ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. -- Former North Dakota safety Cole Reyes accepted an invitation to play in the 93rd-annual East-West Shrine Game, which will be held on Jan. 20 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The announcement was made by the Shrine Game's official Twitter feed on Friday (@Shrine_Game).
Reyes will suit up with more than 100 collegiate all-stars from mostly the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision levels. The National Football League will supply coaches for the East and West from a pool of assistant coaches whose teams do not advance to the playoffs. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on the NFL Network.
"First off, I'm just honored and blessed to be able to represent North Dakota at this game," Reyes said. "I want to thank the coaching staff and my teammates because without them, opportunities like this do not happen. My time at UND was nothing short of amazing and I'm fortunate to say I was able to play football and attend school at such a great university.
"After rehabbing these past couple of months, I'm feeling healthy again and look forward to showcasing my skills alongside the best players in college football down in St. Petersburg."
Reyes saw his final collegiate season cut short by an injury suffered in the Fighting Hawks' Big Sky opener vs. Montana State (Sept. 28). The Schaumburg, Ill., native totalled 25 tackles, including 17 solo stops in his four contests during a season where he was pegged as the Big Sky Preseason Defensive Player of Year.
The Schaumburg, Ill. native entered the season looking to improve upon a 2016 season that saw him earn Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year accolades and six different All-America accolades. Reyes finished that campaign with 70 tackles, three interceptions and eight pass break-ups, while helping lead the Fighting Hawks to a share of the 2016 Big Sky Championship as well as the program's first FCS playoff berth.
Reyes concluded his UND career with 225 tackles, 19.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and five interceptions. He was a second team All-Big Sky selection as a sophomore in 2015.
More than 100 players from last year’s Shrine Game signed with professional teams this past spring, and more than 70 made final NFL rosters.
While the teams are divided by East and West, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, Shriners Hospitals for Children®, an international pediatric specialty health care system that treats children in orthopaedics, spinal cord injuries, cleft lift and palate, and burns, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.
-- UND --