Football player to take part in prestigious U.S. all-star game
Queen's offensive tackle Matthew O'Donnell has been selected to play alongside some of the best college football players in North America at the prestigious East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 22 in Orlando.
The all-star showcase features more than 80 of the top university players in the United States and is watched by many NFL and CFL scouts.
“It's a great honour for myself as well as my family, coaches and teammates. It was a long journey from my first week in training camp to my final plays of my fourth year, all expertly mapped out by the Queen’s coaching staff,” says Mr. O’Donnell.
The 21-year-old, who stands 6-foot-10 and 340 pounds, has dressed in every game for Queen's since his university debut in 2007. He was named lineman of the year in the OUA conference and was one of only two athletes selected to the first all-Canadian team on offence for the second-straight season. He was ranked eighth on the CFL Scouting Bureau's top 15 prospects list as of Dec. 14.
"Matt is a very physically intimidating force and this is a tremendous opportunity for him to showcase his skills," said Queen's head coach Pat Sheahan. "He will line up with the best seniors in U.S. college football and this will determine a lot about his football future. I think it's going to be a great experience for Matt and this certainly is a proud moment for both him and our program."
Mr. O’Donnell knows this game will have impact on getting drafted and his goal of playing in the NFL He is also planning on training in the U.S. with top trainers to improve his strength and technique.
“I'll need to improve a lot as a player over the next few months prior to the pro days and evaluation camps if I want to turn heads among the scouts,” Mr. O’Donnell says.
The health studies student is only the second Queen's player to be invited to the game. Mike Schad, also an offensive tackle, also took part and remains the only CIS graduate chosen in the first round of the NFL draft (1987, Los Angeles Rams, 23rd overall).