Departing Michigan State Spartans senior linebacker Antjuan Simmons was selected for East-West Shrine Bowl All-Star honors. The annual charity game was canceled this year due to COVID-19 challenges. Virtual training sessions for NFL Draft preparation is still being offered for those selected as honorees.
Simmons decided earlier this month to forgo a fifth year of eligibility to instead enter the 2021 NFL Draft. The senior lineback and All-Big Ten honoree led MSU in tackles. He had 75 total tackles, 28 solo tackles, and nine tackles for loss.
The East-West Shrine Bowl issued the following press release explaining the game’s cancelation, but covering the distinction of receiving a honoree selection and training opportunities it presents:
Despite the 2021 East-West Shrine Bowl™ being cancelled due to challenges presented by COVID-19, game organizers will announce all-star selections throughout December to recognize outstanding senior seasons. In conjunction with the National Football League, players will participate in virtual training sessions in preparation for the NFL Draft.
The 96th annual East-West Shrine Bowl had been scheduled for January 23, 2021, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The student-athletes will participate in various virtual training/informational drills with current NFL coaches and members of the NFL Operations staff. Some 2021 all-stars will also participate in various virtual experiences with Shriners Hospitals for Children patients in recognition of the game’s nearly century-long commitment to supporting the health care system’s life-changing mission.
The most recent East-West Shrine Bowl, played this past January, currently boasts more than 100 members of its roster on NFL rosters this fall. The nation’s oldest college football all-star game, the East-West Shrine Bowl dates back to its original contest in 1925. The game benefits Shriners Hospitals for Children and its mission to provide excellent care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.
Thousands of East-West Shrine Bowl players have gone to the NFL in the past century, including 78 who went on to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Some of the many college all-stars who played in past games include Tom Brady, Gale Sayers, John Elway, Lawrence Taylor, Pat Tillman, Brett Favre, Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Frank Gifford and Roger Staubach.
We understand these student athletes have been granted an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA due to COVID-19 and the disruption of the college football season. The East-West Shrine Bowl wishes to recognize these young men for their outstanding contributions to their respective teams on and off the field during this challenging season.