Jan. 20, 2010
Arizona defensive tackle Earl Mitchell and cornerback Devin Ross are in Orlando, Fla., to compete for the West Team and Coach Marty Schottenheimer in the 84th Annual Asset Protect East-West Shrine Game this Saturday.
Mitchell was a second-team All-Pacific-10 Conference selection while Ross earned honorable mention this year after second-team honors in 2008. They were among leaders on Arizona's defense, which finished rated 25th nationally in total defense.
The pair of 2009 seniors arrived in Orlando last Saturday for a week of activities and practices leading up to the 3:30 (EST) game in the Florida Citrus Bowl Saturday, Jan. 23. The all-star game will be televised on ESPN2.
They're joined by 15 other Pac-10 players on the West roster.
Players visited a Shriners Hospital in Tampa on Sunday, were part of NFL receptions Monday and Tuesday (along with practices) and will take part in a meet-and-greet Shriners reception Thursday.
The East-West Shrine Game is the oldest and one of the most respected of the post-season collegiate bowl games. Since 1925 the game has featured outstanding players and coaches as a showcase of potential NFL talent. The underlying purpose is to help raise funds for the support of 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children around the nation.
Ross was Arizona's leading tackler and 12th in the Pac-10 with 74 total tackles, while Mitchell, a team co-captain, was ninth in the league with 6.5 sacks from his interior position. They are among a half dozen UA potential NFL picks and the top draft possibilities along with junior tight end Rob Gronkowski, who declared for the draft a year early last week.
Others likely to be offered free-agent opportunities are safety Cam Nelson, receiver Terrell Turner, H-back Chris Gronkowski, offensive tackle Mike Diaz, and linebackers Vuna Tuihalamaka, Sterling Lewis and Xavier Kelley.
Although rosters are not complete, Arizona does not have a player selected for the January 30th Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
The NFL Draft will be held April 22-24 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, with Round 1 on Thursday, the Second and Third Rounds on Friday and the final four rounds on Saturday.
A year ago Arizona had receiver Mike Thomas appear in both the East-West and Senior Bowl games and then was drafted in the fourth round, while junior offensive tackle Eben Britton was a second-round pick, both by the Jacksonville Jaguars.