Lexington, Westwood and Newberry each had two players picked and 10 players from the Midlands were chosen for the 79th annual Shrine Bowl on Monday.
Lexington receiver Jayson Hopper and cornerback Nick Graves were selected, as were Westwood offensive linemen Chris McCarthy and Torrey Boone. Newberry quarterback Yafari Werts and offensive lineman Demarcus Gillmore also will play in the all-star game Dec. 19 at Wofford College.
“It is great and those two kids have been starters since day one when I got here,” third-year Lexington coach Josh Stepp said. “They are great football players and better people. They represent what Lexington football is all about.”
It was first time since 2011 (Kevin Miller, Shaq Roland) that Lexington had two players picked for the Shrine Bowl.
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Graves is committed to The Citadel and had four interceptions last season. Hopper had 38 catches for 383 yards heading into last week. The Lexington receiver has offers from Appalachian State and Charleston Southern among others and is getting attention from Clemson.
McCarthy and Boone are the first two players in Westwood history to make the Shrine Bowl and have been a part of the Redhawks’ powerful offensive line.
“It is a pleasant surprise to have two guys selected,” Westwood coach Rodney Summers said. “It is a testament to all the hard work they put in.”
Werts, a Georgia Southern commit, helped lead the Bulldogs to the Class 2A Division I title game last year. He has nearly 1,000 yards of total offense and 12 touchdowns this season. The quarterback was picked as an athlete for the game and will get a chance to play his last game with Gillmore, who was picked as an offensive lineman.
“It’s really a feeling you can’t describe,” Werts said. “I texted Demarcus when I saw his name because I don’t think he had seen it yet and we were both excited. It will be the last time playing together so it will be bittersweet.”
The other Midlands Shrine Bowl selections were Lower Richland’s Larry Collins, Richland Northeast linebacker T.J. Brunson, Camden’s Tyrone Kelly and River Bluff’s Brandon Tillmon.
Tillmon, a quarterback, was the first player in school history picked for the game and was chosen as an athlete.
Collins is ranked as one of the top 10 college prospects in the state, according to 247Sports and has narrowed his college choices to Tennessee and Wake Forest. He was leading the Midlands in receiving yards headed into last week. Collins has 36 catches for 647 yards and nine touchdowns.
Brunson also is one the top college prospects in the state and committed to Louisville over the summer. He leads the Cavaliers in tackles and is fourth in the Midlands with 67.
Kelly has been a standout on the Camden defensive line and is getting looks from several Division I schools. He has 29 tackles for the Bulldogs.
Mid-Carolina coach Louie Alexander will be an assistant for the S.C. squad.
S.C. Shrine Bowl roster
Drew Wilson, OLB (Bamberg Ehrhardt)
Evan Vaughn, TE (Belton-Honea Path)
Chavis Dawkins, WR (Byrnes)
Jaylen Foster, DB (Byrnes)
Tyrone Kelly, DL (Camden)
Bryan Edwards, WR (Conway)
Cade Stewart, OL (Daniel)
Adonis Sealy, OL (Dillon)
Collin Hill, QB (Dorman)
K.K. Chamberlin, DB (Emerald)
John Simpson, OL (Fort Dorchester)
Javon Kinlaw, DE (Goose Creek)
Troy Pride, DB (Greer)
Dorian Lindsey, WR (Greer)
Samuel Denmark, WR (Hanahan)
Tre’ Smalls, LB (Hanahan)
Datavious Wilson, LB (Hartsville)
Tori Delisline, LB (Hillcrest)
Jeremiah Maddox, LB (Hilton Head)
Jabari Ellis, DL (Lake Marion)
Thomas Jones, DB (Laurens)
Jayson Hopper, WR (Lexington)
Nick Graves, DB (Lexington)
Larry Collins, WR (Lower Richland)
Jordan Fair, ATH (McBee)
Rashad Byrd, LB (North Augusta)
Miles Corpening, DB (Northwestern)
Trae’von Hinton, DL (Northwestern)
Yafari Werts, ATH (Newberry)
Demarcus Gillmore, OL (Newberry)
Matthew Gravely, P/K (Pickens)
T.J. Brunson, LB (Richland Northeast)
Brandon Tillmon, ATH (River Bluff)
Amyrical Diggs, DL (Seneca)
Chris Smith, DB (South Pointe)
Jeremiah Ferguson, LB (Southside)
Tavian Feaster, RB (Spartanburg)
Austin Scott, QB (Spartanburg)
Chandler Farrell, OL (Summerville)
Kevin Brown, RB (Wando)
Matthew Martin, WR (Westside)
Chris McCarthy OL (Westwood)
Torrey Boone, OL (Westwood)
Nyles Pickney, DL (Whale Branch)