2009 East West Shrine Game
The Shrine game is probably my favorite All Star Game. It doesn’t get the hype or publicity as the Senior Bowl, but there is always some impressive talent on the field. This is a game that the “Sleepers” emerge onto the NFL Draft stage. Last year there were 43 players drafted from the 2008 game and an amazing 95 players ended up on NFL rosters. The 84th annual East-West Shrine Game was played on Jan. 17, 2009 at the University of Houston’s Robertson Stadium.
The East won the game 24-19, Nebraska RB Marlon Lucky was the offensive MVP and Duke linebacker Michael Tauiliili was the defensive MVP. Lucky ran for 68 yards and Tauliili was the games’ leading tackler recording 13 tackles. Both players improved their draft stock, Lucky who had a poor senior season, even getting demoted to third string at Nebraska, displayed a nice burst and Tauiliili, who is a little undersized at 5’ 11” 237 pounds, was all over the field showcasing excellent range and instincts. I am still not sold on Lucky, he will be lucky (excuse the pun) to even get drafted, but I love Tauliili, he is an elite talent. Did you know that Tauiliili ranked 5th in the nation in tackles in 2008 recording 140 and an additional 13 tackles for loss (TFL)?
Here are NFL Draft Dog’s notes (in no particular order) from the game highlighting the 2009 NFL Draft prospects that either helped or hurt their stock in the game.
RB/FB Gartrell Johnson, 5’ 11” 230 lbs. Colorado State: After coming off a 285 yard 2 TD performance (rushing) at the New Mexico Bowl, Johnson displayed a tough, hard nose running style. He is also an excellent blocker and can play some full back.
WR Jarett Dillard, 5’ 11” 185 lbs. Rice: I have loved this kid for the last two years and during the practices leading up to the game he looked like the best receiver on the field hands down. Dillard just knows how to play the game; he is very quick in and out of his breaks and can stop on a dime. He is going to be a player in the NFL. His 60 career touchdowns that lead the NCAA (All Time) were no fluke.
WR Mike Thomas, 5’ 9” 199 lbs. Arizona: Quick as a cat, tough and can catch the ball in traffic. Is dangerous in the open field and can return punts. Caught some nice balls in the game.
OT Sebastian Vollmer, 6’ 7” 310 lbs. Houston: I wasn’t really tracking this prospect before the game, but I am now. He carries his weight very well, has very quick feet and power. He looks like he could start in a couple years in the NFL as a right tackle.
DT Myron Prior, 6’ 1” 305 lbs. Kentucky: Add this up-and-coming star to your draft boards, he is very quick and explosive. Prior made a defensive stop and saved a TD in this game on a 4th and goal on his own three yard line. Prior could even be a 4th or 5th round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
DT Terrance Taylor, 6’ 0” 315 lbs. Michigan: He didn’t make a lot of plays, but drew a double team all day and the two offensive linemen that were trying to block him definitely had their hands full. Taylor has been kind of an under-achiever at Michigan, but could be a better pro that a college player if he totally commits to football.
DE Jarron Gilbert, 6’ 5” 279 lbs. San Jose State: Meet one of the fastest risers in this young 2009 NFL Draft season. Gilbert is probably the most physically gifted defensive lineman in this entire draft. He wowed scouts all week and has an incredible wingspan and vertical jump. For the 2008 season Gilbert recorded 21.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 quarterback sacks. His regular-season tackles for loss total is the most by a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) defensive tackle or nose tackle since the 2005 season. Gilbert will likely be drafted to play defensive end, perfect for a 34 defense and look for him to be drafted as early as the 2nd or 3rd round.
RB Javarris Williams, 5’ 10” 217 lbs. Tennessee State: Williams might have been the best looking running back on the field, he fought hard for the yards he got and displayed an impressive burst, patience and power. He can play at the next level. In 2008 Williams was the “Ohio Valley Player of the Year”. He finished his college career as the top All-time rushing TD leader with 42 TDs and second on the All-Time rushing list with 4,329 yards. He had six 100+ yard rushing games this season (2008) and twenty in his career. Williams has rushed for over 1,000 yards for three consecutive years.
