More than 30 of the nation's top football prospects will be participating in
the annual Shrine Bowl game between North Carolina and South Carolina this Saturday,
Dec. 15th at Rock Hill's District Three Stadium. South Carolina has dominated
this battle recently handing back-to-back losses to North Carolina with a combined
score of 90-17. Things will not get easier for N.C. in 2001. Five players the
likes of WR Mario Raley and
OL Brandon Jeffries will
be missing from Saturday's game due to state playoffs conflicts.
Enough about the history, let's take a look at one of the intriguing match-ups
featured this Saturday.
North Carolina's Offensive Line versus South Carolina's Defensive Line
the most intriguing match-up of the game will be the sheer size of North Carolina's
offensive line versus the speed and strength of the South Carolina defensive
front five features Derek Morris
and Dan Inman (pictured) as the bookends
with Whit Efrid and David
Jorgenson in the middle. Throw in tight ends, Aaron
Kirkland and Brandon Schweitzer
(who will see time at fullback) and you have a line that should give QB Curt
Dukes plenty of time in the pocket.
The tackles Morris and Inman are the obvious showcase here. The No. 2-rated
lineman in the county, Morris (6-6, 350 pounds), showed fantastic feet and better
quickness than his 5.1 forty suggests. His services would be a huge addition
to one of his top three; Ohio State, Georgia or Tennessee. The 6-7, 300 pound
Inman could easily carry more weight, but was equally impressive and looks to
be a huge steal for East Carolina. North Carolina fans will be very happy with
commit Whit Efrid. Though he was towered over by the tackles, Efrid held his
own and got out quickly for kick out blocks on sweeps and screens.
Kirkland may have been the best combination of size and athleticism on the
field. At 6-5, 240 pound, Kirkland showed good hands and an ability to get down
the field with relative ease suggesting that his 4.8 forty may be a bit deceiving.
Currently he has no college favorite, but has interest in Michigan, Florida
State, Tennessee, North Carolina and says that Maryland is not in the picture.
Schweitzer, spent the majority of his time playing fullback and looked like
a natural. Hes still a strong candidate for South Carolina, but mentioned he
will still take visits to Florida, Maryland and North Carolina.
South Carolina's defensive line did not stand out in practice as much as NC's
offensive line, it wasn't because they're not a talented bunch. In fact, they
may be more talented than their northern counterparts, but the skills displayed
at linebacker, quarterback and wide receiver for the Palmetto State took some
of the line's glory away.
The first line of defense for S.C. features big Moe
Thompson, Mickey Rice
and the athletic Anthony Littlejohn
(pictured). Noticeably missing is arguably the top d-lineman in S.C., Marlboro
County's Antwan Morgan; The
Bulldogs, sent two other worthy players, OL Frederick Townsend and DB
Quinton Teal, instead.
Even without Morgan, this line will create several problems for North Carolina.
Though he's listed at 6-4, 255 pounds, Thompson plays more like 6-5, 330 pound
noseguard with the speed of a 6-2 230 linebacker. Thompson, who is also the
No. 34 ranked tight end in the country, will have to be accounted for on every
play or N.C. will have a hard time moving the ball. Beside him, the big and
agile Littlejohn surprised onlookers with his athleticism at 6-1, 290 pounds.
Littlejohn confirmed that despite having offers from Auburn, South Carolina
and Tennesse, he has not set any visits. Rice, a 6-1 320 pound tackle with offers
from South Carolina and Tennessee, is simply immovable on the inside.
Size: North Carolina - Morgan and Inman
will tower over the South Carolina defensive line.
Speed: South Carolina - No doubt that the
Palmetto State has a definite edge in this category
Athleticism: Push - Sheer individual athleticism would go to South Carolina
without a doubt. But when looking at the athleticism displayed for the positions
that they play, it's a push.
Footwork: Push - You don't get much better than the front line for North
Carolina, but to give them an edge in this category would be a miscarriage of
justice to their opponents.
Intangibles: South Carolina - When you
put everything together, the Palmetto State gets the edge. S.C. combines the
size, athleticism and speed necessary to stop the run and rush the pass.
Overall: South Carolina - North Carolina
will hang for a little while, but expect South Carolina to have a significant
edge in this battle by halftime.
Match-ups to Watch:
DL Moe Thompson versus Tackles Derek Morris and Daniel Inman
DT Anthony Littlejohn versus Guard Whit Efrid