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James Madison's redshirt-senior offensive guard Earl Watford has been invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Florida on Jan. 19. Watford is the first player from JMU to receive an invite to this all-star game and first to play in an all-star game since 2006, as the Colonial Athletic Association will send three players to the game.
A redshirt-senior offensive guard, Watford was the top-rated offensive lineman for the Dukes, starting all 11 games while also serving as a team captain. Watford earned four top team All-America honors from The Walter Camp Foundation, American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press and The Sports Network. Also a First Team All-CAA selection for the second consecutive season, he allowed just one sack on the season.
The East-West Shrine Game benefits the Shriners' Hospitals for Children and is the longest-running all-star college football game since 1925. This prestigious game is a showcase for many of the top collegiate football players, many who will be in the next NFL class. Before the game, players and coaches visit the Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa and participate in games, crafts and activities with the children. The coaches for the game are former NFL coaches who are selected because of their experiences and accomplishments in their careers. Coaching for the East is Jerry Glanville, former Atlanta Falcons Head Coach in the early 90's. Coaching for the West is Leeman Bennett, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1985-86 seasons.
For the sixth time this season, James Madison senior diver Kimberly Helfrich garnered the Colonial Athletic Association Diver of the Week award Tuesday.
Helfrich turned in a strong performance at the highly-competitive Tennessee Diving Invitational in Knoxville, Tenn., last weekend. She was Madison's top finisher in each event, claiming seventh in the one-meter event and 16th on the three-meter board. The senior scored a 256.45 in the preliminaries of the one-meter event to reach the finals where she totaled a 274.60 to finish seventh.
In the three-meter event, Helfrich scored a 263.05 to edge out sophomore teammate Alex Savage for 16th.
Helfrich has competed in six meets this season, winning the CAA Diver of the Week honor each time. Towson's Amanda Skoupa claimed CAA Swimmer of the Week honors.
JMU returns to dual meet action this weekend as it travels to Washington, D.C., for a double-dual meet against American and Georgetown Saturday.