Former Cal football players safety Chris Conte and linebacker Mike Mohamed have accepted invitations to play in the 86th East-West Shrine Game, game officials announced Wednesday. The 2011 version of the contest is scheduled to be played at The Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Jan. 22 (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT). NFL Network will televise the event live.
"The East-West Shrine Game has always fielded players among college football's best," said East-West Shrine Game Executive Director Harold Richardson. "With all 32 NFL teams represented by GMs, coaches and scouts during game week, our players have the terrific opportunity to showcase their talents and get their first glimpse of life in the NFL … 'Just Like on Sunday.'"
Mohamed earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2010 (also first team all-conference by Phil Steele) after leading Cal in tackles for the second straight year despite missing the only collegiate game of his career and having his playing time limited due to injuries in two other contests. Mohamed finished the season with 95 tackles and an average of 8.6 stops per game that currently ranks him second in the conference with the same per-game average that he totaled in 2009 when he led the Pac-10 and recorded 112 total tackles.
Mohamed came on strong at the end of the 2010 campaign, totaling 42 tackles over the Golden Bears' final three games, including a career-high 16 vs. top-ranked Oregon that earned him Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors for the fourth time in his career. He also had an interception that he returned 41 yards for his second career touchdown vs. Colorado, 5.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and a team-high-tying two quarterback hurries. He reached double digits in tackles five times in 2010 (16 vs. Oregon; 14 vs. Washington; 14 vs. Colorado; 12 vs. Stanford, 10 at USC) to give him 11 double-digit tackle games in his career. He finished his Cal playing days fourth on the school's all-time tackles list with 340, while adding 20.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, seven interceptions (with two returned for a touchdown), nine pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles.
"I'm looking forward to playing amongst some of the best players in the country in the East-West Shrine Game," said Mohamed, also a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award Winner in 2010 and one of 16 national finalists for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy often referred to as the "Academic Heisman".
Conte had the biggest season of his collegiate career as a senior in 2010, making 12 of his 17 career starts and ranking third on the team with 72 tackles and currently No. 23 in the Pac-10 with an average of 6.0 stops per game. He also added 2.0 tackles for loss, an interception, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and the team's only blocked kick of the season on an Arizona State punt attempt, which he returned six yards for his first career touchdown.
Conte played in 50 of 51 possible games and started 17 contests at Cal but spent most of his first three seasons as a reserve shuttling between cornerback and safety. He finished his Cal career with 157 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 11 pass breakups, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and the blocked kick for a touchdown.
Both players who finished their collegiate eligibility at Cal in 2010 join an elite list of football greats, such as John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and 62 NFL Hall of Famers, who have played in the East-West Shrine Game, America's longest-running college all-star football game.
"We hope our supporters all over the country will come out and enjoy this exciting game," said Douglas E. Maxwell, president and CEO of Shriners Hospitals for Children. "Our health care system depends on the generosity of our supporters, and this game is one of our signature events benefitting Shriners Hospitals for Children®."
The event is hosted by Shriners Hospitals for Children®, a health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs for medical professionals. Children up to age 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patients' ability to pay. For more information, please visit shrinershospital.org.