Tiger Heading West For Football All-Star Game

Auburn, Ala.--Jay Ratliff will be crossing the country for his first trip to San Francisco to play in the annual East-West Shrine Bowl All-Star Game scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 15th.

The six-foot-five, 287-pounder started all 13 games at defensive tackle for the unbeaten Auburn Tigers and was one of his team's keys to success, Coach Tommy Tuberville says.

Ratliff has played a football game in California as his Tigers traveled to Los Angeles his sophomore season when he started eight times at defensive end after originally coming to Auburn as a tight end. Injury problems limited his playing time as a junior when he made just one start.

He made the move inside to tackle in spring training prior to the 2004 season.

"I have never been to San Francisco so I am looking forward to the trip," says Ratliff, the only Tiger who will be playing in the game. "I am not sure if I will know anybody else out there, but I guess that I will."

Ratliff, who has signed with agent Bill Anderson out Tennessee, hopes to use the all-star game as a boost to his stock as an NFL prospect. Last year, two of Auburn's starting front four, Reggie Torbor and Spencer Johnson, made NFL rosters and have put together strong rookie seasons.

"I am definitely interested in playing pro football," says Ratliff, who played his high school football in Valdosta, Ga. "Even when I was very young and living in Florida, the Falcons were always my favorite pro team."

Ratliff says he isn't sure if he will play tackle or end at the all-star game. "Either one is fine with me," he says. "I am just looking forward to the opportunity to play in the game."

Jay Ratliff's Tigers ended the season with a 15-game winning streak.

The Shrine Bowl will kick off at 1 p.m. CST on Saturday, Jan. 15th from SBC Park in San Francisco. It will be televised nationally by ESPN. Ratliff will play for the East squad coached by Joe Tiller of Purdue.

Senior defensive Bret Eddins will be playing in the Hula Bowl All-Star Game on the island of Maui on Jan. 22nd and that same day senior offensive guard Danny Lindsey will be playing in the Las Vegas All-American Classic.

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