The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 16, 2014

Brown, Dreiling set to play in East-West Shrine Game

— Representing NCAA Division II’s Pittsburg State, wide receiver John Brown and linebacker Nate Dreiling are doing their best to get noticed.

Brown and Dreiling will play in the East-West Shrine Game at 3 p.m. Saturday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The 89th annual all-star game, which will be televised on NFL Network, will include many of the nation’s top Division I seniors.

The Pittsburg State duo has spent the past week practicing with their West squad in Florida. Their team is coached by former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel. Former Atlanta Falcons head coach Jerry Glanville is coaching the East.

“You walk around and see a lot Notre Dame helmets and a lot of USC helmets,” Dreiling said. “When you walk around and see that, a Pitt State helmet isn’t going to get much respect. But as the week progresses, you earn more respect.”

Brown and Dreiling certainly earned respect at the Division II level.

Brown (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) caught 61 passes for 1,198 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. He also averaged 32.4 yards per kick return. He finished his three-year career for the Gorillas with 185 receptions for 3,380 yards and 32 touchdowns — all school records.

Dreiling (6-4, 226) led Pittsburg State with 109 tackles as a senior. He finished his four-year career for the Gorillas with 491 tackles, which is a school and MIAA record.

Now, the two Pittsburg State seniors are grabbing the attention of NFL scouts.

“John Brown has displayed excellent quickness in his breaks with strong cuts and focus to finish catches,” wrote NFLDraft-Scout.com senior analyst Dane Brugler on Tuesday.

“Nate Dreiling plays tall, but has a flexible lower body and showed obvious instincts during drills. Both Brown and Dreiling have helped their chances of getting drafted through two practices.”

Brown said he has been invited to NFL Scouting Combine, which will be Feb. 22-25 in Indianapolis.

“It’s a great feeling to be a part of this, but it’s all business,” Brown said. “I really like competing and showing scouts what I can do.”

Dreiling said he is trying to make the most out of his opportunity this week.

“Every NFL team has scouts here on the sidelines watching everything you do,” Dreiling said. “It’s important for us to show we can compete with players of this level.

“Hopefully, we can keep turning heads.”

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