THE 77TH SHRINE Bowl on Saturday will give us a look at some of the top players in the Carolinas. The week of pregame practice has provided some great story lines.
Two highly-rated quarterback prospects will lead the South Carolina team two weeks after facing off in the Class 4A Div. II state championship.
Northwestern quarterback and Oklahoma State commitment Mason Rudolph has looked solid in practice this week. He has the arm strength to get the ball downfield on timing routes and, for a guy who quickly gets rid of the ball, he moves well in the pocket.
Stratford quarterback and Georgia commitment Jacob Park has looked good this week as well. He has great footwork and is excellent in running the zone read. He can also run.
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Many wonder who will be the primary quarterback, but I don’t think that is a problem. Both will cause problems for the Tarheels’ defense.
The most explosive player in practice has been Saluda’s Dexter Manley. This mammoth defensive tackle has been excellent in the one-on-one drills and is impressive in scrimmage against the run and in the passing game, frequently in the backfield harassing the passer. He’s playing with a lot more aggression than the other defensive linemen.
The skills position on offense seems to be in overload at wide receiver. Woodruff’s Blake Bone, a Kentucky commitment, left practice early Wednesday morning with a “slightly tweeked ankle,” but has been a primary target. Byrnes wide receiver Shaedon Meadors has been impressive is making many wonder why he’s not getting more FBS interest.
Gaffney wide receiver Shaq Davidson has looked good, but most impressive has been Tyshun “Debo” Samuel of Chapman. Samuel has showcased his athleticism and body control and has created a lot of separation from the secondary. His ability to get open is giving the quarterbacks an easy target. I can see him being an impact player in the game.
Spring Valley’s Josh Harlan and Brookland-Cayce’s Zeke Walker are having good workouts. Harlan has moved from inside linebacker to outside for the Sandlappers, while Walker is playing safety and doing well in run support.