Nathan Overbay Selected to Play in East-West Shrine Game

Eastern senior tight end will play in game on Jan. 23 in Orlando on ESPN2 at Noon Pacific time

Eastern Washington University senior tight end Nathan Overbay has been selected to play in the 85th-Annual East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23, 2010, at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. The game will be televised on ESPN2 starting at noon Pacific time.

Overbay, a 2005 graduate of W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Wash., is only the second Eastern player to ever play in the East-West Game. Michael Roos, now with the Tennessee Titans in the National Football League, played in 2005 following his senior season in 2004.

A huge target at 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, Overbay caught 51 passes for 588 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior to earn first team All-Big Sky Conference honors. He is the nephew of Toronto Blue Jays major league baseball player Lyle Overbay.

In Orlando, the quarterbacks on Overbay's West squad are BYU's Max Hall and Oklahoma State's Zak Robinson. Washington State's Kenny Alfred, whose brother Matt Alfred was an All-America offensive lineman at EWU in 2007, is also on the West roster.

The East-West Shrine Game is the oldest college all-star game in the country and features the finest athletes in the U.S. and Canada. In 2008, 95 of 105 players on the East-West Shrine Game roster were either drafted or signed by National Football League clubs with 44 selected in that year's draft. A total of 307 East-West Shrine Game alumni were on 2008 NFL opening-day 53-man rosters, practice squads and injured-reserve lists.


Overbay Establishes New Standards for Eastern Tight Ends . . .

Eastern Washington University senior tight end Nathan Overbay (Chehalis, Wash. - W. F. West HS '05) finished with 13 touchdown receptions in 2009 to equal the second-most in school history and easily the most by a tight end in school history. His single season and career catch and yardage totals also rank favorably with the top tight ends all-time at Eastern.

 With 51 catches -- the most ever for an EWU tight end -- for 588 yards in 2009, he averaged a TD every 3.9 catches. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound senior scored all three touchdowns as EWU took a 21-0 lead over Southern Utah on Nov. 14 en route to a 41-28 victory. In his 43-game career, he caught 93 passes for 1,189 yards and a school record for a tight end with 19 touchdown receptions (eighth overall).

Eastern's best-ever marks for a tight end are owned by Scott Garske, who caught 106 career passes for 1,477 yards from 1971-73, and he had the previous career record for touchdown receptions for a tight end with 13. Garske also owned the previous single season receptions record for a tight end with 42 catches in 1972, and the touchdown record with five. His 595 yards in 1972 remains a record. Garske caught three touchdown passes in a 48-45 victory over Eastern Oregon in 1973.

Since Eastern became a member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in 1983, the top single season performances by a tight end were by Eric Riley with 39 catches for 543 yards and five touchdowns in 1985. Tim Calhoun also had five touchdowns in 2002. Riley (1983-84-85-86) finished with career totals of 81 catches for 1,102 yards and 12 touchdowns. His catches and yardage totals were topped by Tony Lenseigne (1988-89-90-91) when he had 104 catches for 1,399 yards and eight touchdowns in his career. Jesse Hardt (1992-93-94-95) came close to those totals with 103 catches, 1,327 yards and 10 scores.

Overbay, who is the nephew of Toronto Blue Jays major league baseball player Lyle Overbay, is considered to be one of Eastern's top pro prospects this year. Garske was drafted in the seventh round (179th pick overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974, but a slow-healing and painful hairline fracture in his heel essentially ended his playing career. Riley and Lenseigne also signed with NFL teams and had short pro careers, as did Dan Curley (1998-1999-2000-2002), who finished his injury-plagued EWU career with 58 catches for 721 yards and seven scores.

Garske was a NAIA All-America selection in both 1973 (first team) and 1972 (second team). At the FCS level, the school's only All-Americans have been Hardt (second team in 1995 and honorable mention in 1994) and Curley (honorable mention in 2002).

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