COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina is down to one college football all-star game.
The Medal of Honor Bowl in Charleston said Thursday it had hired the founder of the College All-Star Bowl game in Greenville, David Wyatt, for its organization. Wyatt says his move means there's no need to organize the Upstate game in 2015.
"I am proud of the impact South Carolina has made in the game of football and look forward to helping the Medal of Honor Bowl become the nation's best college all-star bowl," Wyatt said.
Both games featured NFL draft eligible seniors looking for an extra job audition or two to impress pro evaluators.
The College All-Star Game began in 2013. The inaugural contest was held at North Greenville University in March while last year's event was played at Furman and moved up a month to before the NFL scouting combine to better fit into the hectic schedules of pro scouts.
The Medal of Honor Bowl began this past January. Organizers said scouts from all 32 NFL teams and most CFL clubs watched player practices this year.
Former NFL head coach Sam Wyche was bowl commissioner of the College All-Star Game and agrees that one unified effort could help the Charleston bowl become more of a can't-miss opportunity for prospects.
"I think this Charleston game could become the East Coast version of the Senior Bowl" played each season in Mobile, Alabama, Wyche said by phone.
Wyche enjoyed his role with the game and says he'll do whatever is asked should the Medal of Honor bowl request his help.
Along with Wyche, the College All-Star Bowl featured head coaches with historic ties to South Carolina in ex-Clemson icon Danny Ford and former South Carolina State great Willie Jeffries. The game was originally open just to players who competed at South Carolina schools, or who played high school football in the state but went elsewhere for college. This past year, organizers opened the selection process up to all eligible seniors.
Wyche was uncertain if Ford or Jeffries would have a role in the Charleston game going forward.
At the Medal of Honor Bowl, the teams were led by ex-Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen and former Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey.
Wyatt says he'll be involved in developing a leadership conference and coordinating a business mentor program that participating players can use during their week in Charleston.
Bowl chairman Tommy McQueeney said his group was fortunate to hire Wyatt. "He brings a wealth of experience to the group and he will be a true asset as we prepare for the 2015 game and beyond," McQueeney said. "Our goal to become the best is enhanced by David's addition."
The Medal of Honor Bowl is in the second year of a five-year agreement with Citadel. It will take place January 10th at Citadel's Johnson Hagood Stadium. Last year's game drew about 7,000 fans, about what organizers had hoped for in the week leading up to the contest.
Wyche believes Charleston has the support of the community and the backing of pro scouts — who love spending time in South Carolina's coastal city — to make a long run as part of college football's postseason.
"I think this is going to be great," he said.