East-West Shrine Game 2014: Roster, Top Prospects for College All-Star Game

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IJanuary 14, 2014

Dec 13, 2013; Charleston, IL, USA; Eastern Illinois Panthers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws the ball during the fourth quarter against the Towson Tigers at O'Brien Field. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

College football players from around the nation who have hopes of playing in the NFL have assembled in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the 2014 East-West Shrine Game, which takes place on Saturday, Jan. 18.

Though not as prestigious as the Senior Bowl, this is an excellent chance for prospects to make a name for themselves heading into the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. From the first day of practice to the game itself, these young men will be under the microscope by NFL scouts.

This East-West Shrine Game isn't just about football, however, as detailed by its official website:

In addition to serving as one of the NFL’s primary sources for eligible players, the game benefits Shriners Hospitals for Children®, and helps support its mission of providing expert care to children in need, conducting innovative research and offering educational opportunities to medical professionals.

Former Atlanta Falcons and Houston Oilers head coach Jerry Glanville is coaching the East team, while Houston Texans defensive coordinator and former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel will coach the West squad.     

Glanville, who coached the losing team last year, appreciates the dual nature of the event, via ShrineGame.com“In the end, it’s really about everyone having a good time in support of great cause.”

Here's a look at the rosters for both teams, followed by a closer examination of the top prospects expected to play in the East-West Shrine Game. 



Pos#First NameLast NameHTWTSchool
C74ChrisElkins6'4"300Youngstown State
G73ZachFulton6'5"323Tennessee (Injured)
G63JohnUrschel6'3"308Penn State
OT71KyleBryant6'7"320Youngstown State
OT 52JustinBritt6'6"315Missouri (Injured)
OT 52DonaldHawkins6'5"310Texas
OT66LaurentDuvernay-Tardif6'5"315McGill (Canada)
OT76MattHall6'10"320Belhaven (Miss.)
QB11JimmyGaroppolo6'3"222Eastern Illinois
QB6JordanLynch6'216Northern Illinois
RB24ZachBauman5'10"200Northern Arizona
RB27LaDariusPerkins5'10"190Mississippi State
TE82AlexBayer6'4"253Bowling Green
TE8CrockettGillmore6'6"245Colorado State
TE18BlakeJackson6'3"235Oklahoma State
WR84MattHazel6'3"190Coastal Carolina
WR1AllenHurns6'3"195Miami (Fla.)
WR88ErikLora5'11"190Eastern Illinois
Pos#First NameLast NameHTWTSchool
CB22TravisCarrie6'212Ohio (Injured)
CB5NevinLawson5'10"186Utah State
DL98WillClarke6'7"273West Virginia
DL90BruceGaston, Jr.6'2"305Purdue
DL97DemonteMcAllister6'2"290Florida State
DL99EthanWestbrooks6'4"263West Texas A&M
LB13XaviusBoyd6'2"243Western Kentucky
LB40GlennCarson6'3"235Penn State
LB4AndrewJackson6'1"257Western Kentucky
LB46DerrellJohnson6'2"263East Carolina
LB34DeDe (Devekeyan)Lattimore6'1"237South Florida
LB53CodyPeterson6'3"228Navy (Injured)
LB41JohnnyMillard6'3"240Cal Poly
S10TreBoston6'1"190North Carolina
S17A.J.Marshall6'0"190Wake Forest
S12DezmenSouthward6'2"214Wisconsin (Injured)
S14JemeaThomas5'10"195Georgia Tech


Pos#First NameLast NameHTWTSchool
C63DillonFarrell6'5"290New Mexico
G72AustinWentworth6'5"300Fresno State
OT76DannyKistler Jr.6'8"315Montana
OT78CharlesLeno, Jr.6'4"295Boise State
QB11TommyRees6'1"215Notre Dame
QB10KeithWenning6'3"220Ball State
RB20TimothyFlanders5'9"210Sam Houston State
RB37AnthonyLaCoste5'10"205Air Force
RB31BenMalena5'9"195Texas A&M
WR2JohnBrown5'11"170Pitt State
WR81SeantaviusJones6'3"200Valdosta State
WR89ChandlerJones5'11"175San Jose State
WR7TJJones5'11"190Notre Dame (Injured)
K4Anthony Fera6'2"208Texas
Pos#First NameLast NameHTWTSchool
CB22BeneBenwikere6'0"192San Jose State
CB32E.J.Gaines5'11"195Missouri (Injured)
CB12BennettJackson6'195Notre Dame
CB16RashaadReynolds5'11"186Oregon State
CB25MarcusWilliams5'11"192North Dakota State
DL70JustinEllis6'2"357Louisiana Tech
DL95Evan Gill6'3"291Manitoba (Canada)
DL98DerrickHopkins6'0"311Virginia Tech
DL99LarryWebster, III6'7"250Bloomsburg
DL92ZachMoore6'6"285Concordia (Injured)
FS27StephenObeng-Agyapong5'10"205Penn State
LB56ShaquilBarrett6'2"250Colorado State
LB40NateDreiling6'4"226Pitt State
LB42Devon Kennard6'3"255USC
LB55PrinceShembo6'1"250Notre Dame
LB41TylerStarr6'5"250South Dakota
LB44MaxBullough6'3"245Michigan State
S3AldenDarby5'11"195Arizona State
S8DaytawionLowe5'11"205Oklahoma State

