RB Toney Baker...Ragsdale High School...Jamestown, NC
What stands out the most about Baker is his amazing combination of size, strength, and speed. He's explosive through holes, finishes every run strong, has great vision, and can take a hit. He runs with terrific body lean and does a great job of positioning his body to take hits while securing the football at all times. All week he flashed the skills that made him one of the nation's most highly-recruited running backs. Baker is down to NC State, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee. He'll announce his decision on January 15th.
RB Montario Hardesty...New Bern High School...New Bern, NC
Hardesty's just an amazing athlete, perhaps the best pure athlete on the field at the Shrine Bowl. Like NC State commit Andre Brown, you get the sense that Hardesty could play three, four, or even five different positions on the football field because of his natural athleticism. He looked very good returning kicks, exploding down the field while looking for running lanes. At tailback, Hardesty runs with very hard and has some shiftiness. He tends to run with his head down which could limit his downfield vision, but his breakaway speed, strength, and agility could make him a solid high-major running back. Some schools like him as a safety prospect while most are recruiting as a running back. Look for Hardesty to choose either Tennessee or North Carolina with Virginia Tech, NC State, and Clemson on the outside looking in.
WR Reynaldo Hunter... Byrnes High School...Byrnes, SC
Here's a guy who may have really helped himself at the Shrine Bowl. Hunter entered the game receiving heavy interest from UNC and Appalachian State, but after playing very well for South Carolina he could see some new suitors get involved. A smallish wideout at 5'10 and 170 pounds, Hunter is very, very quick and can make the first defender miss. His best play of the day was a dazzling reverse that he scored on late in the second half. Hunter's an intriguing prospect that NC State could look at later in the recruiting season. He's expressed heavy interest in the Wolfpack and would love to land an offer.
C Andy Barbee...Crest High School...Shelby, NC
Standing 6'3, 280 pounds, Barbee passes the look test for an interior offensive lineman. He could stand to add a little more weight, but physically he's not your typical high school offensive line prospect. He was very impressive throughout the game, opening holes for running backs, getting downfield for blocks, and playing well in pass protection. He may have been the only player to play every snap on offense. Most importantly, Barbee and the quarterbacks had no exchange problems under-center or in shotgun-formation. An NC State commitment, Barbee should be a contributor down the road for the Wolfpack. He's smart, quick, and technically sound as an offensive center.
OL Curtis Crouch...E.E. Smith High School...Fayetteville, NC
Crouch only played one series for North Carolina after injuring his shoulder in the final high school game of the season. He received limited reps throughout the week and never looked comfortable playing with the injury. At 6-6, 330 pounds, Crouch will need to lose some weight to play on the next level, but all the tools are there to be a very good college lineman. He has quick feet, long arms, and the physical traits desired in a offensive line prospect. He's currently looking at Florida, NC State, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Virginia Tech.
LB/DE Everette Brown...Beddingfield High School...Wilson, NC
Brown was listed as a LB at the Shrine Bowl but lined up as a standup defensive end. Brown has a good frame but is much smaller than the 6-4, 240 pounds that is he is usually listed as. He is quick and light on his feet and shows good agility. However, he was not a factor for the North Carolina defense and often ran himself out of plays. On the collegiate level it is likely that Brown will begin his career as a LB if he is to play early. To eventually line up as a DE or TE, he will need to add considerable bulk. Virginia Tech, UNC and Florida State are his solid top three with the Pack on the outside looking in. Several Florida State coaches were seen talking to Brown after the game.
DE/TE Jonathan Hannah...South View High School...Hope Mills, NC
Utilizing a three man defensive front with a LB lined up at the line of scrimmage, Hannah was playing defensive tackle for all intents and purposes. The thing that is most striking about Hannah is he has the look of a big-time college prospect and the combination of quickness and size not seen on the high school level often. For the Shrine Bowl however, Hannah wasn't able to take advantage of his explosive quickness because of being lined up inside. He was not much of a factor for the NC squad but we came away even more convinced that Hannah will eventually have a huge impact in college as a TE. Hannah is currently considering Florida State, Clemson, UNC, Virginia Tech, NC State, Georgia and South Carolina.
WR J.C. Neal...Lakewood High School...Sumter, SC
Neal is much thicker in person than one might think, looking to be a solid 6-1, 190 pounds. On this day, Neal was the top defender for the South Carolina squad and one of biggest impact defenders on either squad. He had two interceptions and, on the first, showed incredible burst and speed before being caught by Toney Baker near the five yard line. He also played physical in run support and, on one play, dropped Baker for a three yard loss. He also had a nice pass breakup and several additional tackles and was the only defender to consistently make plays all day. Several schools have Neal pegged as a slot receiver and that's certainly a possibility next year. However, we loved Neal as a free safety and quite possibly a strong safety down the road. He is currently favoring NC State over Virginia Tech, Maryland, South Carolina and Clemson