Reporting Matt Leon
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By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After a career at Temple University that saw him serve as a four-year starter along the Owls’ offensive line, Derek Dennis is heading to Florida to show off his skills in the 87th East-West Shrine Game, on Saturday in St. Petersburg.
The 6’5″, 328-pound Dennis was one of the players that helped transform the Temple program from an also-ran to one that has enjoyed three straight winning seasons and is coming off a New Mexico Bowl victory over Wyoming.
Dennis is very happy to have a part in that legacy.
“I have great pride in it,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “I’m proud to say I graduated from Temple University, I got a chance to play with some great players there, played for some great coaches, and had a chance to really put Temple football back on the map. And it’s just a great honor and a great feeling. It gives me more excitement to go into this game and be able to wear that Temple ‘T’ on my helmet one last time.”
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Derek Dennis is this CBS Philly SportsPod…
These all-star games are a great showcase for players hoping to catch the eye of NFL scouts, and Dennis thinks he brings a lot to the table.
“I think my best traits (are) that I’m big and I’m very athletic. I’m a big guy, I can move on my feet, I can block in space. I think what I want to showcase more in this game is the nastiness. Most people look at offensive lineman, they want to see somebody who is nasty. But I feel like if I could add some nastiness along with the athleticism to my game, it will give me a nice ‘one up’ on other guys.”
Dennis also knows he still has areas where he can improve.
“I think I need to improve my footwork, my hands. I’m actually right now in Cleveland, working out with LeCharles Bentley, who is a former All-Pro center/guard in the National Football League and he’s helping me a lot with getting my hands together, and playing with a base, and playing low on my pads, and being able to do a lot of things that I need to work on on my game and fix.”
Dennis will be joined in the Shrine Game by his Temple teammate Evan Rodriguez. They will be the seventh and eighth Temple players to take part in this annual event.
The 87th East-West Shrine Game will kick off on Saturday at 4:00pm.