A trio of Oklahoma football student-athletes will take part in two collegiate all-star games for draft-eligible players this weekend. Center Gabe Ikard and running back Brennan Clay will partake in the 89th East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The contest kicks off at 3 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on NFL Network.
While Ikard and Clay are representing OU on the east coast, running back and return specialist Roy Finch will represent the Sooners on the west coast at the third annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl played at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. That contest is set for a 5 p.m. CT kickoff and will be aired on ESPN.
Both all-star games are launch pads for players who are looking to improve their collegiate resumes in hopes of playing in the NFL. An average of 275 East-West Shrine Game alumni are on NFL rosters each season with 71 former East-West Shrine Game alumni now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Notable alumni of the Shrine Game include Tom Brady, Brett Favre and John Elway. Former Atlanta Falcons and Houston Oilers head coach Jerry Glanville is coaching the East team while former Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel is coaching the West squad.
While still in its infancy, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl has garnered national recognition with over 100 scouts present for last year's game. Super Bowl champion coach Dick Vermeil will lead the National Team, while former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green will mentor the American Team.
All three Sooners participating in this weekend's all-star games were instrumental throughout their four seasons at Oklahoma. Ikard anchored Oklahoma's offensive line the past three years. In 2013, he earned consensus All-American honors in addition to being named the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year.
Clay had his most productive season in 2013, rushing for 957 yards, including a career-high 200-yard effort in a 41-31 win at Kansas State on Nov. 23. That contest marked one of three 100-yard games on the year for the San Diego native.Finch finished his OU career with 1,412 rushing yards, 442 receiving yards and nine total touchdowns, including a 100-yard kickoff return score against Kansas in 2012.