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SPARTANBURG, SC -- The annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is set to will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. ET at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C., and the game boasts many stars on both the North Carolina and South Carolina teams. The strength of the South Carolina offense appears to be at wide receiver led by the state's No. 1 player in Shaq Roland from Lexington. Look for the short passing game to be key which is why the North Carolina linebackers, a talented and athletic group, need to help defend the air attack. Here's our breakdown:
South Carolina wide receivers: Shaq Roland (Lexington), Quinshad Davis (Gaffney), Casey Gladney (Columbia), Kwinton Smith (Dillon)
North Carolina linebackers: Jamal Marcus (Hillside), Dahman McKinnon (South View), Keilin Rayner (North Brunswick)
Led by South Carolina commitment Shaq Roland, the wide receiver crew for South Carolina is as good as it gets and one of the best in this game in years. Roland is a catch-and-run guy who can make people miss but he's also a deep threat while Quinshad Davis is tall, lanky and very effective on intermediate routes. Throw in Casey Gladney as a slot threat and Kwinton Smith as a possession guy and you have a diverse group.
The North Carolina linebackers will need to get proper depth in their drops and utilize their cover skills to help in short pass defense. The thought is that the North Carolina defensive line will be dominant enough to get a constant push and force quick throws from the quarterbacks, which means players like Dahman McKinnon and Keilin Rayner will need to be sure tackles and anticipate the passing lanes. Jamal Marcus is an end playing linebacker and has the wingspan and size to really disrupt the passing game and he could be a huge key.