ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Charleston Southern football alum Erik Austell has been selected to play in the prestigious East-West Shrine Game, the nation's longest running college football all-star game. Austell will line up with other NFL hopefuls on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Tropicana Field. The 92nd annual contest will be televised on the NFL Network, with kickoff slated for 3 p.m.
Austell, a left tackle, earned All-American honors from the Associated Press, STATS FCS and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in 2016. The senior captain was an integral part of the nucleus that powered CSU to 35 wins, two Big South Conference championships and two playoff berths over the last four years. He started 39 games and was a two-time All-Big South pick (2015 & 2016) during that time.
More than 90 players from last year's East-West Shrine Game signed with professional teams last spring, with over 70 making final NFL rosters. On average, more than 265 East-West Shrine game alumni are on NFL rosters each year. Since the game's inception, 72 former players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Austell will also have the opportunity to play for current NFL coaches in the game. The NFL will supply the coaching staffs for the two teams from among assistant coaches whose teams are not in the playoffs.
Created by the Shriners in 1925, the game is driven by the desire to support Shriners Hospitals for Children in its mission to help children in need of expert medical care. More than one million children have benefited Shriners Hospitals' unique way of providing hope and healing, regardless of the families' ability to pay for services. Austell and all players and coaches involved will visit the local Shriners Hospitals for Children during game week.
More information on the East-West Shrine Game can be found here.