Friday, January 20, 2012
Former ND players ready for showcases
By Matt Fortuna
Former Notre Dame cornerbacks Robert Blanton and Gary Gray will team up on the East squad in the 87th annual East-West Shrine Game on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Former Irish right guard Trevor Robinson will take the field the same day in the inaugural NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Harrison Smith, a safety and the Irish's lone team captain this past season, will play in the 63rd Senior Bowl on Jan. 28.
Former NFL and college coach Bobby Ross will coach Blanton and Gray in the Shrine game, during which Blanton will wear jersey No. 11 (he wore No. 12 at Notre Dame). The all-star festival kicks off at 4 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field and airs on the NFL Network.
Two hours later, at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., Robinson will suit up for the American team — coached by former NFL head coach Tom Flores — in the Collegiate Bowl, which will air on NBC Sports Network.
Smith, meanwhile, will suit up one week later for the North team, coached by Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier and the Vikings' staff. That game, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., will kick at 4 p.m. and air on the NFL Network.