FOOTBALL: College - Winston-Salem State v Shepherd

Donnie Owens (right) lead the Winston-Salem State defense in 2013 with 10 sacks, and was third in tackles with 51.

Defensive lineman Donnie Owens, who just completed his final season at Winston-Salem State, will get a chance to showcase his skills at the NFL Players Association All-Star Game near Los Angeles later this month.

Owens, a three-year starter for the Rams after transferring from Coastal Carolina, helped the Rams become one of the top defenses in NCAA Division II over the last three seasons.

“I’m excited about this opportunity,” Owens said.

Owens led the Rams in sacks this past season with 10 and was third in tackles with 51; he also had a fumble recovery and forced a fumble.

Owens, 22, said that the all-star game will feature a lot of Division I players and a few Division II players. They will practice for a week in front of scouts and then play the all-star game. The game is scheduled for Jan. 18 at the StubHub Center near Los Angeles and it will be shown live on ESPN2.

Owens said that, as a player from a Division II school, he knows he will have to stand out to attract the attention of NFL scouts.

“I’ve done my best to stay in shape to get ready for this,” said Owens (6-3, 295 pounds), who is from Fayetteville. “I was really surprised when I got the invitation.”

Owens said that his quickness and his nose for the football are his two biggest assets.

“I’m going to listen to all the coaches and do whatever I need, because it’s important that I show them what I can do,” Owens said. “I’m going to soak up everything about the week and just learn as much as I can. I’m definitely taking this very serious because I want to play at the next level.”

Owens, who signed with an agent last week, hopes to get a shot at the NFL but knows the odds are against him.

“It’s not easy to even get into an NFL camp,” Owens said. “This is my shot to get noticed so I have to go all out.”

jdell@wsjournal.com (336) 727-4081

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