University of Saskatchewan Huskies third-year safety Dylan Barker had a standout year for the team in 2007-08 and is now being rewarded.
Just two weeks after being honoured as a First Team All-Canadian, the Moose Jaw, Sask., native has been selected as one of four Canadians to play in the East West Shrine Bowl, a North American football all-star game, on Jan. 19 hosted by the University of Houston.
“I was told I had a chance to be in it and it’s always been a goal after watching it last year,? Barker said after hearing the news. “I’m going to get to play some of the best players. It’s a humbling experience and will be challenging.?
The Shrine Bowl began in 1925 and features the best players and coaches in the College ranks in North America. The game has raised more than $14 million for the 22 Shiner Hospitals.
Four Huskies have played in the game prior to 2008 — Jordan Rempel in 2007, Travis Serke in 1994, Scott Flory in 1999 and Kevin Lefsrud in 2000.
Barker, who is expected to be drafted in the CFL Draft in the summer, was the Huskies best defensive player with 53 tackles, three interceptions and four breakups this season.
The six-foot-four, 205-pound, Arts & Science student was named a CIS First Team All-Canadian, as well as a Canada West All-Star in the last two seasons. He was also named a First Team All-Academic in both years. In 2006-07 he was the Russ Jackson Outstanding Student-Athlete nominee.
Barker played in the CIS East West bowl in 2006-07. He was also selected to the Canada Cup All-Canadian Team in 2004.
“This is another thing to help build and get me experience,? said Barker. “I can learn new techniques and improve as a safety.?
Barker joins fellow Canadians Samuel Giguere, a wide receiver from Shrebrooke; Eric Maranda, defensiveback from Laval; and offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte from Regina at the game.
“It will be helpful to have them there, especially another defensive player I know and have played against,? said Barker. “I will have more encouragement.?