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Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas: Commits review the 2018 season

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Zacch Pickens
Zacch Pickens (

MORE: Shrine Bowl players predict commtments | OL vs. DL video

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is once again filled with talented players that will be spreading their wings to play all across the college football map next season. With so many committed players in attendance for this year’s game, we chatted with several about how their respective future schools fared during the 2018 season and what they expect to see improve once they arrive on campus next year.


“There were definitely ups and downs but most of the ups came from young guys and that’s a good thing in my eyes. A lot of the freshman did a lot of good things for us and we’ve got a good class coming in. We have a couple of changes here and there but that’s college football. I think our 2019 class is ready to get there and make an impact.” -- Three-star Auburn tight end commit Luke Deal


“The season was good overall, especially after the change at quarterback. I think we did pretty well after that. The defense was good all-around, especially the defensive line group. The linebackers also played well and I hope I can go in and be like Tre Lamar. They have told me I remind them of him because of our size.” -- Three-star Clemson linebacker commit Greg Williams


“The team really just needs to keep working. Everybody there is pretty good, but we just need to keep working.” -- Rivals250 Duke defensive back commit Tony Davis

“They did play really well. We could have won some more games if they caught some more balls, but we’ll do really good in the bowl game and next year as well. I hope Daniel Jones comes back for next season.” -- Three-star Duke offensive line commit John Gelotte

“I think they'll be better at finishing through the season next year. The team has some injuries this year so I think they'll be better at finishing next year.”-- Three-star Duke offensive line commit Jacob Monk


“We just need to win more games. I’ve been hearing some pretty good things about the coaching staff so I’m sure they’ve got a plan to make it happen.”— Two-star ECU defensive tackle commit Keziah Everett



“It obviously didn’t go the way everyone wanted it to go this year. Coach (Willie) Taggart had to go in there and change a lot about the culture. The kids are starting to buy in and believe in what he’s doing.

"I think you’ll see a really big jump next year. The offensive line is definitely going to improve next year. They have a really good offensive line coach and they’re bringing in a few more guys. We’ve got Dontae Lucas coming in and he’s really good. We want Will Putnam and we’re trying to get Kardell Thomas to flip. He’s been down there a couple times and really likes it. We’re also trying to get Evan Neal out of IMG.” -- Rivals100 Florida State quarterback commit Sam Howell


“Being committed to Kentucky I kind of already had a feeling from being down there and watching practices that they were due for a big year this year. Coach (Mark) Stoops really had his team prepared and they were going hard and the guys put in the work for this. They knew they were going to have a big season, they weren’t surprised because they put in the work. The offense had some struggles at times but they’re going to figure that out. We’re going to be fine.” – Three-star Kentucky defensive back commit Jalen Geiger


“The season didn’t go well but they didn’t quit. If you look at the scores they basically hung in there until the fourth quarter and that’s when depth comes in. Once they build that back up, they will be on the rise again.” -- Two-star North Carolina long snapper commit Drew Little

“They really need to score more points next year. They need to get the ball down field more and emphasizing big plays.” - Rivals250 North Carolina wide receiver commit Khafre Brown

“I think they’ll improve passing the ball. Defensively, I think we’ll come around with that. We weren’t too far away from winning games. Everything was right there but we just need the right people to come in and change it.” -- Three-star North Carolina wide receiver commit Emery Simmons


“I just liked the way they move the ball. I like their system. It’s something new that I’m going to going into so I really like some things being new. I really won’t know what I can bring to the table until I get there. I need to learn the offense and get there and see how I fit. I’m going to be a wide receiver and was talking to the coaches and they were telling me how I will have the chance to make plays.” -- Two-star Navy wide receiver commit Moe Wedman



“It was a good season. The Clemson game was tough but every time we play Clemson it’s going to be at tough game. Other than that I thought they had a great season.” – Three-star NC State tight end commit Kam Walker

“I’m not sure what we can necessarily improve on. Just continuing to work hard, develop as football players, and learn as much as possible. We’ll come back next year to try to do even better than we did this year.” — Three-star NC State linebacker commit Drake Thomas

