Former UCF defensive tackle Torell Troup finally got the opportunity to show he can compete with some of the best interior lineman in the nation, and he didn’t have to go far to do so.
Troup competed in the 85th annual East-West Shrine Game, which was hosted at the Citrus Bowl in Downtown Orlando, on Saturday afternoon, and played alongside some of the top talent in the nation. Troup’s East squad defeated the West team in the final seconds with a game-winning touchdown pass from Northwestern’s Mike Kafka to Penn State’s Andrew Quarless with :06 remaining on the clock, giving the East a 13-10 victory.
“Everybody really picked it up in the fourth quarter,” Troup said. “You could tell that the whole team really wanted to win. It got a little more intense. Guys started pushing a little bit more.
“Just like any All-Star Game, guys want to win and at the end of a game, it's time to really play hard."
Troup saw his first action of the game early in the first quarter and it didn’t take long for his impact to be felt. The 6-foot-3, 314-pound lineman recorded his only tackle of the game, stopping Oklahoma State’s Keith Totson for a one-yard gain with just under eight minutes in the first quarter.
“I tried to come out and set a good tempo for myself,” Troup said of his opening quarter tackle. “I wanted to get off the ball fast and make sure to let them know that I’m powerful, so that’s what I did and I tried to keep it up all game.”
Playing alongside some of college football’s most talented defensive linemen, Troup demanded numerous double teams in the game, disrupting his ability to make plays. The amount of help Troup saw on him in the game shows just how much respect he demanded from the opposing offense.
“I had a stop, but I got a lot of double teams,” he said.” I tried to just work my hands and run to the ball, just play d-line. Part of the defensive line is getting double teamed. They were sliding the protection, so it seemed like every time they were sliding the protection it would always end up on me.”
Having the opportunity to play in his backyard in Orlando, Troup had numerous teammates and family members on hand for the game. He was the last player out of the tunnel for the East squad and heard cheers of “Troouuuuuuuup” as he trotted out onto the field.
“It felt like I was back at Bright House,” he said. “It was great...It was very cool. It gave me chills a little bit. I'm glad those people came out.”
Troup was glad he got the opportunity to represent not just his own talent, but to also show that UCF belongs among some of the top college football schools in the nation.
“It’s a great opportunity for UCF to get their name out there,” he said. “We are still not where we need to be at yet and I feel like we are moving in the right direction, but playing in this game is more of an honor for UCF than just me. I get to represent UCF and it has been a great experience.”
Troup competed in practices all week and had numerous opportunities to show off his skills to NFL scouts. He made an impression with one big name, his East team head coach, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.
“Troup showed that he is a very physical and strong guy on the inside,” Crennel said in the post-game press conference. “He can push the pocket. He's a good kid. He tries hard and does what you tell him to do. As a coach, that's exactly what you're looking for.”
The next couple of weeks will be crucial for Troup, as he gets ready to show off his athletic ability at the NFL Combine in late February in Indianapolis. It will be weeks of training, building and trying to raise his draft stock.
“I will probably be working out six days a week getting ready for the NFL Combine,” he said. “Probably from 6:00 in the morning till 5:30 in the afternoon every day, so all I will be doing is working.”