Darius Rush knows players coming from Class A schools can get overlooked for high-profile all-star games like the Shrine Bowl.
But the C.E. Murray receiver hopes to buck that trend this year and earn one of the 44 spots for the game, which pits the top seniors from South Carolina against their counterparts from North Carolina.
Unlike the North-South All-Star Game, there doesn’t have to be a player picked from every classification, so players from small schools might miss the cut. No player from a Class A school has made the game since current Gamecock lineman Donell Stanley did in 2013, when his alma mater Latta was in Class A.
If Rush is selected, he would be the second player from C.E. Murray to be picked for the game. The school with an enrollment of 270 sent linebacker Adrian Burgess to the 1998 game.
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“It would be great to make the Shrine Bowl,” Rush said. “And to see not only kids from 5A schools make it, but to see Low Country kids come out here and compete against bigger schools with much better facilities and equipment than lower Class A schools have.”
Rush was already on the radar of the Shrine Bowl coaches before Saturday’s final combine, which attracted more than 300 players to River Bluff High School. He was the first South Carolina commit for Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp in the Class of 2018 and has put up big numbers for the War Eagles.
Still, Spring Valley High coach Robin Bacon, the receivers coach for the South Carolina squad, was eager to see him perform. He liked what he saw from Rush at a Nike camp in the season.
At Saturday’s combine, Rush had a broad jump of 9-foot-8 ½ and ran a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash.
On the field, Rush had 1,243 all-purpose yards and 18 total touchdowns for the War Eagles. He rushed for 622 yards with 12 touchdowns, had 14 catches for 228 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he had 36 tackles with two interceptions.
Since committing to USC in February, Rush has shut down his recruiting and plans to enroll in January 2018. He also won his third consecutive triple jump championship in the Class A state track and field championship last month.
Rush has gained about 15 pounds and said he hopes to get bigger headed into the season.
“I’m looking forward to my senior season and want to help my team win a state championship,” Rush said.
Rosters for the game will likely be announced sometime in late September or early October. The game will be played on Dec. 16 at Wofford College.