By Mike McCombs
Despite the cancellation of the 2021 East-West Shrine Bowl because of coronavirus concerns, game organizers have been announcing all-star selections throughout the month of December to recognize outstanding senior seasons.
Beaufort’s Nyles Pinckney, a Whale Branch Early College High School graduate and a graduate defensive tackle for the Clemson Tigers earned recognition last week.
In conjunction with the National Football League, Pinckney and other players selected will participate in virtual training sessions in preparation for the NFL Draft.
Pinckney has 24 tackled, including three for loss, in 10 games for the Tigers this season, including two starts. But his highlight for the season was a one-yard touchdown run against Georgia Tech.
Entering 2020, Pinckney had 71 tackles (10.5 for loss), 2.0 sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 857 snaps over 43 career games (13 starts) for the Tigers. Among those tackles for loss was a key stop on a fake field goal in Clemson’s 2018 National Championship win over Alabama.
Pinckney earned his degree in criminal justice in May 2019 and added a degree in sociology in May 2020. Because of NCAA exceptions due to Covid-19, Pinckney could decide to return to Clemson of one more season in 2021 if he so desired.
The 96th annual East-West Shrine Bowl had been scheduled for Jan. 23, 2021, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Some 2021 all-stars will participate in various virtual experiences with Shriners Hospitals for Children patients in recognition of the game’s nearly century-long commitment to supporting the health care system’s life-changing mission.
The nation’s oldest college football all-star game, the East-West Shrine Bowl dates back to its original contest in 1925. The game benefits Shriners Hospitals for Children and its mission to provide excellent care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.
Thousands of East-West Shrine Bowl players have gone to the NFL in the past century, including 78 who went on to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Some of the many college all-stars who played in past games include Tom Brady, Gale Sayers, John Elway, Lawrence Taylor, Pat Tillman, Brett Favre, Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Frank Gifford and Roger Staubach.