SPARTANBURG, S.C. - All of the selections for this year's Shrine Bowl event were all out there having fun this morning at practice when they first strapped on the pads and made some contact since arriving here. One player, Rivals100 linebacker Brandon Spikes, was especially electric as he flew around the ball and was letting everyone know just how excited he was to get started.
Spikes, the No. 4 rated outside linebacker in the country hailing from Shelby (N.C.) Crest Senior feels that his team got off to a good start at practice. His fire inside still comes from just looking around at all the talent and seeing how his hard work has paid off.
"It's a privilege to be surrounded by great players in the state of North Carolina," Spikes said. "We've got a real good group and for our first practice early in the morning, everyone seems to be adjusting well to the speed of the game. We want to get that win on Saturday and work as one unit."
Spikes' North Carolina teammates certainly include some of the best. Four-stars Aleric Mullins, Raeshon McNeil, and three-star athlete Deunta Williams are just a few that line up for the squad.
However, one player in particular on offense, Florida commit Carl Johnson, has been talking a lot with Spikes. The two have spoken about the game this weekend, but also college choices.
"I'm down to three right now with Virginia Tech, Alabama, and Florida," Spikes said about his final schools on the board. "All three of those are great places and my decision is really going to come down to the people there. Carl has actually been in my ear a little bit about Florida."
"He said he wants me to come down and be a Gator with him, so he's been doing a little recruiting of his own."
In-home visits have come from all three colleges including Alabama coach Charlie Harbison, Florida John Holliday, and Virginia Tech's Bud Foster. All spoke about early playing time and though there have been reports of him leaning this way or the other, Spikes says everybody is even.
"They all give me great opportunities," Spikes said. "I need to sit back and think about each visit to decide which place I had the most fun. That's going to be real hard for me because they all felt that way."
Spikes is rated as the No. 2 overall prospect in the state of North Carolina and the No. 65 overall prospect in the country.