HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 17, 2008) The rosters for the East-West Shrine Game officially were released recently and the annual all-star classic is highlighted by University of Houston running back Anthony Alridge, and LSU quarterback Matt Flynn, who was the Offensive MVP of the BCS Championship game earlier this month.
A Second Team, All-Conference USA selection from Denton, Texas, Alridge helped lead the Cougars to their third straight bowl game as he rushed for a career-high 1,597 yards and 14 touchdowns. Alridge is slated to take play for the West Team in the game.
As for Flynn, the Tyler, Texas native led the Tigers to the national championship with a 38-24 win over Ohio State in the Louisiana Superdome on January 7. For the season, Flynn passed for over 2,400 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing over 56 percent of his passes. Against the Buckeyes Flynn completed 19-of-27 passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns.
The rosters include 17 players who either played high school or college football in the state of Texas, including 13 on the West team. The West squad included two members of the Texas Bowl-winning TCU squad--- defensive lineman Tommy Blake (Aransas Pass, Texas) and Chase Ortiz (League City, Texas)---as well as Texas A&M defensive lineman Chris Harrington (Houston), Texas defensive lineman Frank Okam (Dallas), and UTEP defensive back Quentin Demps (San Antonio.)
Texas State punter Chris MacDonald (Mesa, Ariz.) also is on the team, as are the Oklahoma trio of kicker Garrett Hartley (Southlake, Texas), tight end Joe Jon Finley (Arlington, Texas) and defensive back Marcus Walker (Waco, Texas). UCLA's Bruce Davis (Houston) and James McClinton (Garland, Texas) of Kansas---both defensive linemen---round out the Texas contingency.
Other notable names for the West squad include Oklahoma State running back Dantrell Savage, San Diego State quarterback Kevin O'Connell, Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller and Hawai'I receiver Jason Rivers.
The East team is heavy on ACC, SEC and Big Ten stars but does include a trio of Texans outside of Flynn. Navy fullback Adam Ballard (Lewisville, Texas), Army defensive back Caleb Campbell (Perryton, Texas) and Iowa defensive lineman Kenny Iwebema (Arlington, Texas) all hail from the Lone Star State.
The East team will be paced offensively by Flynn, Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco, Penn State signal-caller Anthony Morelli, running backs Cory Boyd (South Carolina), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Ole Miss) and Georgia's Thomas Brown, as well as wide receivers Justin Harper (Virginia Tech) and Paul Hubbard (Wisconsin.)