McGill’s Duvernay-Tardif, Manitoba’s Gill invited to Shrine Game

OTTAWA (CIS) – Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, an offensive tackle from McGill University, and Evan Gill, a defensive tackle from the University of Manitoba, have been selected to represent CIS football in the 89th edition of the prestigious East-West Shrine Game on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. EST, live on NFL Network. The game will also be streamed online at

The longest running university all-star game in the United States, the Shrine Game has been played annually since 1925 to raise funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children and to raise awareness about the expert orthopedic, burn, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, as well as cleft lip and palate care, available to patients and families through the 23 Shriners Hospitals for Children in the USA, Canada and Mexico.

Since 1985, CIS has been represented annually - usually by two players - at the event which features over 100 all-stars, primarily from NCAA institutions, with the exception of 1985 (one CIS player), 2008 (4) and 2012 (3).

The impressive list of past CIS standouts invited to the Shrine Game includes current NFL defensive linemen Israel Idonije of the Detroit Lions and Akiem Hicks of the New Orleans Saints, who starred for the Manitoba Bisons and Regina Rams, respectively; former NFLers Mike Schad (Queen’s), Randy Chevrier (McGill), Dan Federkeil (Calgary) and Samuel Giguère (Sherbrooke); as well as Hec Crighton Trophy winners Don Blair (Calgary), Kojo Aidoo (McMaster), Jesse Lumsden (McMaster) and Andy Fantuz (Western).

Highlighting the list of NFL greats who have participated in the event are Tom Brady, Brett Favre, John Elway, Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Kellen Winslow and Larry Csonka. A total of 71 Shrine Game alumni have gone on to become NFL Hall of Famers.

Duvernay-Tardif, a native of St. Hilaire, Que., will be the fourth McGill star to suit up in the Shrine Game, joining defensive lineman Randy Chevrier (2001) and offensive linemen Matthieu Quiviger (1995) and Val St. Germain (1994). The three previous honourees all went on to play in the CFL, with Chevrier also enjoying a stint in the NFL with Dallas and Cincinnati after being drafted by Jacksonville.

In his fourth university campaign, Duvernay-Tardif received the J.P. Metras Trophy as the top down lineman in CIS football and was also the RSEQ conference nominee for the Russ Jackson Award (football, academics & citizenship). Named a first-team all-Canadian for the second straight season, the 22-year-old medical student was listed as the top-rated prospect for the 2014 CFL draft by the league’s Scouting Bureau, back in September. In October, he was selected as a Top Eight Academic All-Canadian out of over 11,000 CIS student athletes.

This fall, the 6-foot-5, 305-pound senior helped the Redmen finish first in the RSEQ in completion percentage (61.0) and second in both total yards (487.2 per game) and passing yards (326.9). He was also a major factor in the ground game as teammate Luis Guimont-Mota took the Quebec rushing crown and placed sixth in the country with 828 yards in eight contests, becoming the first McGill back to lead the RSEQ in rushing since Nick Hoffmann in 2002. 

Over the past few months, the Redmen co-captain has also generated interest from five NFL teams, including the New York Jets, Houston, Tennessee, Green Bay and Chicago.

“Laurent has a tremendous work ethic and a quiet confidence that makes him a natural leader,” said McGill head coach Clint Uttley. “Size and strength is a big factor in success on the o-line but when you find someone that possesses the combination of brains, brawn and nastiness that Laurent has on the field, then you’ve got a real keeper and he has all those tools. He’s the kind of guy other players hate. He’s mean out there. He looks to break their spirit and touch their soul. I believe that he will have a good pro career, whether it be in the CFL or NFL.”

Gill, who hails from Winnipeg, is the third Manitoba player to be selected for the Shrine Game, after Idonije (2003) and defensive lineman Jason Rauhaus (1992).

In his third season with the Bisons, his second at the tackle position after starting his university career as a defensive end in 2011, Gill was named a Canada West all-star for the first time after he racked up three quarterback sacks and 7.5 tackles – second best in the conference – to finish the campaign with 28.5 tackles in eight league games. The 21-year-old arts student also broke two passes, forced a fumble and blocked a kick on special teams as he helped Manitoba reach the Canada West Hardy Cup final for the first time since 2007.

