Game on Saturday (Jan. 23) is televised at Noon Pacific time on ESPN2
Eastern Washington University senior quarterback Matt Nichols will wear jersey No. 11 and senior tight end Nathan Overbay will wear No. 19 for the "West" at Saturday's (Jan. 23) 85th-Annual East-West Shrine Game at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. The game will be televised on ESPN2 starting at noon Pacific time.
Nichols and Overbay will be the second and third Eastern players to ever play in the East-West Game. Michael Roos, now with the Tennessee Titans in the National Football League, played in 2005 following his senior season in 2004. In fact, Roos, who just concluded his fifth season with the Titans, will be in Orlando for Saturday's game.
Both Nichols and Overbay earned NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-America honors in 2009, with Nichols also winning Big Sky Offensive MVP honors in both 2007 and 2009.
Nichols is a 2005 graduate of West Valley High School in Cottonwood, Calif., and broke 14 school records and six Big Sky Conference marks in his 47-game career (45 as a starter). He passed for 3,830 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior, giving him a total of 12,616 yards and 96 touchdowns in his career. His career yardage total ranks sixth in FCS history and his touchdown total is 10th.
Overbay is a 6-foot-5, 270-pound senior who graduated in 2005 from W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Wash. He caught 51 passes for 588 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior to earn first team All-Big Sky Conference honors. He is the nephew of Toronto Blue Jays major league baseball player Lyle Overbay.
In Orlando, the other quarterbacks on the West squad are BYU's Max Hall and Todd Reesing from Kansas, and Colorado's Riar Greer and BYU's Dennis Pitta are the other tight ends. Washington State's Kenny Alfred, whose brother Matt Alfred was an All-America offensive lineman at EWU in 2007, is also on the West roster. Former WSU coach Jim Walden, who also has a radio talk show in Spokane, will be honored on Saturday as a new inductee into the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame.
More on the Game: http://www.shrinegame.com
More on Nichols may be found at: http://goeags.com/sports/m-footbl/2009-10/releases/09fbDec3NicholsRecords
More on Overbay may be found at: http://goeags.com/sports/m-footbl/2009-10/releases/09fbDec2OverbayShrineGame
More on the East-West Shrine Game . . .
The East-West Shrine Game is the oldest college all-star game in the country and features the finest athletes in the U.S. and Canada. In 2008, 95 of 105 players on the East-West Shrine Game roster were either drafted or signed by National Football League clubs with 44 selected in that year's draft. A total of 307 East-West Shrine Game alumni were on 2008 NFL opening-day 53-man rosters, practice squads and injured-reserve lists.
Nichols and Overbay join an elite list of football greats, such as John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and 62 NFL Hall of Famers, who have played in the East-West Shrine Game, America's longest-running college all-star football game.
"The East-West Shrine Game has always fielded players among college football's best," said East-West Shrine Game Executive Director Jack Hart. "With all 32 NFL teams represented by GMs, coaches and scouts during game week, our players have the terrific opportunity to showcase their talents and get their first glimpse of life in the NFL ... ‘Just Like on Sunday.'"
While the teams are divided by East and West, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, Shriners Hospitals for Children, an international pediatric specialty health care system.
"We hope our supporters all over the country will come out and enjoy this exciting game," said Douglas E. Maxwell, president and CEO of Shriners Hospitals for Children. "Our health care system depends on the generosity of our supporters, and this game is one of our signature events - all proceeds benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children."
For more information about the East-West Shrine Game, please visit www.shrinegame.com.