Jan. 22, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
While seven former Notre Dame football players continue their quest for Super Bowl glory this weekend, five members of the 2015 squad take an important step towards one day achieving that goal as they compete in the East-West Shrine Game and Reese's Senior Bowl.
Drawing hordes of NFL scouts and football staffers annually, these weeks are often impactful when it comes time for the NFL Draft, this year set for April 28-30 in Chicago.
In the Shrine Game, WR Chris Brown, DE Romeo Okwara and S Elijah Shumate will compete at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 23 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Florida live on NFL Network. The East team's coaching staff includes a pair of Notre Dame alumni as well, led by Charlie Weis with Brady Quinn serving as the quarterbacks coach. For Irish fans watching on TV, Okwara (45) and Shumate (22) will wear their standard Irish uniform numbers but Brown has donned 21 all week.
Next week, the focus for scouts turns further west along the gulf coast to Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl. There Notre Dame C Nick Martin and DL Sheldon Day will continue their practice field battles in the trenches for the North team, one led by Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and many of his assistant coaches. Martin (72) and Day (91) will each wear their Irish uniform numbers in the contest.
The Irish are one of 10 teams nationally and one of just two teams north of the Mason-Dixon Line (also Ohio State) to have had a Senior Bowl participant in each of the last 11 years.
Senior Bowl practices begin on Tuesday leading up to the annual all-star showcase game at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 30, live on NFL Network from Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and serves as the football publicity team's top lieutenant while coordinating all media efforts for Irish women's lacrosse. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.