Rutgers Football senior Safety Saquan Hampton tweeted yesterday that he was invited to both the East West Shrine Game and NFL Combine:
Blessed to announce I’ve been invited to participate in the East West Shrine Game & NFL Combine. #RU— Saquan Hampton (@TDC_9) January 7, 2019
The 94th annual East-West Shrine game was just one of two (along with the Senior Bowl) college All-Star games until recently. Full list of all-star games. Hampton joins fellow defensive back Isaiah Wharton as the first Rutgers players to participate in the contest since Keith Lumpkin in 2016. Per ourlads, defensive lineman Kevin Wilkins will also be participating. The 2019 matchup takes place January 19 in St. Petersburg, Florida at Tropicana Field. The National Football League staffs coaches and officials as scouts from all 32 NFL clubs will be on hand for the week of practice leading up to the game.
The 2019 NFL combine begins Tuesday February 26 in Indianapolis. In recent years, the combine has proven to be the best opportunity for draft eligible seniors to raise their stock prior to the NFL Draft in April. Each player effectively goes through a job interview; tested physically, mentally, and in interviews by representatives for every NFL team. The official invite list has not yet been posted on the NFL site.
Hampton arrived at Rutgers from Hamilton, NJ after playing at Nottingham High School. Primarily a cornerback, Saquan was all over the field in high school excelling on offense and as a kick/punt returner as well. He was ranked between 20th and 30th among the best high school players from New Jersey in the 2014 recruiting cycle.
After redshirting as a true freshman, Saquan received the Douglas A. Smith Award, which is given to the most improved defensive player during spring practice before playing in all 12 games including one start in 2015. For the next two seasons he started games when healthy, but was oft-injured. Finally fully healthy in 2018, he put together his best season including a memorable two interception game against Big Ten West power Wisconsin. He finished his career with 177 tackles, 5 interceptions, 24 passes defended, and one fumble recovery.
Through his career on the banks, seemingly every position and defensive coach talked Saquan up as a future pro. As a result of the high ceiling, I was quite critical of Hampton at times in his career but was happy to see him finally put it together in 2018. He was honored with the Homer Hazel Award as the Scarlet Knights’ most valuable player at the season-ending banquet. He was also named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches and media.
Rutgers players out of eligibility including Hampton, Wharton, and Wilkins are also expected to participate in the annual Rutgers Football Pro Day in early March.
Congrats and good luck Saquan!