FRISCO — The annual East-West Shrine Bowl college football all-star game being played at the Ford Center at The Star this week features many NFL Draft hopefuls playing to make their cases to NFL teams.

The players participating include several local Dallas-Fort Worth high school alums and many other native Texans.

As the game has been moved from Las Vegas to Frisco this offseason, The Dallas Express caught up with some of the local prospects over the last couple of days about having the opportunity to display their talent to NFL teams in their home state.

Air Force safety Trey Taylor, who went to Frisco Lone Star High School, won the Thorpe Award as college football’s top defensive back and played in the first high school game ever played at the Ford Center:

“It’s definitely special to be back in my hometown. I’ve got a bunch of people coming down for practices and, especially, the game. That’s definitely been a special event so far, and I’m happy here. … I have been here before, I’ve done this, [and] I’ve played in this arena before. [I’m] staying focused on why I’m here and what I came to do.”

Texas defensive back Ryan Watts, who played at Little Elm High School:

“It means a lot. It’s definitely a blessing to be out here. I’ve watched the Shrine Bowl since I was young, and I see Tom Brady [played in it], and my teammate who was at Texas, D’Shawn Jamison, played at the Shrine Bowl last year. … I’ve got like 25-30 people coming to the game — people that didn’t get to see me at Ohio State or Texas — so they finally can see me in person. To go out, my last college game, having my family and friends see me in person definitely means a lot.”

USC wide receiver Tahj Washington, a native of Marshall, Texas:

“I’ve just been taking advantage of it [and] really soaking it all in — being right here, not too far from home and already being in the city. It’s cool to kind of get a two-on-one special for sure.”


One assistant coach, Davis Webb, the offensive coordinator for the West team, is also from the area. He played at Prosper High School before going on to play at Texas Tech and Cal and spending some time in the NFL. Webb addressed the opportunity to return to the area to coach the game in a press conference after Monday’s practice.

“The coolest part is I’m from the DFW area, right up the road in Prosper, so that’s cool,” Webb remarked. “My dad came out to practice yesterday, [and] Eric Morris at North Texas came out today. I played for him at Texas Tech; [former Cal coach] Sonny Dykes at TCU is nearby. I love this area. This is home. I haven’t been home in a while, so it’s good to get some Tex-Mex and barbecue, and obviously. Everyone in East-West has been great — great players, great quarterback room. It’s been a lot of fun being with the guys.”