Three Cats to Play in East-West Shrine Game

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State will send three of its seniors from the 2009 football season to play in this year's East-West Shrine Game as Brandon Banks, Jeffrey Fitzgerald and Jeron Mastrud will represent the West squad in the annual postseason contest.

The game, which is set for January 23, will be played at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., and will feature some of the top collegiate seniors from across the country. The 85th East-West Shrine Game will kick off at 2 p.m. and be televised live on ESPN2.

The trio of Wildcats participating marks the first time since 2006 that at least one K-State player will be featured in the contest, while the three in this year's game are the most since 2000 when Kansas State had four players play in the game.

One of the top kick returners in Big 12 and NCAA history, Banks set a Big 12 record and tied the NCAA record with two kick-return touchdowns in one game this season while also tallying a nation-leading and Big 12-record four on the year. His five career kick return scores are two shy of the NCAA record and a new Big 12 record.

The Garner, N.C., native also leads the Big 12 and is eighth nationally with 174.8 all-purpose yards per game, ranks third in school history with 3,828 career all-purpose yards and his current career average of 159.5 all-purpose yardage per game ranks second in school history and fifth in Big 12 history. A First Team All-Big 12 selection, Banks also led the team in receptions (56) and receiving yards (705) this past season while he also ranks seventh in K-State history with 123 career receptions and ninth in career receiving yards with 1,754.

A senior from Beaverton, Ore., Mastrud caught 21 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown during his senior campaign en route to First Team All-Big 12 honors. A team captain, Mastrud appeared in 48 of a possible 49 games during his Wildcat career, while he started a team-best 26 straight games to conclude his tenure in Manhattan.

Mastrud caught 106 passes for 1,219 yards and three touchdowns during his four-year career. His 106 receptions are tied for the 10th-most in school history, but tops among tight ends, while his 1,219 receiving yards rank second among tight ends in school history. He also caught at least one pass in 26 straight games, the second-longest streak since 1990.

An honorable mention All-Big 12 selection this season, Fitzgerald collected 40 total tackles from his defensive end position, 10.0 of which went for losses. The Richmond, Va., native also led the team in sacks with 7.0, forced three fumbles while recovering two and also returned one interception for a touchdown.

The East-West Shrine Game is the longest-running college all-star football game in the country and features some of the highest-rated players in the projected NFL draft ranking. In April 2009, 90-percent of players from last year's East-West Shrine Game were either drafted or signed as free agents by NFL clubs. |

While the teams are divided by East and West, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, Shriners Hospitals for Children, an international pediatric specialty health care system.

For more information about the East-West Shrine Game, visit