The 6-foot-3, 280-pound junior, who has not missed a conference or playoff contest since he joined the Bisons, represented the U of M last spring at the CIS East-West Bowl prospect game. He also competed at the 2012 International Bowl in Texas, helping the World Team to a 35-29 upset with over the USA.

“I am proud and excited for Evan to receive this recognition,” said Manitoba head coach Brian Dobie. “He has been an important part of our Bison success over the last few seasons and he will have a fantastic opportunity to showcase his tremendous skill and talent at the East-West Shrine Game.”

In St. Petersburg, Duvernay-Tardif and Gill will suit up for the East and West, respectively, and will get a chance to play for a pair of high-profile coaches.

The East team will be led for the second straight year by Jerry Glanville, whose coaching career in the NCAA and NFL spanned over five decades. The 72-year-old got his start at Western Kentucky in 1967 and landed his first job in the professional ranks with the Detroit Lions in 1974. He would remain in the NFL until 1993, including head coaching stints with Houston (1986-1989) and Atlanta (1990-1993). After 12 years away from the sidelines, Glanville returned to the NCAA for two seasons as defensive coordinator at Hawaii (2005-2006) and three campaigns as head coach with Portland State (2007-2009). 

In charge of the West troops, Romeo Crennel is also back for a second tour of duty, having guided the East squad back in 2010. Crennel spent 31 years as an NFL coach and won five Super Bowls as an assistant. The 66-year-old claimed his first two NFL championships in 1986 and 1990 as an assistant with Bill Parcells’ New York Giants and helped the New England Patriots to Super Bowl victories in 2001, 2003 and 2004 as defensive coordinator under Bill Belichik. The NFL’s assistant coach of the year in 2003, Crennel had a four-season stint as head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2005 to 2008 and was also at the helm of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 (interim) and 2012.

For all the information on the 2014 East-West Shrine Game:

Western CIS players in the East-West Shrine Game

Year - Player - Pos. - Ht. - Wt. - University - Head Coach

2014 Evan Gill DL 6-3 280 Manitoba Brian Dobie
2013 Kirby Fabien OL 6-6 295 Calgary Blake Nill
2012 Ben Heenan OL 6-4 310 Saskatchewan Brian Towriss
2012 Akiem Hicks DL 6-5 300 Regina Frank McCrystal
2011 Anthony Parker SB 6-2 215 Calgary Blake Nill
2010 Jordan Sisco SB 6-1 212 Regina Frank McCrystal
2009 Simeon Rottier OL 6-6 286 Alberta Jerry Friesen
2008 Dylan Barker S 6-4 200 Saskatchewan Brian Towriss
2008 Brendon LaBatte OL 6-4 320 Regina Frank McCrystal
2007 Jordan Rempel OL 6-6 310 Saskatchewan Brian Towriss 
2006 Daniel Federkeil  DL 6-7  285 Calgary Tony Fasano
2005 Nick Johansson DL 6-2 275 UBC Lou DesLauriers
2004 Ibrahim Khan OL 6-4 305 Simon Fraser Chris Beaton
2003 Israel Idonije DL 6-7 285 Manitoba Brian Dobie
2002 Jason Clermont IR 6-1 236 Regina Frank McCrystal
2001 Carlo Panaro  OL 6-2 281 Alberta Tom Wilkinson
2000  Kevin Lefsrud  OL 6-4 285 Saskatchewan Brian Towriss
1999 Scott Flory  OL 6-4 290 Saskatchewan Brian Towriss
1998 Bob Beveridge OL 6-6 308 UBC Casey Smith
1997  Ben Fairbrother  OL 6-4 305 Calgary Tony Fasano
1996 Don Blair WR 6-4 280 Calgary Peter Connellan
1995 Rohn Meyer OL 6-4 280 Calgary Peter Connellan
1994 Travis Serke OL 6-3 290 Saskatchewan Brian Towriss
1993 Chris Konrad DL 6-3 235 Calgary Peter Connellan
1992 Jason Rauhaus DL 6-1 240 Manitoba Scott Spurgeon
1991 Mike Pavelec OL 6-6 280 Calgary Peter Connellan
1990 Mark Singer LB 6-0 221 Alberta Jim Donlevy
1989 Brent Korte DL 6-1 225 Alberta Jim Donlevy
1988 Craig Watson OL 6-2 250 Calgary Peter Connellan
1987 Leo Groenewegen OL 6-4 260 UBC Frank Smith
1986 Kent Warnock DL 6-7 265 Calgary Peter Connellan
1985 Tom Spoletini OL 6-2 270 Calgary   Peter Connellan

