Shrine Bowl Combine Breakdown: Offense

Pack Pride was on hand as close to 100 of North Carolina's best prospects competed for a spot in the 2006 Shrine Bowl. In this article we break down the offensive standouts and give insight as to where NC State may stand with several.

  • Defensive Breakdown

    Pack Pride was on hand as close to 100 of North Carolina's best prospects competed for a spot in the 2006 Shrine Bowl. In this article we break down the offensive standouts and give insight as to where NC State may stand with several.

    West Stanly quarterback Quan Sturdivant came in with the most hype of the quarterbacks, as Rodney Cox didn't attend, and he had his share of ups-and-downs. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound dual-threat passer has a strong arm, but really struggled with accuracy and going through his progressions on Saturday. He has offers from NC State, North Carolina, Duke, and South Carolina. Expect Sturdivant to play another position on the next level, probably linebacker or safety.

    Eastern Randolph's Scott Riddle doesn't possess prototypical size, but he was perhaps the most impressive quarterback at the combine and should earn a spot on the team. He has a quick release and really stood out in seven-on-seven drills. At 6-foot and 186 pounds, Riddle throws a catchable ball and has zip on his passes. As far as college prospects, he might not be what you're looking for, but he looked darn good on Saturday.

    Greenville (NC) South Central tailback Tyrell Worthington really showcased his talents. During drills, he excelled catching the ball out of the backfield and is really explosive with the football in his hands. He has great feet, vision, and the ability to cut on a dime and shake a defender. His acceleration is top-notch and with 4.38 speed he has the ability to score nearly every time he touches the ball. Worthington is a smallish back at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, but he's tough and not afraid to run between the tackles. He might even be able to play slotback or defensive back on the next level. Worthington has multiple offers and NC State remains in great shape with him, along with Virginia Tech.

    Northeastern tailback Daronte McNeil hasn't received much hype this year, but he was very impressive on Saturday. At a rock solid 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, McNeil has the physical attributes needed to be an every-down Division I tailback. He doesn't have great breakaway speed, but McNeil explodes through the hole, and runs with power behind his shoulder pads. His performance backed up what he showed on film... McNeil has the makings of a natural running back. NC State hasn't expressed much interest in McNeil, and grades could be a concern, but he will receive A LOT of attention from several schools throughout the year.

    Independence WR Jason Barnes
    Independence wideout Jason Barnes turned some heads on the day. Barnes has extremely long arms, soft hands, and at 6-foot-4 he is an imposing target. He doesn't have great speed, but has the size to go over defensive backs and make the acrobatic catch. Currently Barnes isn't receiving much interest from NC State, and his recruitment should shape up as a battle between UNC and South Carolina. Expect a lot of praise to come his way as he will be the next wideout to post huge numbers in the high-octane Independence offensive system.

    Wolfpack commitment Steven Howard didn't disappoint. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Howard has the ideal build of a wide receiver, with long arms and a slender, yet developed body. He ran super routes all day and used his hands well to catch the ball, as evidenced by a spectacular one-handed over-the-shoulder catch during drills. He's not a burner, but Howard should be an efficient wideout on the next level, comparable to former NC State standout Brian Clark.

    Hillside's Greg Little came into the combine regarded as the state's top college prospect, and he most likely is. However, he worked out exclusively at wide receiver and didn't impress like some others. To be honest, he struggled at times catching the football and running his routes. On one repetition, Little came out of a cut on a deep out with no defender and fell on his face. He never really looked comfortable running routes during drills or in seven-on-sevens. However, based on his outstanding physical attributes, there is no doubt that he is a premier football prospect . Should he choose to play linebacker or safety, Little would likely be one of the elite players in the country. NC State is one of several suitors for Little's services.

    Burlington Cummings star Dwight Jones looked real good during workouts. He doesn't have an ideal frame to play the wideout position, as he has square shoulders and a blocky physique, but he has outstanding hands and really uses his body well to shield defenders. Checking in at 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, Jones is still growing into his body, and he will likely end up growing into a defensive end or tight end on the next level, but North Carolina landed an outstanding athlete.

    NC State commit George Bryan
    NC State commitment George Bryan was probably the most impressive tight end at the combine, and he really helped himself in this setting. The New Hanover star measured in at 6-foot-6 and 257 pounds prior to the event, and he looked outstanding during drills. He runs very well and catches everything thrown his way with those great hands that he possesses. His ability to find a spot in a zone is uncanny, and he maneuvers in space more like a wideout than a tight end, very impressive given his size. Bryan solidified his status as a legitimate prospect with his work in drills and seven-on-sevens, and he should easily make the team. "He's a natural," Eastern Alamance head coach John Kirby said after working Bryan out at tight end. "That kid is big-time."

    Right behind Bryan had to be Riverside's terrific jumbo athlete Wesley Saunders. Saunders has an outstanding frame, checking in at 6-foot-5 and 269 pounds, and runs extremely well for a man his size. He does a good job of shielding defenders with his body and catches everything with his hands. He's a bit raw fundamentally, and may project better as a defensive end or tackle on the next level, but Saunders is a terrific prospect. With Bryan in the fold and Saunders preferring to play tight end on the next level, the Wolfpack will probably not have much of a chance with Saunders after Saturday, but expect NC State to continue pursuing him. North Carolina and Wake Forest are really strong with the Durham standout. Ex-teammate and Wake Forest signee Marshall Williams accompanied him to the combine on Saturday.

    East Wilkes OL Landon Walker (right)
    The best offensive prospect on the field may have been East Wilkes tackle Landon Walker. This kid really opened eyes with his impressive frame and the nasty streak he plays with. On one play, Walker got under a defensive end and blocked him for 10-15 yards down the field, right in front of a group of fans all wondering who he was. All of 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, Walker has long, muscular arms and should put on weight quickly once he gets into a college weightlifting program. He solidified his status as a top 10 player with his performances this spring, and Clemson landed a great one in Walker.

    Person offensive tackle Doug Weaver and Northampton West center Desmond Roberts were both solid during drills. Weaver still has room to grow, and should be a monster on the next level. Already weighing over 280 pounds, the 6-foot-7 Weaver appears lean and moves well for his size. Roberts is a prospect who has garnered a lot of high-major attention and rightfully so. He has the prototypical lower body of an offensive line prospect, and once his upperbody fully develops, Roberts will be a presence in the interior of an offensive line. He's coachable, bright, and really got after it during drills. Both Weaver and Roberts are major priorities for NC State.

    Anson offensive lineman Trinton Sturdivant was right up there with Little as a contender to be tabbed the state's top prospect, but he struggled on Saturday. He has been injured this spring and may have been rusty, but he wasn't really able to put it together at this event. He struggled with his protections and appeared to be out of shape. Sturdivant has a huge upside, and the Georgia commit should be a solid contributor down the road for the Bulldogs.


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