BATON ROUGE -- The life of a college football player trying to make it to the next level can be hectic this time of year. There are a handful of all star games to participate in, the NFL Combine to get ready for, preparing for the business side of the sport, a wedding. A wedding?
That's been the life of recent LSU graduate Andrew Whitworth, who today is practicing for the East-West Shrine game in San Antonio, just five days into his life as a married man.
On Saturday night, Whitworth married his college sweetheart, the former Clacey Carter, in Zachary. Less than 24 hours later, the Whitworth's were on a plane, not on the way to their honeymoon, but instead to a football game.
Whitworth, considered one of the top offensive tackle prospects for this year's NFL Draft, along with his wife Clacey reported to San Antonio on Sunday afternoon where the West Monroe, La., native is taking part in a week-long list of activities heading up to Saturday's East-West Shrine Game. The game will be televised by ESPN2 at 3 p.m. on Saturday from the Alamodome.
"It's been busy, but it's been a lot of fun," Andrew said. "Clacey is very understanding and realizes how important this week is for our future. We've had a good time here in San Antonio. I've been able to meet with some NFL teams, practice and get ready for Saturday's game."
Whitworth is one of four former LSU Tigers participating in college all-star games in the coming weeks. Next week, running back Joseph Addai, wide receiver/return specialist Skyler Green and defensive tackle Kyle Williams will be in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl. Whitworth is an alternate for next week's Senior Bowl.
The East-West Shrine Game caps a banner season for Whitworth, one that saw him lead the Tigers to an 11-2 overall mark, a No. 5 national ranking and a 40-3 win over Miami in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Whitworth, who graduated less than a month ago with a general studies degree from LSU, also earned First-Team All-Southeastern Conference honors and Second-Team All-America recognition for the Tigers in 2005.
Whitworth, who set an LSU record for consecutive starts during a career with 52, will wear No. 72 for the East Squad on Saturday. Whitworth said he has used this week as an opportunity to better himself in terms of where he will be selected in the NFL Draft come April. He's projected as a first day pick in the draft, which would place him in the top three rounds.
"It's exciting to be here," Whitworth said. "This is a tremendous opportunity to come to San Antonio and participate in this all star game because there are a lot of very good football players here this week and it's a chance to become a better player.
"There are a number of NFL scouts and personnel here so I'm going to take advantage of this situation. I plan on having a good week of practice and then giving a good effort on Saturday."
After Saturday, Whitworth will then turn his attention to a strict strength and conditioning program that will help prepare the 6-foot-7, 331-pound tackle for the NFL Combine, which will be held in Indianapolis in February.
As far as the honeymoon is concerned, Whitworth says there will be time for that after the combine.
"Once the combine is done, then we'll take a week and go to Miami for our honeymoon," Whitworth said.
Until then, it will be all football for the Whitworth newlyweds as they continue to prepare for life, and the NFL, as a married couple.