more than just a game. While the phrase “more than just a game” might be the slogan of the game, it is a self-explanatory definition of the game’s history and direction. The game dates back to 1925 in San Francisco and has been played in Tropicana Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays since 2012.
The East-West Shrine Game is run by Shriners International, who is best known for the network of Shriners Hospitals for Children. The game helps bring attention and funding to the hospitals, which prides itself on making sure all children can receive top-level care, despite the ability to pay.
The East roster is stacked with talent. Here is a look at a few of the players looking to use the Shrine Game to help jumpstart their NFL careers.
J.T. Barrett – QB, Ohio State
It feels like J.T. Barrett has been at Ohio State forever, but the truth is that the 4th year starter has been the focal point of the Buckeyes offense since starting as a true freshman in 2014. In 2014, stepped in for Braxton Miller en route to a CFP national championship. While Barrett never matched the team success he had in 2014, his senior season was his statistical best. Barrett has won many accolades in the Big Ten. He won freshman of the year in 2014 and was a third-team All-American. He was a three-time first team All-Big Ten quarterback in 2014, 2016, and 2017.
Quinton Flowers – QB, South Florida
Quinton Flowers gets to play in front of a home crowd. Flowers has amazing running talent and is able to stop on a dime, but his throwing accuracy needs a lot of work. His dynamic offensive ability won him AAC offensive player of the year in 2016. While Flowers is listed as a quarterback, his future is probably at another position. During the Shrine Game practices, Flowers has even fielded punts.
DaeSean Hamilton – WR, Penn State
Japanese born DaeSean Hamilton burst on to the scene at Penn State as a freshman in 2014, leading the team in receiving and scoring second-team All-Big Ten. Hamilton reprised that feat as a senior as he led the team in receiving in 2017.
Austin Golson – C, Auburn
At 6ft 5in tall, Austin Golson is a big lineman. He covered his quarterback’s blind side at left tackle. He’s listed at center for the Shrine Game. While not the biggest name on the offensive line, his work helped his running back win the SEC offensive player of the year.
Jamiyus Pittman – DT, UCF
NGSC Sports has closely followed UCF and Jamiyus Pittman helped anchor an incredibly talented defensive front seven. Pittman has a good combination of size and speed. Pittman was second on the team in sacks and fourth in tackles for loss as a senior. Beyond the numbers, his ability to clog the defensive front helped open the door for his linebackers and ends to make plays.
Damon Webb – S, Ohio State
Damon Webb is a ball hawk. Webb played second fiddle in the defensive secondary of the Buckeyes, but he has a natural knack for being near the play. Webb led the team in interceptions and was third in total tackles.
The 93rd annual East-West starts at 3 pm and will be televised on the NFL Network with radio coverage on SiriusXM NFL Channel. The game can also be heard locally in the Tampa area on 1040 AM.
I've been writing off and on since 2003, where I first wrote for Southern College Sports. After a hiatus, I returned in 2012 with The Sports Chronicles, a predecessor of NGSC Sports. After a brief stint with WBLZ in 2017, I came back to NGSC Sports and currently guest write on the site. Also, from 2015 to 2017, I helped run Off the Cuff, a sports program and blog with STLR Media.
I have done radio and podcasts dating back to 2006 with The Student of the Game, an NFL podcast. In 2012, I cohosted TSC Saturday Night on the Sports Chronicles and The OT With Andrew G on WTMY in Sarasota, FL. I later moved the OT to NGSC Sports until 2014 where I started The College Cram, also on NGSC Sports. After a brief hiatus, I returned to radio in 2015 with both Off the Cuff on STLR and The Mad Scientist Sports Lab on The Inscriber.