Taylor Malphrus thought he might have played his last football game after a knee injury in 2010 and maybe had the same thought after playing his final game for North Greenville University this past fall.
The former Thomas Heyward Academy standout had moved forward, working toward his MBA while coaching the Crusaders' tight ends and recivers as a graduate assistant.
But Malphrus has earned another chance to strap up, landing on the roster for the inagural S.C. College All Star Bowl, played today at North Greenville.
"I wasn't sure if I was getting picked or not," Malphrus said. "I didn't hear anything right off the get go. ... About three weeks ago they called me up and invited me. I decided to accept. I was pretty excited."
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Malphrus will play receiver for the Upstate team led by former Clemson coach Danny Ford. The Lowcountry team will be coached by longtime S.C. State coach Willie Jeffries.
The 50-player Upstate roster is heavy on Football Championship Subdivision and Division II schools, including four of Maplhrus's Crusaders teammates. Newberry landed 11 on the team, and Furman has six in the game, five playing for Upstate.
The teams began practice this past Wednesday.
Malphrus led the Crusaders his senior season with six touchdowns, five rushing and one receiving. He caught 15 passes for 188 yards and ran 17 times for 14 yards. He returned 15 kicks for a 20.5 yards average.
"I kind of continued working out and running and staying in shape here and there, but not like I was during the season," Malphrus said. "I'm glad I did. It helped me out when I started practing for this all-star game."
During the 2010 season, Malphrus suffered a microfracture and torn meniscus in his knee. He returned in time for the 2011 season.
The Crusaders won five of their final six games of 2012 after starting the season 0-5.
Malphrus turned his attention to his masters degree, while starting a coaching career. He'll serve as graduate assistant at least until next March.
INAUGURAL S.C. COLLEGE ALL STAR BOWL
What: All-star game for seniors who played for South Carolina colleges or graduates of South Carolina high schools who playd football out of state. The Upstate team will include players from north of I-20, while the Lowcountry team includes players south of 1-20.
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: North Greenville University
Tickets: General admission is $15. Children 10 and under are free.
TV: WTGS (Fox)