4 Broncos Play Today in East-West Shrine Game

A record four Boise State players will hit the field soon in the 86th annual East-West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida. The four helped to make the 2010 Boise State defense the best in school history.

Four members of the second best defense in the nation will represent Boise State in today's East-West Shrine Game. Defensive end Ryan Winterswyk, nickleback Winston Venable (who will play linebacker today), cornerback Brandyn Thompson and safety Jeron Johnson compose the largest group ever sent to the annual game. At least one Boise State player has been invited to the game in 11 of the last 12 years and 16 Broncos played in the game prior to this year.

The East-West Shrine Game is the longest-running college all-star football game in the country, benefiting the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Boise State football team's 2010 senior class will represent the Broncos in the 2011 East-West Shrine Game, as Brandyn Thompson, Ryan Winterswyk, Winston Venable and Jeron Johnson have all accepted invitations to participate in the all-star game.

Johnson (5-11, 195) started as a freshman and quickly gained a reputation as a fierce hitter and solid tackler. JJ started 44 games for the Broncos and is a big reason that Boise State lost a total of two games the last three years. Jeron led the Broncos in tackles in each of those years. He was named to the second team in the WAC in 2008 and 2009 before finally earning All-WAC as a senior. Johnson finished his brilliant career 12th all-time in career tackles with 318.

Thompson (5-10, 180) started 40 games for the Broncos at corner over the last three seasons, finishing his career with 146 tackles and 13 interceptions. Thompson keyed Boise State's 2010 Fiesta Bowl win over TCU with a dazzling pick six early in the game.

Venable (5-11, 218) was a brilliant surprise as a transfer from Glendale Community College in 2009 and essentially made the nickleback position his own. The nickleback at Boise State is a hybrid position, part linebacker and part safety. Venable too made a big impact in the Fiesta Bowl win over TCU with an interception and several key tackles. His strong play at the nickle position allowed Doug Martin to move to tailback, so Winston basically made two positions better. In his two years as a starter, Venable had 116 tackles, 17.5 of those for loss. Venable was a second-team All-WAC performer as a junior and All-WAC his senior season.

Winterswyk (6-4, 270), proved to be one of Boise State's most improved players from the time he first joined the team as a walk-on in 2006. Winterswyk worked his way into the starting lineup and was a three-time All-Western Athletic Conference performer with 168 tackles and 43 starts. 'Swyk was a menacing force in the opposition backfield with 44.5 career tackles for loss. Ryan ranks fourth all-time at Boise State in that category, and he is fifth in career sacks with 21.5.

The 86th annual East-West Shrine Game is set to kickoff at 2 p.m. (MST) in Orlando, Florida. NFL Network will carry the game live.

Former Broncos in the East-West Shrine Game:

1974--Jim McMillan, quarterback

1980--David Hughes (fullback) and Cedric Minter (tailback)

1985--Markus Koch, defensive end

1999--Dave Stachelski, tight end

2000--Dempsy Dees (defensive back) and Bart Hendricks (quarterback)

2001--Matt Hill, offensive tackle

2002--Quintin Mikell, safety

2003--Ryan Dinwiddie, quarterback

2004--Gabe Franklin, cornerback

2005--Daryn Colledge, offensive tackle

2006--Brad Lau (fullback) and Jerard Rabb (wide receiver)

2007--Dan Gore (guard)

2008--Ian Johnson (tailback)

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