Top Prospects

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois 

Dec 13, 2013; Charleston, IL, USA;  Eastern Illinois Panthers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws the ball during the second quarter against the Towson Tigers at O'Brien Field. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

It's not easy making it into the NFL from the FCS, but Jimmy Garoppolo will follow in Tony Romo's footsteps (a fellow Eastern Illinois quarterback) this spring. Furthermore, he could end up becoming a hot prospect before the scouting process comes to its conclusion.

Garoppolo got off to a good start during the first practice of the week in St. Petersburg, according to Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey, who is attending the event:

The top passer of the day, in my estimation, was Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo. Though he did not live up to his listed height of 6'3" nor look to have as much accuracy as he does on film, he displayed more-than-adequate zip on passes to every level of the field and was able to consistently throw tight spirals with little wobble at the top of their arc. 

Garoppolo put up jaw-dropping numbers for the Panthers in 2013, completing 66 percent of his passes for 5,050 yards with 53 touchdowns and just nine interceptions in 14 games. Those are better numbers than the ones Peyton Manning put up, considering Manning did what he did in 16 games against pro competition. 

For his efforts, the quarterback won the Walter Payton Award, becoming the second player (Romo was the first) from Eastern Illinois to win the prestigious honor. Garoppolo isn't the only quarterback turning heads this week, though, which brings us to the next man who could make it big at the next level. 

Jeff Mathews, QB, Cornell

Size isn't everything, but it sure helps if you have it. 

Measuring in at 6'4" and 229 pounds, Jeff Mathews out of Cornell features size that's comparable to that of Andrew Luck, and he has a tremendous arm to boot. He showed off his arm during practice, as noted by ESPN's Adam Caplan:

Arm strength, accuracy and anticipation are all vitally important to playing the quarterback position in the NFL. Windows don't stay open long against NFL defensive backs, and quarterbacks who wait for them to open up usually end up turning the ball over. 

Compared to Garoppolo, Mathews' stats weren't as impressive in 2013, but stats sometimes lie about the potential of a player. For the record, he completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 2,953 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. 

E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri

Missouri cornerback E.J. Gaines is the best overall player at the East-West Shrine Game. 

At 5'11" and 195 pounds, he possesses enough size to defend the NFL's top receivers. His penchant for physical play at the line of scrimmage makes him an intriguing prospect for teams that employ strong man-to-man tendencies on the perimeter.

Furthermore, he showed his ability to play bigger than his frame when he shut down Mike Evans (6'5" and 225 pounds) out of Texas A&M in late November. Evans caught just four passes for eight yards in that game, thanks to the smothering presence of Gaines in his hip pocket, and ESPN's Louis Riddick marveled at his explosiveness against the much bigger receiver:

Gaines picked off five passes in his senior season, and he totaled eight in his career at Missouri. He possesses all the physical tools to become successful in the NFL, and a strong showing in this game will further boost his draft stock. 

Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech

Justin Ellis might be able to tell you where the beef is

Nov 9, 2013; Ruston, LA, USA; Southern Miss Golden Eagles quarterback Nick Mullens (14) is sacked by Louisiana Tech Bulldogs defensive tackle Justin Ellis (70) during the first quarter at Joe Aillet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

At 6'2" and 357 pounds, he's a massive man and a monster to deal with in the trenches, as Josh Norris of Rotoworld.com pointed out. Norris also noted what the defensive tackle could do to improve:

Ellis gets great push up front. In fact, he could improve his anchor against double teams with a wider base and lower pad level. It would be no surprise if Ellis outperforms his peers in individual pass rushing drills. He finds contact through his hands and extends with powerful leg drive.

You wouldn't expect a man of Ellis' size to be much of a pass-rusher, but his stats illustrate Norris' point: 9.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks in his career. 

If Ellis can improve his conditioning and continue to hit the weight room, then he'll be a terror in the NFL in the middle of one lucky defense. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 


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