► SHRINE GAME -- Da’Ron Brown, who finished his Northern Illinois University football career in 2014 as one of the Huskies’ all-time best wide receivers, has accepted an invitation to play in the 90th East-West Shrine Game. The game kicks off at 3 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, Jan. 17 from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The East-West Shrine Game will be televised on the NFL Network. Brown is one of three Mid-American Conference players in the game. He and Toledo offensive lineman Greg Mancz will play for the West Team. Central Michigan defensive lineman Leterrius Walton will be on the East Team.
► GAME GOES NATIONAL -- The Mid-American Conference in conjunction with ESPN has announced that the men's basketball game between Buffalo and Kent State has been selected to air nationally on ESPNU. The announcement will move the game to Friday night, Jan. 30 with a 10:00 pm tip off listed.
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According to multiple pre-draft rankings, Sifrin is expected to be picked anywhere between the fifth and seventh rounds.
A 27-year old native of Miami, Fla., Sifrin's route to college football was unlike many others. After taking several years off from school to provide for his family, he enrolled as ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y., before moving on to El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. When Whipple was named head coach last January, Sifrin became one of his top incoming players prior to signing day.
With the Minutemen, Sifrin made an immediate impact on the offensive side of the ball.
Following the regular-season, Sifrin was honored with several awards. He was a Sports Illustrated All-America Honorable Mention, a Phil Steele All-MAC First Team selection, an ECAC All-Star, and an All Mid-American Conference First Team pick. During the season, Sifrin was also added to the Mackey Award Watch List and was one of eight semifinalists.
If Sifrin is picked in the NFL Draft, he would be the third Minuteman in the past three drafts to be selected. Tight end Rob Blanchflower was picked last May in the seventh round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, while running back Michael Cox was selected in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
► AKRON COACHING STAFF- Eric Hickson, a former professional player with collegiate coaching experience, has been named an offensive assistant football coach at the University of Akron, head coach Terry Bowden announced on Thursday.
Additionally, cornerbacks coach Otis Mounds was given added duties as the defensive passing game coordinator.
Hickson joins the Zips after serving as the interim head coach, running backs coach, and outgoing recruiting coordinator at Garden City Community College in Kansas during the 2014 season.
► BUFFALO COACHING STAFF – Buffalo Bulls head football coach Lance Leipold has announced that Rob Ianello has joined his coaching staff full time after serving as a voluntary advisor since early December. Ianello will serve as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator and will coach the Bulls' wide receivers.
Ianello has over 25 years of coaching and recruiting experience at some of the most notable programs in the nation – serving as an assistant coach at Alabama, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Arizona and Kansas.
From 2005-09, Ianello served as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame. He directed three consecutive top-10 recruiting classes from 2006-08, something only three other schools (USC, Florida and Georgia) could claim. Ianello was the only coach named one of the top 25-best recruiters nationally from 2005-09 by Rivals.com. In the book "Second Season" by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, Ianello is named one of the top-10 recruiters of the last 30 years
The Port Chester, NY native spent the last two years as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Kansas.
Also, John Scott, Jr. has been hired as defensive line coach. Scott most recently served as defensive line coach at Texas Tech.
Scott coached the defensive line at Texas Tech in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, he coached Kerry Hyder to second-team All-Big 12 honors and an invite to the NFL Combine. Hyder went on to play for the New York Jets.
Prior to his time at Texas Tech, Scott spent three seasons as defensive line coach and special teams coordinator at Georgia Southern.
In 2009, Scott coached the outside linebackers at Missouri State. He worked alongside current UB secondary coach D.J. Vokolek. Scott also spent three seasons on the staff at Western Carolina where he coached defensive ends and outside linebackers for two seasons and the defensive line for one.
► NIU COACHING STAFF – Ross Watson, whose coaching experience includes stints on the defensive staffs at Nebraska and Florida Atlantic, has joined the Northern Illinois University football staff as an assistant coach working with the Huskie defense, NIU Head Coach Rod Carey has announced.
Watson comes to NIU from Youngstown State University, where he had been elevated to assistant coach by new head coach Bo Pelini after spending the 2014 campaign with the Penguins as the director of football operations.
In 2012 and 2013, Watson coached defensive backs at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Prior to going to FAU, Watson spent four seasons on Pelini’s staff at Nebraska, including three seasons as a graduate assistant.