MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – The U.P. Football All-Star Game has finalized the schedule and players for this year’s event.
2023 marks the 16th year of the U.P. summer football classic. For the past several years, the coaches have conducted a “fantasy draft” of the invited players, instead of a geographical split of North vs South or East vs West, and that will continue this year. Coaches can pick whichever players they want on their respective teams, regardless of what schools the players or coaches are from. For the first nine years of the All-Star Game, it was East vs West or North vs South. The draft was such a big hit with everyone involved, and it created two very competitive games, that the draft appears to be here to stay. Players will either be selected to the Red Team or the Black Team. Selections will be posted live for those who wish to follow the action (https://www.facebook.com/UPAllStarFootball).
The “draft” has been generating the usual buzz as coaches call each other across the U.P. to get information on the players. Not only will players be competing against traditional rivals, but they might also be competing against players on their own school’s team. There is little doubt that the past several years have been the most competitive and evenly matched in the history of the event. The coaches have done a great job picking their teams and will certainly be prepared this year as well.
The game will be played in Marquette at the Superior Dome, on Saturday, June 24, 2023. Game time is set for 1 PM, with the doors opening at noon. Many activities are planned throughout the week for the players and coaches.
Monday, June 19, the players and coaches check in to the NMU dorms, and there will be a food drive for the Beacon House food pantry at the check-in location.
Tuesday evening, June 20, will be the team and individual pictures, as well as media day. Players and coaches will be available for interviews from any media that are present.
Wednesday afternoon, June 21, will be the Players Skills Challenge. The players will compete for the titles of Fastest Man, Strongest Man, Receiver, Quarterback Challenge, Kicking, and Punting Challenges.
Thursday evening, June 22, the players and coaches will be putting on a football camp at the Dome for all area youth players. The camp is free, and coaches are asking for a $5 donation, which will go towards funding the two-player scholarships given out each year.
Friday evening, June 23, is the All-Star Banquet, with the guest speaker to be announced at a later date. The banquet provides family and friends a chance to connect with the All-Star players after a long week of practice and activities. It is formal attire for the players, and they stand up in front of everyone and introduce their roommate for the week and tell everyone some things about each other. Players also get recognized for their accomplishments during the Skills Challenge and they receive their All-Star Rings.
The U.P. Football All-Star Game will also be donating proceeds to the following U.P. charities: Beacon House, The U.P. Sports Hall of Fame, as well as Brimley and North Dickinson Schools. A lottery drawing was performed to select the two schools, and donations will be made directly to the football program of those schools chosen. Each year, new schools will be chosen until all U.P. schools have received a monetary benefit from the game. Several other schools (Manistique, Westwood, and Sault Ste Marie) will also receive donations in the form of All-Star Game equipment, which includes practice jerseys and footballs.
The complete list of coaches and players is listed below.