Toledo senior tight end Michael Roberts, senior offensive lineman Storm Norton and senior defensive tackle Treyvon Hester have accepted invitations to play in the 92nd East-West Shrine Game.
The contest will be held Saturday, Jan. 21, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., kicking off at 3 p.m. and televised live on NFL Network.Roberts was named first-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America and Phil Steel Publications. He caught 45 passes for 533 yards and led the nation’s tight ends with 16 touchdown receptions, eight more than the next tight end. A first-team All-Mid-American Conference honoree this season, Roberts broke the Toledo record for touchdown catches in a season previously held by Lance Moore (14 in 2004). He shattered the school record for TD receptions by a tight end, formerly held by Don Seymour (9 in 1973). He had three TD catches in one game against both Western Michigan and Bowling Green. Norton, 6-8, 306 pounds, is a two-time, first-team All-MAC selection at left tackle. He was the leader of a unit that allowed just 14 sacks in 2016 and powered a Rocket offense that led the MAC in total offense (517.8) and passing offense (322.8). This past season, he was on the official watch list for the Outland Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s top interior lineman. He recently was named to SB Nation’s All-America Team. Hester, however, will not be able to participate due to an injury. The 6-3, 300-pound defensive tackle is a three-time All-MAC player who earned second-team honors in 2016. In his four-year college career, Hester has totaled 153 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss and 13.0 sacks. Hester led the Rockets with 5.0 sacks this season.
These Rockets join an elite list of football greats, such as John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre and 74 NFL Hall of Famers who have played in the East-West Shrine Game, in addition to more than 265 East-West Shrine Game alumni on NFL rosters each year. More than 100 players from the 2016 game signed with professional teams last spring, and more than 70 made final NFL rosters.
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.