Let the Battle Begin
The battle between Jonathan Crompton of Waynesville Tuscola and Joe Cox of Charlottte Independence for the starting quarterback role will be a theme debated and covered throughout the entire Shrine Bowl Practice week. Although only one signal caller can start, the North Carolina coaching staff is vowing that both Scout.com four-star prospects will receive the same amount of snaps on Saturday.
Thus far, Cox seems to be receiving slightly more snaps with the "first team" offense. However, Crompton seemed to look better than Cox in the morning practice, and competitive in the afternoon.
Before opening up the week, the North Carolina coaching staff had to replace two members of their offensive line unit. Julian Williams of New Bern and West Caudle of Elkin both sustained injuries, but have been replaced by two Fayetteville natives 6-foot-6, 320-pounder Curtis Crouch of Smith and Douglas Palmer of Byrd.
As planned, Jonathan Hannah of Hope Mills South View practiced and figures to start at defensive end. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound four-star prospect won't play tight end – a position he is being recruited for, but Hannah isn't bothered by the change.
"It's fine," remarked Hannah. "A different front, different things, so I have to learn new plays. But, we'll be fine."
On the other hand, Maurice Covington of Southern Durham was listed at the linebacker position – even on the latest North Carolina roster, but saw time only at the wide receiver position today.
Also, Everette Brown of Wilson Beddingfield is listed as a defensive lineman on the roster, but played outside linebacker for most of the day.
Because the use of the required 50 defense, the Tar Heel defense was split into two groups during many portions of the practice: defensive line/inside linebackers and outside linebackers/defensive backs.
Defensive linemen Hannah, Antonio Jacobs of Winston-Salem Parkland, Darius Massenburg of Roanoke Rapids, Kinney Rucker of Durham Jordan, and Eric Ludwig of Western Alamance, joined with linebackers Derek Nicholson of Winston-Salem Mount Tabor, D.J. Rice of Davie County, Sam Kidd of Morganton Freedom, and Antonio Lyons of Kernersville Glenn in the front five.
The back six will originate from the group of defensive backs that include Re'quan Boyette of Wilson Fike, Brian Dixon of South Columbus, L.J. Flintall of Burlington Cummings, Brandon Ghee of Fayetteville Britt, Marquis Melvin of Whiteville, Stephan Virgil of Rocky Mount and Antonio Wardlow of Wiston-Salem Parkland. Additionally, Van Eskrdge of Shelby, Andrew Rhinehart of Belmont South Point, and Everette Brown will fill in at strong safety/outside linebacker.
Never too early to predict the starting offensive lineup, and here is the predictions based on observations:
QB: Joe Cox, Charlotte Independence
TB: Toney Baker, Jamestown Ragsdale
FB: Tim Frye, Charlotte Providence
LT: Lowell Dyer, Durham Riverside
LG: Ross Shaffer, East Henderson
C: Andy Barbee, Shelby Crest
RG: Michael Collins, Richmond Senior
RT: Chris DeGeare, Kernersville Glenn
TE: Mike Rinferette, Bunn
WR: Mohamed Massaquoi, Charlotte Independence
WR: Brandon Woods, Southern Durham