SPARTANBURG, S.C. – With all-star games like the Shrine Bowl, it's not always about how performed the best in practices and in the game. It's also about how you perform off the field in the hotel, hanging out with the rest of your team or competing in NCAA 2005 on PlayStation2. Rivals.com recruiting analyst Jeremy Patterson breaks down the winners of some unusual categories in The Shrine Bowl Specialty Awards.
Best Trash Talker: Aiken, S.C., wide receiver Terrance Smith wins this honor hands down. His nickname is "mouthpiece" which was given to him by his high school teammates because they only time he is not talking trash is when his mouthpiece is in. Guys like J.C. Neal, Bryan Dixon and Marquis Melvin certainly gave him some competition throughout the week though and are runner-ups.
Most likely to be a comedian: Sure, there are a lot of funny guys out there, but J.C. Neal and Jonathan Hannah should consider going on tour together. The pair, though they seldom talked to each other because they were on opposite teams, kept the Rivals.com crew and anyone else who was around in stitches all weekend long. If you're looking for an interesting quote on just about anything, go find one of these guys.
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Best Recruiters: It seems like every committed prospect was pitching their school to the uncommitted guys. However, the Charlotte (N.C.) Independence pair of Mohamed Massaquoi and Joe Cox may have done the best job of the weekend in pitching the Georgia Bulldogs. Going into the week Johnathan Hannah was giving little thought to the Dawgs, but after a week of talking up Richt's program Cox and Massaquoi have convinced Hannah to take an official visit to Athens.
Most Electric: Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes wide receiver Reynaldo Hunter has some of the best moves you're going to find anywhere. Though he is only 5-foot-11, 175-pounds every time Hunter touches the ball, big things seem to happen. When the South Carolina squad wanted to put the game away by running a reverse they went to Hunter who sprinted in for a 16-yard touchdown.
Biggest Surprise: Kernersville (N.C.) R.B. Glenn offensive lineman Chris DeGeare was not a prospect that was talked a lot about early in the week, but he certainly showed he is one of the elite lineman in the Tar Heel State. The 6-foot-4, 340-pound DeGeare is every bit of the size that he is listed, he is a massive individual that has tremendous footwork to be so big. Even with the likes of Curtis Crouch on the same offensive line, DeGeare was the best lineman on the North Carolina squad consistently all week.
Most Athletic: As touched on earlier, New Bern, N.C., athlete Montario Hardesty is simply just an incredible athlete. There was no guy on either team that was as athletic and versatile as Hardesty was. Even most great athletes have one position that they are better at then others, but with Hardesty it's hard to say that he has a best position because he is such a balanced athlete and does everything well.
Most Potential: Wilson (N.C.) Beddingfield defensive end/tight end Everette Brown has an amazing upside. He is still very thin when you take a look at him, but his shoulders are as broad as Curtis Crouch's. He has a frame to add up to 50 pounds easily on the next level and is athletic enough to maintain his 4.6 second forty yard dash speed. He is a very versatile athlete that would fit perfectly into the mold of Florida State defensive lineman that are lighting quick off the ball, whether he chooses the Noles in the end or not.
Can't Miss Prospect: Simply put he is as he can't be covered. There is no "he could be special" to it, this guy will be special. He has everything you look for in a big time wide receiver, speed, size, leaping ability and best of all he is polished and could step on the field tomorrow and compete for playing time at any school in America.
Biggest Snub: Greenville, S.C. running back Travil Jamison and Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County quarterback Cameron Sexton are noticeables left off of the Shrine Bowl roster. It is simply just an unfortunate situation because the guys in front of them also deserved to be in the game and there could only be a certain amount of players taken at each position and these two great players were left off.
Best Hair: Bennettsville (S.C.) Marlboro County athlete Rendrick Taylor won this category by a nose over two other South Carolina stars in Oklahoma commit Eric Huggins and Clemson commit Hadrian Lewis. All of these guys have the great "dread" look going, but Taylor has the longest, thickest of the bunch and has almost the former Ricky Williams type look.
Ironman: North Carolina running back Toney Baker gets the nod in a tough decision over teammate Stephan Virgil who was injured early in the game, but came back. Baker gets the nod because of his workhorse like day. He had to dig and grind for every yard he got in most cases as the South Carolina defensive line gave the North Carolina offensive line fits all day. He has a workman's like attitude and virtually lives in the weight room, many players had a great attitude and made a case for the honor, but it's Baker's pre-game preparation that sets him apart.
The Intimidator: Greenville, S.C. defensive lineman Nathan Pepper easily won this award on Saturday when he showed up wearing bright red-ish orange contacts to match the South Carolina team's bright red uniforms. It was truly a different look and one that had to have been noticed by the North Carolina offensive lineman that lined up across from him.
Best Nickname: Several players had great nicknames like Johnathan "The Horror" Hannah, "The Toney Baker Show," Nathan "Salt and" Pepper, Mohamed "MoMass" Massaquoi, but James "Cooter" Arnold seemed to be everyone's favorite. "Cooter" picked up the nickname from his mother who has been calling him that all his life for no apparent reason at all.
NCAA 2005 Football Champ: A large portion of the players free time was spent on playing NCAA Football on PlayStation 2 and Derek Nicholson and Everette Brown seemed to win almost every game they played. Nicholson only lost once and that was to Brown, but he also beat Brown on several occasions. When asked what teams they liked to play with (in hopes of maybe garnering a hint to who their favorite is) they both said "no comment." Nicholson did say that he didn't play with Florida State often, even though his brother is a starting linebacker, because "their quarterbacks make me nervous on that game."