Michigan seniors offensive lineman Juwann Bushell-Beatty and safety Tyree Kinnel have accepted invitations to compete in the East-West Shrine Game that takes place in January.
Similar to the Senior Bowl, the Shrine Game is an opportunity for seniors across the country to get firsthand coaching and experience from players who have competed in the NFL. It’s also an opportunity for the fringe late-round draft picks to improve their draft stock, earn an invite to the NFL Combine or both. This season, the Shrine Game will be captained by a selection of ‘NFL Legends’ that include Mark Brunell, Willie McGinest, Will Shields and Aeneas Williams.
Juwann Bushell-Beatty has appeared in 33 games throughout his U-M career and saw significant growth under first-year offensive line coach Ed Warinner. That growth saw him become an All-Big Ten honorable mention from the coaches and media this season. Warinner, who spoke to the media at length about Bushell-Beatty, managed to get the best out of his senior lineman by challenging his consistency.
It appeared to have worked.
“Juwann, the thing we’ve challenged him with is to be consistent,” Warinner said. “I think he has. I think he’s become more consistent. He’s out there every day, he’s in much better physical condition than what I thought for sure in the spring. I think he’s grown a lot. More confident, talks more and more confident. Still has some things we want him to get better at so we’re still pushing him along. He can still be a better player than he is but he’s made a lot of progress.”
Not to mention, Bushell-Beatty understood the importance of having a strong senior season as he will not have any other opportunities to don the winged helmet once the season wraps up.
“It’s always been my mentality that I want to go out there and do great things,” Bushell-Beatty said. “More opportunities were given to me this past season and before, and I took advantage of them. Especially with this being my last season of college ball, I wanted to be able to prove and show everybody.”
Kinnel, a defensive captain for the Wolverines this season, appeared in 45 games and started 25 at free safety for U-M throughout his career.
Despite the disappointing end to the 2018 season, Kinnel is focused on his final game as a Wolverine in the Peach Bowl against Florida. And, as a captain, he is making sure his teammates have the same amount of focus as well.
“I look at it as I’ve got one more game left as a Michigan Wolverine,” Kinnel said. “As a leader, as a captain, I just want to get the team together and we’ve got to finish on top. I’m pretty sure we’ll be in a pretty good bowl game, and we can’t just down our heads these next three or four weeks.
“We’ve got to keep it together. There’s a lot of young guys on the team that’s going to need these three weeks. It would be great to go into the offseason with a big win. We haven’t done that in a couple years, either. Going to take this last game and try my best.”
The Shrine Game takes place on January 19 in St. Petersburg, Florida and will be aired live on the NFL Network.