McDougald and Hawkinson Enjoying Activities Leading Up To 2013 East-West Shrine Game
Jan. 16, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas senior football players Bradley McDougald and Tanner Hawkinsonarrived in Tampa, Fla., Sunday to prepare for the 2013 East-West Shrine Game, which will be played Saturday, January January 19, at 3 p.m., at Tropicana Field. The game will be televised live on the NFL Network.
In addition to giving college players a chance to showcase their talents for NFL teams, the 88th annual East-West Shrine Game is best known for benefitting the twenty-two Shriners Hospitals for Children health care facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
McDougald and Hawkinson, who are playing for the West Team under head coach Leeman Bennett, are taking part in four practice sessions during the week. The players also meet with NFL executives representing their teams at the week-long event. The Jayhawk duo will take part in a banquet Friday evening, which will also be held at Tropicana Field.
“Practicing against top-notch competition on a daily basis has been fun,” said McDougald, who earned All-Big 12 honors following his senior season. “It really shows you that if you can make plays against these guys, you can make them against anyone and that gives us confidence moving forward.”
McDougald and Hawkinson have not only been busy going through practice sessions along with their teammates in Tampa, but they have also been taking time out to get into the spirit of the game by making a visit to Shriners Hospital for Children–Tampa.
“It felt really good to go to the hospital and give back to the kids,” said McDougald. “There was a time when players were doing the same thing for my older brother when he was going through his cancer treatments. It is a very meaningful experience for everyone.”
McDougald and Hawkinson are the ninth and 10th Jayhawks to compete in the East-West Shrine Game since 2006. Former KU linebacker Steven Johnsonplayed in the 2012 game. Johnson completed his first season playing for the NFL’s Denver Broncos last week.
McDougald closed out his Kansas career by ranking second to linebacker Ben Heeneyin tackles with 92, including 72 solo stops. He had three interceptions, two forced fumbles and 4.0 TFLs for a loss of 18 yards. The Columbus, Ohio native also returned punts, collecting 39 yards on four returns.
Hawkinson also received All-Big 12 honors after playing an instrumental part in helping the KU rushing offense rank 24th nationally and third in the Big 12 in 2012. A native of McPherson, Kan., Hawkinson set two Kansas records his senior season. He concluded his career by starting 48 games, the most starts of any player in KU history. He also set the Jayhawk record for consecutive games started with his 48-straight starts.
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