SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Each day this week, Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell will look at the players involved in a key matchup for Saturday's Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Thursday's matchup: North Carolina receivers and tight ends vs. South Carolina defensive backs.
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North Carolina wide receivers/tight ends: T.J. Thorpe (Jordan), Eric Ebron (Ben L. Smith), Marcus Leak (Parkwood), Sherman Ragland (Southern Durham), Jamison Crowder (Monroe), Chase Kellum (East Forsyth), Eric MacLain (Jack Britt), Derell Lamb (Wallace-Rose Hill)
South Carolina defensive backs: Pat Martin (J.L. Mann), Julius Pendergrass (Chester), Ronnie Martin (Spartanburg), Adam Humphries (Dorman), Calvin Caldwell (J.L. Mann), Mariel Cooper (Sumter), Chase Hames (Blacksburg), La'Quavas Watt (Abbeville)
This could be one of the big mismatches in the game as far as positional battles. The North Carolina squad is loaded at receiver, led by the athletic T.J. Thorpe and Sherman Ragland and leaper Marcus Leak at receiver, and tight ends Eric Ebron (playing wideout) and Eric MacLain.
There are some talented defensive backs on the South Carolina team such as Pat Martin (although he's been injured most of the week), Julius Pendergrass and Ronnie Martin, but each is a tough matchup against either the size of the NC receivers or the speed in some cases. If North Carolina can keep the quarterbacks clean and give them time to find receivers, this could be the difference in the game.