“I feel like we have a lot of young players on defense. Getting them playing time throughout the year was a good thing so they get better and better so that when they’re juniors and seniors we’ll have a great defense. I feel like this defense will be great.” -- Rivals250 NC State defensive end commit Savion Jackson

“I guess the running game will improve next year. Everything this year was kind of dominant, but the running game was a little on and off.” -- Three-star NC State running back commit Zonovan Knight


“It was a team that found their identity as the season went along. They still have to work on it a little bit more but they figured out that the run game is what was going to work for them this year and they used it to their advantage. I’m excited to get up there. They have told me I need to get up there and work hard to have the chance to compete. Just get in and push and compete as hard as I can for the job. I’m enrolling early next month.” -- Four-star Pittsburgh quarterback commit Davis Beville

“I think that they’re a growing team and they got the chemistry right now and they are going to build from there. They told me I can come in and help at defensive end as a pass rusher. They have good guys there now but I believe I can help, too.” -- Two-star Pittsburgh defensive end commit Nate Temple


“I thought this season was pretty good. They came out and did what they were supposed to do. Their record was fine with me. I think the coaches are just going to get the kids to improve on everything they’ve been doing.” -- Five-star South Carolina defensive end commit Zacch Pickens

“I think they'll improve defensively, from top to bottom. They struggled at the linebacker spot and there were a lot of injuries everywhere.” -- Three-star South Carolina linebacker commit Derek Boykins

“There was some ups and some downs and they got better as the season got along. They used the tight ends well, using two at the same time and using a bunch in the rotation so I feel I am going to fit in well there. They just need work on staying healthy. They were really banged up and that played a big part in it.” -- Three-star South Carolina tight end commit KeShawn Toney

“There were a lot of freshman playing and that can be a good thing and a bad thing. We have to come in a make sure that we stay on top of everything and stay healthy. That was a big part of the season this year. There were so many injuries that some young guys had to come in a play early. Coming in, I just want to add length and versatility to the defense.” -- Four-star South Carolina defensive back commit Cameron Smith


“The only place I see room for improvement is on the defensive side of the ball. They have a lot of playmakers on that side of the ball but they haven't gotten to that elite level of defense yet. They had a top offense and they put up a lot of points and they could have won more games if the defense could've limited the other teams.” -- Rivals250 Syracuse linebacker commit Lee Kpogba


“I've only really gotten to watch one of their games but they just need time for the defensive backs to get straightened out. They missed some assignments but they'll figure it out.” -- Four-star Tennessee defensive back commit Anthony Harris


“They went undefeated again. That was big. I feel like the last two years they’ve really changed the whole program around. I feel like they should have gotten a shot to play in the playoff. If we keep winning eventually they have to let us in.” – Three-star UCF defensive end commit Dallaz Corbitt

“They didn’t ever give up, even in games when they were down, like in the championship game against Memphis. They always found a way to come back. They are a team of fighters. I think I’m going to fit in well there.” -- Three-star UCF wide receiver commit Deonte Stanley



“This year they started off really good. They had a few bumps in the road in the middle of the season but made it to a bowl game. I think that will give them a boost to finish out strong. Next season the team is young so everybody will be back. It’s going to be about building chemistry.” - Three-star Virginia Tech defensive back commit J.R. Walker


“We have a lot of young talent coming in and a lot of seniors leaving, so if we get some good young players in that are willing to work we'll be able to take the next step.” -- Four-star Wake Forest wide receiver commit Donavon Greene

“The recruits they bring in are going to keep getting better and better each year with these new facilities. That’s going to help this program progress more because the coaches do a great job of developing players but they just need to get more of them in now.” -- Rivals100 Wake Forest wide receiver commit Nolan Groulx

“They had a hard fought season. They had a few injuries on defense and I feel like me going in there can help them out. They are thinking about me playing in a hybrid/drop position where I’m playing linebacker and defensive end. I will drop in coverage sometimes but pass rush most of the time.” -- Rivals250 Wake Forest defensive end commit Shamar McCollum


"I was amazed by this season. Just going to the Tennessee game and watching them play live was great. I think probably should’ve won a few more games, but we’ll get them next year.” -- Three-star West Virginia offensive line commit Parker Moorer