DURHAM, N.H. – University of New Hampshire senior linebacker Matt Evans (Hanover, Mass.) has been selected to participate in the 88th annual East-West Shrine Game, the nation's longest-running all-star college football game, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Opening kickoff is set for 4 p.m., and the game will be televised live on the NFL Network. Since 1925, the East-West Shrine Game has pitted the best college football players from the East and West sides of the United States against one another in an all-star game played to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children®.
Evans led the CAA with 126 total tackles, which ranked 19th in the country, and he tacked on a nation-best 87 solo tackles in his final season as a Wildcat. The senior, who became UNH's all-time tackle leader Nov. 3 in a home win against William & Mary, capped his illustrious career with 460 stops and 266 solo tackles; both totals ranked first among all FCS players that were active in 2012.
The UNH co-captain was recognized as a Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America for the third time, becoming just the fourth player –and third from UNH (Ricky Santos, David Ball)- to garner that honor three times. The 6-foot, 228-pounder was also feted as an A.P. All-America, AFCA Coaches' All-America, The Sports Network All-America, Beyond Sports Network All-America Second Team, All-CAA First Team and All-New England Team. College Sports Madness recognized the middle linebacker as its CAA Defensive Player of the Year and as an All-America Second-Team performer. Evans, the 2011 Buck Buchanan Award winner as the national defensive player of the year, closed out the season with six straight double-digit tackle games (seven overall) and led the Wildcats in tackles nine times in 12 games.
No. 11 UNH qualified for the NCAA Division I Football Championship for the ninth straight season –the longest active FCS streak- before losing its second-round game, 23-7, at No. 9 Wofford on Dec. 1. The Wildcats, co-champions of the CAA, concluded their season with an 8-4 record.
The East-West Shrine Game attracts dozens of NFL scouts and is often a launching pad to a career as a professional football player. The contest has grown far beyond its California-based roots into a nationally celebrated and televised event that attracts tens of thousands of fans and raises funds and awareness for the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children.