Shamier Jeffery won’t call it pressure, but it’s obvious that he is ready to step outside the large shadow being cast by his brother.
The Calhoun County quarterback-turned-receiver is committed to USC, where he’ll team up with his brother Alshon in the receiving corps for at least one season. Considering what his brother has achieved – and considering that some have said he’s the best pure athlete in the family – Shamier understands that it will be a difficult task to establish his own reputation.
“Everybody knows that I’m Alshon Jeffery’s little brother,” he said. “I’m just trying to make my own name.”
That will be easier said than done. That’s the double-edged sword for Jeffery. On one hand he gets the chance to play with his brother once again. On the other he’ll always be compared to his older brother and considering that Alshon is on pace to become perhaps the best receiver USC has produced, those expectations are going to be greatly inflated.
The Offense-Defense All-American Bowl is Jeffery’s second all-star game this month, but he didn’t get a chance to prove his worth in the Shrine Bowl. He caught just one pass and was rarely targeted despite a solid week of practice leading up to the game.
“I want to get a touchdown this time,” Jeffery said with a smile.
Two players being targeted by South Carolina are getting another week in their prep careers to continue their transitions to the position they’ll likely play in college.
Williston-Elko’s Dexter Staley and Scott’s Branch’s Jerell Adams are both playing for the East in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
Staley played mostly offense for Williston-Elko, but he projects as an outside linebacker in college. After making the move to defense in Shrine Bowl practices, he stood out in the game with eight tackles, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
“I’ve felt like I could play linebacker, but after the Shrine Bowl I know I can play it better,” Staley said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how good I play this Friday.”
In the Shrine Bowl, Staley was an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. It was obvious early in the week he had trouble understanding his responsibilities, especially in coverage.
This week he’s playing in a 4-3 scheme that will allow him to play a little more traditional role. Staley believes he fits better in a 4-3, which could mean bad things for the West offense this week.
Adams was a quarterback at Scott’s Branch and could eventually develop into a defensive end depending on which school he chooses. However, he played tight end at the Shrine Bowl and will do it again this week.
Though he also struggled during practices, he had five passes for 62 yards and three touchdowns in South Carolina’s blowout win. He looked like a natural at the position despite his inexperience.
But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to become an impact college tight end. There is work left to do. He says he’ll focus on his blocking first and foremost this week.
“I just want to play hard and do whatever to help my team out,” Adams said. “I’m feeling pretty good [at tight end]. I’m getting used to it.”
Nothing has changed in the recruitment of Staley and Adams. Staley, who may not qualify academically, lists USC, Florida and East Carolina as his leaders. Adams lists USC, Clemson and Arkansas as his favorites.
South Carolina commitment Mike Matulis was set to play his first game in the Palmetto State in Friday’s Offense-Defense All-American Bowl. However, that will have to wait.
The Park Vista (Fla.) offensive tackle suffered an ankle injury in the Florida North-South All-Star game three days before Christmas and had to withdrawal from the All-American Bowl. He was one of four players committed to USC that were planning to participate.
If Matulis had been able to play, USC fans could have gotten a glimpse of two-thirds of their potential starting offensive line in a few years. Pepperell (Ga.) lineman Kyle Harris, who projects as a college guard, is participating in the game. Matulis, who stands 6-foot-6, 285 pounds, will likely play tackle.
The game would have also given SEC fans an early look at Georgia quarterback Christian Lemay, who is among the nation’s highest-rated quarterbacks. Nobody has seen him play a game since he won the state championship as a junior in 2009.
An offseason incident led to Butler (N.C.) officials suspending him. He would have missed the majority of the 2010 season, so he decided to finish his coursework in another setting and work out with a quarterback coach instead of transferring to play for another school.
Lemay was scheduled to play in the game. However, he practiced with Georgia before Christmas, making him ineligible to play in any all-star events. All-American Bowl officials were told that Georgia’s coaches didn’t know Lemay was planning to play in the all-star event.