QB Hunter Cantwell, 6’ 5” 236 lbs. Louisville: Hunter was the best quarterback in this game, best size, best arm, no one else was even close. Not Fresno State’s Tom Bandstater or Michigan State’s Brian Hoyer. Brandstater has a strong arm, but is inconsistent. Hunter Cantwell will probably get drafted in the 5th or 6th round and sit on the bench for a couple years, but he has the potential to emerge as an NFL starter.
WR Deon Butler, 5’ 10” 172 lbs. Penn State: Butler doesn’t have the quickness in and out of his cuts like Dillard does, but he is extremely gifted, experienced, smart and fearless catching the ball in traffic. Butler knows how to get open, he caught three passes for 69 yards in this game.
CB Morgan Trent, 6’ 1” 189 lbs. Michigan: Like team-mate Terrance Taylor, Trent was highly regarded coming into the 2008 season, but he didn’t stand out and has seen his draft stock slip. In this game Trent did play well, he looked well coached, used good technique and jumped a route for a pivotal interception.
CB Ryan Mouton, 5’ 10” 102 lbs. Hawaii: Mouton is a physical, fearless cornerback. In this game he jumped a slant route, broke up a pass and saved a touchdown.
RB Tyrell Sutton, 5’ 8” 205 lbs. Northwestern: Broke his wrist in October and was thought to be out for the season, but fought back and started in the Alamo Bowl on December 29th. He displayed a nice burst in this game. This stocky little powerhouse has the potential to play in the NFL. He is very explosive and strong.
DE Nick Reed, 6’ 2” 251 lbs. Oregon: The Rodney Dangerfield of college football, he just gets no respect, but on the football field he produces game in and game out. He abused highly regarded Ohio State OT Alex Boone in this game. This past season Reed won the Morris Trophy, which is an award given to the best offensive and defensive linemen of the Pac-10 and voted on by opposing linemen. He also was named first-team All-America by the Walter Camp Foundation and led the Pac-10 in sacks (13) and tackles for loss (19.5).
OT Fenuki Topou, 6’ 5” 322 lbs. Oregon: He doesn’t look like he weighs 322 pounds to me, at least he moves like a 300 pounder. He is lightening quick out of his set and slides his feet very well. Topou is one of the most under-rated offensive tackles in the country and he proved that in this game by completely shutting down highly regarded Wisconsin DE Matt Shaunessy.
OT Augustus Parrish, 6’ 4” 300 lbs. Kent State: Probably a guard at the next level; even though he came from a small school, he definitely looked like he belonged. He was one of the best offensive linemen on the field. He needs to add about 10 pounds of muscle for the NFL, but he carries his self very well.
OG Seth Olsen, 6’ 4” 305 lbs. Iowa: Olsen made some key blocks in this game. He was a key reason Iowa running back Shonn Greene ran for 1,850 yards and 20 TDs last year (2008). Olsen is strong, very experienced and a scrapper on the inside. He isn’t elite at this point, but could eventually be a starter or a key backup in the NFL.
TE Bear Pascoe, 6’ 5” 265 lbs. Fresno State: Not blazing fast, but runs great routes and has nice size. Plus he has fantastic hands; he made a scintillating catch on a seam route that very few big tight ends at any level could make.
DE Lawrence Sidbury, 6’ 3” 268 lbs. Richmond: Small school kids get no respect; they spelled his name wrong on his jersey (Sidbuby). He also got off to a rough start with an offsides and roughing the passer penalty; but he made up for it on probably the most critical defensive stop in the game. He made a nice move, got free and pressured the West’s QB into a bad throw on 4th down, sealing the win for the East.
Punter Matt Fodge, 6’ 1” 195 lbs. Oklahoma State: A day to forget, can you say shank?
WR Marko Mitchell, 6’ 3” 203 lbs. Nevada: He just couldn’t come down with the football and looks to have suspect hands.
QB Chase Daniel, 5’ 10” 234 lbs. Missouri: Not NFL material, plays even shorter than he is, seems to have lost confidence and accuracy. Average arm strength and doesn’t look comfortable taking snaps directly under center.
RB Ian Johnson, 5’ 11” 202 lbs. Boise State: He just doesn’t have the foot-speed for the next level. He tried but couldn’t get outside in this game.
FB Javorskie Lane, 5’ 11” 280 lbs. Texas A&M: He has eaten himself out of a chance to play in the NFL. At 280 pounds, way to soft and overweight. He was stopped three times inside the five yard line during the East-West Shrine game.