UT senior center Greg Mancz has accepted an invitation to the 90th East-West Shrine Game.The game will be played Saturday, Jan. 17, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., kicking off at 4 p.m. and televised live on NFL Network.
“I am very honored to be able to have this opportunity,” Mancz said. “Being able to play with the nation’s best players will be a great opportunity, and I am looking forward to representing The University of Toledo the best that I can.”
Mancz is a three-time All-MAC player who earned first-team honors in 2014.
He also won the Vern Smith Award this season as the top player in the Mid-American Conference. He helped lead the Rockets to a 9-4 record and guided the offense to the No. 1 spot in the MAC in total offense (490.5) and rushing offense (256.4), and to a victory in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl. He is the first Rocket to receive this award since quarterback Bruce Gradkowski shared the honor with Western Michigan wide receiver Greg Jennings in 2005, and the first Rocket to win the award outright since running back Wasean Tait in 1995. He is also the first offensive lineman to earn the award in its 33-year history.
“Greg has had an outstanding college career and a terrific senior season so he is very deserving of Vern Smith Leadership Award,” said UT Head Coach Matt Campbell. “He has been a dominant center and the anchor of our offense this year. Greg is also a true student-athlete and has been one of the best leaders I have ever been around, both on and off the field.”
In December, Mancz was named second-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America. He is the only MAC player from the to make the team and is the first Rocket to earn All-American honors since Eric Page was named honorable mention by Sports Illustrated in 2011. He is also the first UT offensive lineman to make either first- or second-team All-America on one of the five major All-America teams since Dan Bukovich made the Associated Press first-team in 1938.
Mancz joins an elite list of football greats, such as John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and 70 NFL Hall of Famers, who have played in the East-West Shrine Game in addition to more than 265 East-West Shrine Game alumni currently on 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.