THE SHRINE BOWL roster was announced last week and I’ve had some questions about it.
The game is Dec. 21 at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg.
Quarterback was a no-brainer, with Stratford’s Jacob Park and Northwestern’s Mason Rudolph.
At running back, Daniel’s Jae’lon Oglesby and Goose Creek’s Caleb Kinlaw were obvious picks. Dillon’s J oe Blue fills out that position.
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Wide receiver is loaded with four top players, including Woodruff’s Blake Bone, Gaffney’s Shaq Davidson, Byrnes’ Shaedon Meadors, and Chapman’s Debo Samuel.
The offensive line has Mr. Football candidate Donnell Stanley of Latta, Byrnes’ Ben Clark, Dorman’s Zack Cooper, Orangeburg-Wilkinson’s Messsiah Rice, North Augusta’s Jake Whitley, and Woodmont’s Malik Young.
At tight end, Goose Creek’s Kalen Ritchie and Bamberg-Ehrhardt’s Kevin Crosby were the top two picks.
On the defensive front, Zeke Rodney of South Pointe and Dexter Wideman of Saluda are the top two in the state. Joining them are Hemingway’s Daquan Casey, Bluffton’s Keith Ford, Carvers Bay’s Naquez Pringle, and Hartsville’s Dequan Reddick.
Linebacker was difficult because there is not a lot depth. Easy picks were Spring Valley’s Christian Miller and Belton-Honea Path’s Kendall Joseph. Joining them will be Dillon’s Damu Ford and D.W. Daniel’s Solomon Brown.
The secondary is loaded. Hillcrest’s Issac Lewis leads the way. Edisto’s Tyrell Maxwell also plays quarterback. Greenwood’s Octavious Morgan can double to give depth at running back. Hartsville’s Shy Phillips and Northwestern’s Corey Sargent are tough.
Brookland-Cayce’s Zeke Walker is a big-time hitter at safety, and Marlboro County’s Raheem Ward can also be lethal in the slot on offense.
Manning linebacker Cam Darley and Socastee quarterback Hunter Renfrow were selected as athletes, and West Florence’s Alex Spence was an easy selection as the team’s kick/punt specialist.
Now, for the snubs, the glaring omissions.
Gaffney running back Hylek Foster is a big-time miss for this roster. Foster is lethal as a running back or receiver, and has proven himself on the big stage against big teams.
Spring Valley running back John Miller is another player who could help the team.
Marlboro County nose guard Daryus Gillespie could have helped this team on the defensive front.
The challenge for this team is going to be in the trenches on both sides of the football, as the North Carolina squad is strong on the lines.