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When Goose Creek four-star offensive lineman Brandon Shell began receiving the recruiting attention that would eventually see him garner scholarship offers from nearly every program in the Southeast, his mother was quick to give him a reminder.
"I said, 'Hey there, you still have to wash dishes and clean your room. Nothing changes here. You're still Brandon, my child'," Cherron Shell laughed.
Ask anybody who knows the 6-foot-7, 290-pound Shell and they will tell you that dealing with all of the hoopla that comes with being a highly-regarded, heavily-recruited national prospect, and their answer is always the same as his mother's.
"I'm very, very proud of him," she said. "He's a well-mannered, humble child. He's very quiet and always respectable."
Before Goose Creek's first-round home playoff game against Conway on Friday, Brandon Shell was officially named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in front of the student body and fans in attendance at the contest. No podium, no speech, just the way the soft-spoken standout would like it.
After the Gators defeated Conway 28-14 to advance to the second round of the 4A State Playoffs, veteran Goose Creek head coach Chuck Reedy talked about Shell's All-American honor.
"We're very excited about the honor," he said. "He's certainly well-deserving of it. He's a tremendous young man. We're proud for him and happy for him. I look forward to him getting out there and having an opportunity to compete against the best players in the country."
The US Army All-American Bowl will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on January 8, 2011. It will be nationally televised on NBC at 1:00 p.m. EST. Only 90 high school prospects in the country are named to the prestigious game, which features alumni such as Adrian Peterson, Vince Young, Michael Oher, and many others.
Shell recently moved up a notch in Rivals.com's prospect rankings, to the eighth-best offensive tackle in the country. Reedy says that may not even be high enough.
"He may very well be the best offensive lineman in the country. He's just a tremendously talented young man. Even more than that, he's just a wonderful person."
After receiving scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Miami, and many others, Shell committed less than a month ago to the home-state University of South Carolina. At the conclusion of what Cherron Shell called "an overwhelming" process, she talked about why he ultimately picked the Gamecocks.
"We see that they are changing to go in the right direction," she said. "They have a lot of highly recruited kids that are from South Carolina that stayed here. I asked him what most made him want to do that (commit to South Carolina) and he said 'Well, Marcus Lattimore is going to possibly be going to the NFL and they're going to wonder who the guys are blocking for him, so I want to be in that picture.'"
Shell's mother also added that she was thrilled she would be able to travel less than two hours up the road to see her son play in college.
Reedy said that Carolina is getting the total package in Shell.
"He's got everything you're looking for. He's got great height; he's 290, 300 pounds and still looks lean. He's got greet feet, uses his hands well, and he's very coachable."
Before his most recent stop at Goose Creek, Chuck Reedy also spent a great deal of time in the college ranks, as a head coach at Baylor in Texas and also as an assistant at both Clemson and South Carolina. During that time, he has seen a plethora of talent on the recruiting trail, and says his pupil stacks up against any of them.
"I go back about 1978 as far as recruiting in the state of South Carolina," he said. "He is the best offensive lineman prospect to come out of South Carolina since then. Buddy King who's our offensive line coach, he coached at Clemson in the early 70's (also coached at South Carolina, LSU, and Arkansas) and he says the same thing. He said there's not been a guy out of South Carolina or North Carolina in the last thirty years that's as good a prospect as he is."