Scouting the Shrine Bowl

The Shrine Bowl is quickly approaching, and at CUTigers.com, we've got you covered with indepth scouting reports compiled over the last two days of practice. Both Coach Burns and Coach Stockstill have made the trip up from Orlando this week to take in the action for themselves.

South Carolina DT Anthony McDaniel has made a name for himself during this week of practice. McDaniel, who is now really entering the spotlight for the first time after playing for one of the weaker teams in the Columbia area as been practically "unblockable." The Tigers like him either as a defensive end or a defensive tackle, but with his frame, he seems to be the perfect candidate to add 20 pounds and move him into the interior of the defensive line and let him wreak havoc there. McDaniel is still a Clemson lean and is scheduled to visit the Tigers on January 10th.

Insiders Note: McDaniel was the player that caught my eye during the practice. He was a man among boys. He towered over all of the other defensive players. In the offense/defense drills he was in the backfield on EVERY play. The coaches were working on trying to get him to put his hands up in the passing lanes, and I have to tell you that there's no way most QB's will be able to throw over him. He also has showed quit a bit of speed for such a big defender.

North Carolina WR Mike Mason has also been the talk of the practice for his squad. Mason, a UNC verbal commitment has repeatedly made the big play in practice, taking short passes and turning them into big yardage. You might remember Mason trying to convince C.J. Gaddis into wearing Tar Heel blue back in early November when Gaddis made the trip up to Chapel Hill for an unofficial visit. Gaddis returned the favor to Mason during his trip to Clemson, but both players have been unsuccessful in trying to get the other to make the switch.

Speaking of C.J. Gaddis, the converted quarterback has shined in a big way while playing as a running back for North Carolina. Most scouts compare his elusiveness to that of former Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler. Gaddis is still firm in his commitment to Clemson and will come into camp next fall as a quarterback. His official visit date is confirmed for January 10th, and he'll also make the trip down to Athens to see the Georgia Bulldogs just one later.

Clemson verbal commitment Sergio Gilliam will play as a cornerback this week, even though most experts have him penciled in as a free safety in John Lovett's defense next season. Gilliam has looked impressive in his cover skills and he continues to look like a ball hawk, using his height and excellent speed to his advantage. The Tigers picked up a good one in Sergio Gilliam.

Greenville WR Noah Whiteside has proven why he's the top receiver in the state of South Carolina this year. Whiteside and Mason are easily the top two playmakers at wide out on the field for both teams. In terms of recruiting, South Carolina still has the edge for his services, even though he's set to visit Clemson in mid-January.

Insiders Note: One word sums him up and that word is "smooth". He had the best catch of the day on about a 30 yard pass across the middle. He made everything look easy and caught everything thrown in his direction and ran his routes with what looked like very little effort.

What else can you say about Union's Eric Young? Young in easily the most impressive lineman on the field, and it's no wonder why most recruiting services have him ranked as the top offensive lineman in the country headed into late December. His footwork is unbelievable and his raw power is unstoppable. While most experts have signaled that Young is still a South Carolina "lean," don't believe everything you read. The Tigers continue to stay under the radar with Eric Young, and that's just fine until he makes his announcement on signing day.

Insiders Note: I know we want him on the line but I swear he could play linebacker. His speed is obvious and he doesn't look like a lineman. No fat on this boy either. He spent most of the Wednesday morning at left tackle. I will also point out that he seemed to be enjoying himself and that he spent a great deal of time talking with Marion Dukes. He seemed to be one of the more vocal players on the OL. Looked like he could definitely be a leader.

Stratford running back Rodney Kinlaw is as elusive as they come on the field. It's no wonder why Clemson was the first school to move in with an offer. On the field, he looks like the ideal running back in the spread offense. Give him the ball out of the shotgun and good things are going to happen. Kinlaw is still publicly a slight Clemson lean, even though we firmly believe that it will take a major push to keep him from wearing orange next season.

Anybody wondering about how K Jad Dean could impact the 2003 season can just go ahead and pencil him as the #1 guy to handle kickoffs for the Tigers next season. Dean, who committed to Clemson back in the summer, has unbelievable leg strength. The North squad likely won't have the opportunity for a kickoff return this Saturday, as most of his kicks go through the end zone with ease.

Clemson continues to make outstanding progress with some of the top prospects in the state, and while most of these kids are keeping quiet (understandably so), there could be several surprise announcements on signing day. The 2003 recruiting class has the potential to be incredible. Stay tuned.

For a complete listing of both teams at the Shrine Bowl, click here.

Insider Notes courtesy of Robert Macrae (CharlottesFinest), one of the top posters on CUTigers.com and a long time supporter of our web site. Way to go Robert!

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