Carson stands out for future Gamecocks

South Carolina running back commitment Shon Carson scores a touchdown for the Sandlappers in Saturday's Shrine Bowl.
South Carolina running back commitment Shon Carson scores a touchdown for the Sandlappers in Saturday's Shrine Bowl. GoGamecocks

SPARTANBURG | One player bound for South Carolina and another who may ultimately join him in Columbia were the stars of the Sandlappers’ 42-10 win over North Carolina in Saturday’s Shrine Bowl.

USC commitment Shon Carson, a tailback from Lake City, was named South Carolina’s offensive MVP after rushing 16 times for 82 yards and a 12-yard touchdown. It was a mild upset to see Carson take home the honor over USC target Jerell Adams, a tight end from Scott’s Branch who caught five passes for 62 yards and three scores.

“Shon is an excellent runner,” South Carolina coach Mickey Moss said. “He’s probably as good of a running back as there is in the state.

“Jerell Adams I’m so proud of him. He’s a Class A kid. A lot of times in these games right here people come in with the impression that if he’s not a 3A or 4A kid, he’s not good enough to play. Well, Jerell Adams can play with anybody.”

It wasn’t a surprise to see Carson thrive in an offensive scheme similar to the one he will play in with the Gamecocks. Though it’s a departure from what his teams at Class AA Lake City ran, he grew more comfortable with zone blocking as the week progressed.

However, it was a surprise to see Adams explode after a hot-and-cold week. His athleticism and potential is undeniable, but he struggled, especially early in the week, to make the transition to tight end. He’s still extremely raw but perhaps his athleticism will help him overcome that learning curve.

“I feel like I can [make an early college contribution] as long as I work hard in practice and the weight room,” said Adams, who said after the game that USC is his current leader. “I feel like I can be one of the top dogs.

“I haven’t played tight end in two years and for me coming out to practice I kind of struggled. But [Alex Glover], our other tight end, he worked me.”

Adams put the Sandlappers ahead for good with a three-yard, second-quarter touchdown reception on a jump pass from Dexter Staley out of the Wildcat formation. He added a five yarder from De’Edward Burris in the third quarter and made an impressive catch, while taking a big hit, on a 19-yard score from Everett Golson in the fourth quarter. He had another touchdown reception, a 42-yarder from Justin Worley, called back by a penalty.

Here is how South Carolina’s other commitments and targets fared in Saturday’s game:

- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Pointe | The USC target was, as expected, mostly unblockable. Despite his reputation, the Tar Heels often used just one player to block him and they paid for it. He finished with three sacks and created several more for his teammates. Clowney had five total tackles and two tackles for loss.

- Gerald Dixon, DE, South Pointe | The USC target played with South Carolina’s second-string defense at end, recording four tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss. Both of his sacks came after Clowney flushed the quarterback out of the pocket.

- Gerald Dixon, DL, Northwestern | The USC target saw time at both defensive end and tackle in the Sandlappers’ 3-4 scheme. He finished with one tackle and one quarterback hurry.

- Phillip Dukes, DT, Manning | The USC target was hampered by an ankle injury suffered earlier in the week, but the athletic tackle, who was playing end in South Carolina’s 3-4, finished with four tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss.

- Shamier Jeffery, WR, Calhoun County | The USC commitment started the game at receiver but had just one catch for four yards. South Carolina’s quarterbacks rarely looked his way, choosing instead to target Adams and Charone Peake with more regularity.

- Ronnie Martin, DB, Spartanburg | The USC commitment played the majority of the game at corner and was on all special teams. He was credited with one tackle, returned one punt for two yards and returned one kickoff for 27 yards.

- Brandon Shell, OL, Goose Creek | The USC commitment played the entire game at right tackle. Shell was able to limit penetration off that side of the line of scrimmage, though it was obvious that he was still adjusting to a two-point, pass-blocking stance.

- Dexter Staley, OLB, Williston-Elko | The USC target rarely left the field on defense and special teams and also saw significant action as a Wildcat quarterback. He led South Carolina with eight tackles, added three tackles for loss and forced a fumble. He rushed three times for three yards and a touchdown and completed his only pass for a three-yard score.

- Lateek Townsend, LB, Marlboro County | The USC target had several impressive defensive plays, including a forced fumble on a first-half punt return, but perhaps his biggest contributions were on offense. He rushed eight times for 71 yards as a Wildcat quarterback and had two tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss on defense.

Highlights: Future Gamecocks, USC targets

Jadeveon Clowney postgame comments

1st 2nd 3rd 4th - FINAL
Tarheels 10 0 0 0 10
Sandlappers 0 7 21 14 42

First Quarter

NC: Austin 43 FG, 9:08

NC: Ellerbe 44 interception return (Austin kick), 8:18

Second Quarter

SC: Adams 3 pass from Staley (Quick kick), :51.

Third Quarter

SC: Backus 33 interception return (Quick kick), 14:27

SC: Carson 12 run (Quick kick), 8:47

SC: Adams 5 pass from Burris (Quick kick), 3:31

Fourth Quarter

SC: Adams 19 pass from Golson (Quick kick), 11:28

SC: Staley 2 run (Quick kick), 6:06

Stats NC SC
First Downs 6 23
Rushes-Yards 27-7 44-171
Passing 7-17-2 20-32-1
Passing Yards 68 210
Punts-Avg. 7-33.1 3-20.7
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-0
Sacks-Yds 1-10 6-46

Individual Statistics

Rushing: NC, Pickett 6-28, Williams 1-5, Montgomery 1-0, Brooks 1-0, Riley 5-(-1), Conception 4-(-6), Lee 9-(-19). SC, Carson 18-62, Townsend 8-71, Henderson 3-28, Burris 4-16, Pendergrass 2-11, Hames 1-9, Golson 5-5, Stlaey 3-3, Team 2-(-54).

Passing: NC, Williams 3-9-1-42, Lee 4-8-1-26. SC, Golson 9-15-0-79, Worley 8-14-1-109, Burris 2-2-0-19, Staley 1-1-0-3.

Receiving: NC, Pickett 2-28, Conception 2-23, Thorpe Jr. 1-8, Riley 1-6, Montgomery 1-3. SC, Frazier 6-107, Adams 5-62, Carson 4-1, Sumpter 2-13, Jenkins 1-20, Jeffery 1-4, Peake 1-3.