Saturday around one o'clock in the afternoon I checked in to the Radisson hotel accompanied by my parents. I met Ted Luckadoo, the head coach, and the rest of the staff along with my defensive backs coach/ defensive co. Coach Hayes. I dropped everything off in my room and headed back down stairs to the main lobby to meet some of my teammates. I saw my longtime teammate Daniel Cleveland downstairs who was selected from Byrnes to play middle linebacker for the South Carolina Sandlappers. Also, I recognized some faces of some of my new teammates like Walt Canty (Dorman, Safety/CB committed to Duke), Malcolm Boyd (Dorman, OL undecided), and huge 6'6 325 lb Danzelle Good (Gaffney, OL committed to N.C. State). These guys are my rivals in the season, but we all connected and hung out with each other while we met everybody else. I found out my roommate is Justin Anderson, a 6'6 250 lb defensive end out of Blythewood who's committed to Maryland. Justin was real cool and we talked a lot about each others school and traded stories with each other about our team and how we did this year. Late that evening the team rode the charter buses to Spartanburg First Baptist to eat dinner and socialize with everybody else, but nobody from SC is talking to any of the players from NC. We ate some country style steak with macaroni and cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes and banana pudding. I got some free stuff like socks, shirts, shorts and a travel bag while I was there. Then, we headed back to the Radisson around 9 o'clock, had position meetings until 10, and wrapped the night up at 11.
Sunday morning at 5:45, Butch is banging on the door for wake up call. I get up and take a shower and get dressed for church. The team is down in the lobby by 6:45 and we board the buses for Spartanburg First Baptist at 7:00. We get to the church and eat breakfast and attend service. Then, the team gets back on the buses and we drive to the Shriner's hospital to see the kids there. We watch a short movie about how Shriner's Hospital helps kids with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate. They do all this for the kids and their families free of charge and that is the reason for this game, to raise money for these kids and their needs. We took a tour of the hospital and met some of the kids. I signed autographs and talked to the kids at the Shriner's hospital while we sat down and ate lunch together. After we said goodbye to everybody the team headed over to Dorman High school to get our equipment and uniforms sized and fitted.
We took pictures there as well. We had to wait a long time for SC and NC to both get sized and fitted, so during that time I got to know more of my teammates. The funniest guy on the team is definitely Jared Singleton from Lugulf Elgin who started at center for us. Anyways, we left Dorman and went to eat at the Mid-City Shrine place. Then, we headed back to the hotel for meetings for 30 minutes and just chilled in our rooms and played video games until lights out at 11. Sunday was a very LONG day and I was ready to go to sleep. Tomorrow is the first day of two a day practices.
Wake up call is 6:45. I take a shower and head down to the lobby for breakfast at 7. I remember getting up before wake up call because I just couldn't sleep any longer; it was a kind of light sleep because I was ready to get this thing going. I ate breakfast then headed over to the training room to get my ankles and wrist taped. The charter buses pulled out at 8:30. We get to the Dorman's locker room and everybody gets changed out and we start practice by 9:30. We started the first practice of with the spider drill, a drill to see who likes to hit! I thought it went real good everybody was crunk and ready to go. We started to put in to motion all the schemes we had been learning in meetings. Coach told me I was going to be working at Free Safety this week. We had a two hour practice that consisted of me learning the terms of the defense and what I'm going to be doing this week. The kicker and I got some reps together with me holding because I found out I would be holding for field goals.
We take a break for lunch and eat hot dogs and cheese burgers in the Dorman press boxes. The lunch was ok, but the best part was I had a little 30 minute nap. Then, we headed back down for the second practice. We reviewed what we had touched on earlier and talked a little bit about what the scouts were saying NC is running for their offense. The word was that they planned on running the veer option. After practice I showered, got changed, and we travel to Woodruff Shrine Club to eat some Mutt's Barbecue. We headed back to the hotel around 8:30 and had meetings for forever! Then at around 10:30 I crashed to get some sleep for the next day. I was happy with how the first day went for me. Practice was good, but I feel like the Shrine Bowl practices were pretty laid back compared to what we do at Byrnes. Also, the only thing that really took getting used to was having so many big bodies out there at once. I felt like the speed and athleticism was good, but I didn't see tings I wasn't accustomed to seeing at home. Overall, I'd say the first day of practice was good, but it just left me a little bit sore, LOL.