Eastern CIS players in the East-West Shrine Game

Year - Player - Pos. - Ht. - Wt. - University - Head Coach

2014 Laurent Duvernay-Tardif OL 6-5 305 McGill Clint Uttley
2013 Matt Sewell OL 6-8 335 McMaster Stefan Ptaszek
2012 Arnaud Gascon-Nadon DL 6-3 250 Laval Glen Constantin
2011 Matthew O’Donnell OL 6-10 340 Queen’s Pat Sheahan
2010 Matt Morencie OL 6-3 290 Windsor Mike Morencie
2009 Étienne Légaré DL 6-4 265 Laval Glen Constantin
2008 Éric Maranda LB 6-2 228 Laval Glen Constantin 
2008 Samuel Giguère WR 6-0 215 Sherbrooke André Bolduc
2007 Chris Best OL 6-4 320 Waterloo Marshall Bingeman 
2006 Andy Fantuz WR 6-4 220 Western Larry Haylor
2005 Jesse Lumsden RB 6-2 226 McMaster Marcello Campanaro
2004 Carl Gourgues OL 6-1 290 Laval Glen Constantin
2003 Adam MacDonald LB 5-11 215 StFX Dennis McPhee
2002 Kojo Aidoo RB 5-11 235 McMaster Greg Marshall
2001 Randy Chevrier DL 6-4 295 McGill Charlie Baillie
2000 Kojo Millington DL 6-3 245 Wilfrid Laurier Rick Zmich
1999 Cameron Legault DL 6-3 245 Carleton Donn Smith
1998 Dave Miller-Johnston P/K 6-1 180 Concordia Pat Sheahan
1997 Mark Farraway DL 6-5 260 StFX John Stevens
1996 Harry Van Hofwegen DL 6-4 252 Carleton Donn Smith
1995 Matthieu Quiviger OL 6-5 282 McGill Charlie Baillie
1994 Val St. Germain OL 6-4 290 McGill Charlie Baillie
1993 Mike O’Shea LB 6-3 225 Guelph Dan McNally
1992 Chris Morris OL 6-6 285 Toronto Bob Laycoe
1991 Paul Vajda OL 6-2 265 Concordia Pat Sheahan
1990 Chris Gioskos OL 6-3 275 Ottawa Jim Daley
1989 Leroy Blugh LB 6-2 230 Bishop’s Ian Breck
1988 Pierre Vercheval OL 6-2 272 Western Larry Haylor
1987 Louie Godry OL 6-1 240 Guelph Dan McNally
1986 Mike Schad   OL    6-5      294    Queen’s Doug Hargreaves

Breakdown of CIS players in the East-West Shrine Game (including 2014)

By position 
Offensive line 31
Defensive line 16
Receivers 6
Linebackers 5
Running backs 2
Safeties 1
Kickers 1

By university 
Calgary 11
Saskatchewan 6
Alberta 4
Laval 4
McGill 4
Regina 4
Manitoba 3
McMaster 3
Carleton 2
Concordia 2
Guelph 2
Queen’s 2
StFX 2
Western 2
Bishop’s 1
Ottawa 1
Sherbrooke 1
Simon Fraser 1
Toronto 1
Waterloo 1
Wilfrid Laurier 1
Windsor 1

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