Pack Pride was on hand Saturday for the 74th annual Shrine Bowl and breaks down the games best players. The event boasted one of the most dominating performances ever by a single player and a lopsided win for the South Carolina squad.
Top 5 Players
1. DE Jadeveon Clowney...Many long time observers of the Shrine Bowl said they couldn't remember a more dominating effort than the performance Clowney put on. From the very first snap it was painfully obvious that North Carolina OL Jarrod James was simply out of his league trying to slow down Clowney. Considered by some as the nation's top prospect, Clowney was usually in the Tar Heel backfield before James could get there. He would beat James to the outside and sprint to the QB or overwhelm him physically to the inside for the same result. Clowney first step may be the quickest we've ever seen and when you combine that with his strength, you have the makings of a special player.
2. LB Ben Councell...Councell was lined up in the outside linebacker role for North Carolina which normally puts that player in position to make a lot of plays. That was definitely the case for Councell and he didn't waste his opportunities. After watching Councell live, it quickly became clear that this was a big miss for NC State. He has everything you're looking for in a linebacker- good size, above average athleticism, instincts and a great motor. He was able to track down much smaller players and that quickness probably caught a few off guard. Councell is a sure tackler and simply has a tremendous nose for the football.
3. LB Kris Frost...Like Councell, Frost was lined up on the outside and made a ton of plays. He seems to have more of a flare for the dramatic but athletically, was the best linebacker on the field in our opinion. Frost has incredible football speed and the ability to close on the ball carrier in the blink of an eye. He does have a tendency to tackle high but any short comings he may have will be easily correctable in college. Frost's physical upside may be limited but he still has the talent and potential to play either strong safety or outside linebacker once he gets to the next level. He continues to talk about playing wide receiver on the next level but defense certainly appears to be in his future.
4. DL Phillip Dukes...Realistically, you probably could have put a host of players in this fourth position from the South Carolina defense. Gerald Dixon certainly would have been a good choice but we went with Phillip Dukes. The four star defensive tackle according to Scout.com showed why he has landed multiple scholarship offers with Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama all battling for his commitment. Dukes finished the contest with four tackles and two sacks but was disruptive all day. He created a huge mismatch advantage against the North Carolina offensive line and allowed the Sandlappers to control the line of scrimmage with just three players. Dukes benefitted to some degree by all the attention given to DE Jadeveon Clowney but he still proved to be a big time talent of his own.
5. TE Jerrell Adams...I'm not sure that many expected Adams to be the offensive star for the South Carolina squad but that was how it played out on Saturday. Adams is listed at 6-5, 220 pounds and looks more like a big wide receiver than your standard tight end. However, he showed the ability to find open spots in the North Carolina defense but more impressive was his catching ability. Adams has nice soft hands and proved to be one of the most reliable receiving threats on the field. He'll need to get bigger to be a threat in run blocking but he's got the pass catching part down pat. Some wonder if Adams has the grades to qualify but South Carolina appears to have the inside track to land him.
Other players of note
Juston Burris...as a whole I wasn't sure that any of the North Carolina defensive backs appeared very comfortable in what they were doing . As for Burris, he was only involved in a handful of plays so it was impossible to give an honest evaluation of his potential. Size wise I definitely could see him getting a shot at cornerback and believe he has the ability to succeed there. His eyes did light up when the possibility of playing offense was mentioned.
Stephone Anthony...we mentioned last summer that we thought Anthony was a player whose best days are in front of him and we still feel that way. Since he was lined up in the middle, Anthony did not have the opportunities that LB's Ben Councell and Kris Frost had. On a couple of occasions Anthony showed the potential that has him rated as one of the top linebackers in the nation. He blew into the backfield on one play and forced an intentional grounding. On another, he read a swing pass perfectly and dropped the receiver for a four yard loss. There were other plays that Anthony could've made but he missed on the tackle. I don't think it's realistic to expect that Anthony is a player that's going to come in and star from day one. There's going to be a learning curve involved but all the tools are there for him to grow into a very good player.
Brandon Ellerbe...the highlight of the day for Ellerbe was his 42 yard interception return for score. On the play, he caught a ball that was basically thrown right to him but the impressive part was the speed he showed as he headed down the sideline. As a whole, I wouldn't say Ellerbe had a great game at all. With his size you would think he would be a more impressive tackler. On some plays he didn't attack the ball and got out of position on others. This was just one game so we would refrain from drawing any conclusions.
Shawn Underwood...the stat sheet won't reflect it but Underwood has the potential to be a big time talent in college. Lining up at nose guard, he drove his man deep into the backfield on nearly every play. Underwood's strength is impressive and he'll only get stronger with time. He would be a great fit in NC State's gap control defense and is likely why he's such a huge priority for the Wolfpack staff despite his commitment to UNC. The Pack will get an official visit most likely but the Heels will get his final visit which will make it extremely tough for NC State to steal him.
Vad Lee and Marquise Williams...because Jadeveon Clowney was in the backfield all day and without a hint of a running game, there was no way these two QB's had a chance to be successful. Of the two, I thought Williams threw a better ball. He has an extremely strong arm and also showed the ability to throw with touch as well. A couple of his better passes were called back due to penalties. Lee never got it going and while considered to be elusive in high school, didn't show the speed or escapability that one might expect.
Domonique Noble....we really like Noble as he was probably one of the lone standouts in the North Carolina backfield. He was very good in coverage and played extremely physical. Noble could be favorably compared to NC State's David Amerson.
Eric Ebron...Apparently Ebron is a guy that is a better talker than game performer. He publically complained about North Carolina's play calling after the game but keeping in line with what we scouted earlier this year, when the ball was thrown to him, he dropped it. Ebron also got a couple of penalties called on him. He'll need to be coached up in college if he's willing to listen.
T.J. Thorpe...Thorpe didn't get an opportunity to do much in the passing game but he was effective on kickoffs. We liked the fact that he was patient and allowed the running lanes to open up. Thorpe plays tough and showed the ability to break tackles and get outside on at least one return.
Devonte Brown....physically, Brown is extremely impressive but production-wise, didn't do a lot in the game. As we mentioned last fall, we think Brown is a guy that is just scratching the surface of his potential and is nowhere near being a finished product.
Scouting the 2010 Shrine Bowl
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