4. East–west Shrine Bowl Best Players of All time

John Rizzo

For nearly a century, the East–West Shrine Bowl has been an annual college football game that showcases some of the best young talent in America. The event is sponsored by Shriners International, with all proceeds going to benefit children through their hospitals.

With its slogan “Strong Legs Run That Weak Legs May Walk” and its commitment to helping those in need, this bowl game continues to be one of the most beloved fixtures on many fans’ calendars every year.

Table of Contents

1. Tavion Thomas

Utah Utes football


  • College: , Cincinnati (2018–2019), Independence Community College (2020), Utah (2021–2022)
  • High school: Dunbar, (Dayton, Ohio)
  • First-team All-Pac-12 (2021)

Tavion Thomas is a junior running back for the Utah Utes. He was ranked as the No. 9 running back in the nation by ESPN in 2018. Thomas has racked up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns during his career at Utah.

In 2016 he helped lead his team to a Pac-12 Championship victory with 1,831 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground and through the air (eight receiving). 

Tavion Thomas was born and raised in Southern California before moving to Utah to attend high school there in 2017; where he led his team to state championships both years he played (2015 & 2016).

Tavion Thomas was a two-time first team All-Pac-12 selection and averaged 19.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3 assists per game as a senior in 2021. He is the all-time leading scorer at Dunbar High School with 1,572 points while also ranking second in blocks (222) and third in steals (191).

Also Played For: utah utes football

2. Ty Chandler


  • High school: Montgomery Bell Academy, (Nashville, TN)
  • College: , Tennessee (2017–2020), North Carolina (2021)
  • NFL Draft: 2022 / Round: 5 / Pick: 169
  • Minnesota Vikings (2022–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • Second-team All-ACC (2021)
  • Rushing yards: 20, Rushing average: 3.3, Rushing touchdowns: 0
  • Rushing yards: 20
  • Rushing average: 3.3
  • Rushing touchdowns: 0

Chandler was a four-star running back prospect out of Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. He started all 13 games for the Volunteers during his freshman season and finished with 1,787 yards on 347 carries (5.4 avg.) with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Chandler declared for the NFL Draft following his sophomore year and was selected 169th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2022 draft. In his rookie season in 2022.

He led the team with 815 rushing yards on 134 attempts (5 ypc) while also catching 28 passes for 298 yards and one touchdown.

Chandler became an unrestricted free agent after playing two seasons with Minnesota before signing a three-year contract extension with Carolina on July 2nd, 2024 Ty Chandler was a standout running back for the Minnesota Vikings in their first two seasons. 

He led the team in rushing yards and touchdowns as a rookie, then continued to be an important player on offense during his second season.

The 22-year-old has speed and agility that make him difficult to take down, but he also has good power and strength when he hits the ground. 

Chandler is built like a running back who can impact games both through his rushing attempts and receptions out of the backfield. He should continue to develop as a playmaker for the Vikings over the next few years.

Also Played For: north carolina tar heels football

3. Reed Blankenship

Reed Blankenship Career

  • High school: West Limestone, (Athens, Alabama)
  • College: Middle Tennessee (2017–2021)
  • Undrafted: 2022
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2022–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • First-team All-Conference USA (2021)
  • Total tackles: 34, Pass deflections: 2, Interceptions: 1
  • Total tackles: 34
  • Pass deflections: 2
  • Interceptions: 1

Blankenship was a safety at Middle Tennessee and in his final season with the team, he had 1 interception and 10 pass defenses. Blankenship is projected to be an early round pick in the NFL draft this year and could potentially play for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Blankenship has represented U.S. soccer teams at various levels, most notably playing for the Under-15 national team that won a bronze medal at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. 

In addition to football, Blankenship also enjoys basketball, track and field, baseball, wrestling and lacrosse Reed Blankenship is the Eagles' starting cornerback and one of their most experienced players.

He was a first-team All-Conference USA selection in 2021, recording 34 total tackles and two interceptions that year. 

Reed has played in 41 games over his four-year career with the team, starting all but one of them. He is known for his ability to play cover corner and shut down receivers on Sundays.

4. Charleston Rambo

Miami Hurricanes football


  • High school: Cedar Hill, (Cedar Hill, TX)
  • College: Oklahoma (2017–2020), Miami (FL) (2021)
  • Undrafted: 2022
  • Carolina Panthers (2022)*, Orlando Guardians (2023–present)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Roster status: Active
  • Second-team All-ACC (2021)

Charleston Rambo was a standout receiver at Cedar Hill High School before joining the Oklahoma Sooners as a walk-on in 2017. He started four games for the Sooners in 2017 and 2018, but failed to make an impact on the field.

That changed in 2020 when he caught 39 passes for 589 yards and five touchdowns during his final season with Oklahoma. Charleston signed with Miami (FL) as an undrafted free agent in 2021, and made an immediate impact on the team by catching 55 passes for 786 yards and six touchdowns over 12 games that year.

His breakout season came in 2022 when he recorded 86 receptions for 1,369 yards and 13 touchdowns – earning him first-team All American honors from both ESPN and Sports Illustrated along the way. 

Charleston Rambo is a versatile defensive back who started all 12 games at cornerback for the Panthers in 2021. He was named second-team All-ACC after recording 49 tackles, one interception and five pass breakups.

In 2020, he registered 45 tackles, four interceptions and 10 pass breakups for Charleston Southern University (CSU).

Final Words

The East-West Shrine Bowl is one of the most prestigious college football games in the United States. It has been an annual game since 1922, and it features some of the best players from across America.

Over the years, many greats have taken part in this event, including Heisman Trophy winners Archie Griffin and Tim Brown as well as Walter Payton and Dan Marino. The East-West Shrine Game is always a highlight of college football season, and it is sure to feature some great play by its participants this year too.

Photo of author

John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn

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