Pack Pride was on hand this past Friday night to watch Scotland County take on Pinecrest High School. The Scots have been one of the state's best at producing division one talent over the years and Pack Pride takes a look at several of their star prospects.
Make no mistake, LB Terrell Manning is the most talented player on a team stocked full of impressive athletes. The Scotland defense limited Pinecrest to 28 yards rushing and 146 total yards. Much of the reason behind that was the play of Manning.
Manning's athletic ability is a given but what really sets him apart are his instincts and reaction at the snap of the ball.
He has an uncanny ability to be able to feel where plays are going and is cat-quick in his pursuit to the ball carrier. Manning does a very good job of avoiding traffic and beating blocks and that helps him become a factor on nearly every run play. When you attend a Scotland game you can expect to hear Manning's name called countless times when the Scots are on defense.
As has been mentioned before, if there's any aspect Manning's game that can be improved it's his tackling technique. Manning has a tendency to get overly aggressive at times and that causes him to be put in a position to arm tackle because he gets slightly out of position. However, this is easily correctable with coaching and shouldn't be an issue once he arrives at NC State.
One thing that the coaches won't tweak is his fearless nature when it comes to hitting. Manning loves to bring it and that's accentuated on special teams. On one play in particular against Pinecrest, Manning blew down the field on a kickoff and exploded into the return man, forcing a fumble. Pinecrest recovered but the return man didn't for quite some time afterwards.
Nicholson was a player that really impressed us. We had heard a little bit about him previously and Nicholson has pushed Damonte Terry for playing time at the running back spot.
Nicholson is a great compliment to Terry's bruising style as Nicholson is more of a scat back type of runner. He has great wiggle and excels when he's out in space. He has good hips and the ability to cut quickly which makes him a handful to tackle in the open field. Nicholson has a tremendous burst and you tend to forget that he's only a sophomore right now.
Against Pinecrest, Nicholson had an impressive 65 yard punt return that he took down the sidelines almost untouched. Out of the backfield, Nicholson carried the ball five times for 41 yards.
At this point, Nicholson is very comparable to Hillside running back Desmond Scott. It will be interesting to see how he matches up speed-wise once he hits the combine circuit later in his career.
Nicholson likely doesn't have the size to be an every down back in college. However, he could emerge as a third down back, slot receiver or cornerback on the next level. He also has the speed to grow into a threat on special teams as a kick or punt returner. In any event, expect to hear more about Nicholson in a couple of years.
Expect to hear quite a bit about Terry next year as his recruiting really cranks up. The junior tailback rushed for 95 yards on 11 carries, including one yard and seven yard touchdown runs.
He showed the ability to rush it up inside but also was also able to get to the corner and outrace the defense at times. Terry showed good toughness and was difficult for the Pinecrest defense to bring down.
Physically, Terry is impressive. He is a little thin in his lower body but his upper body is extremely well-developed. Some may wonder if he's already peaked size-wise but regardless, at 6-2, 205 pounds, he's already impressive.
While Terry is the Scots' starting running back, I'm not sure that's his future collegiate position. He runs with a good combination of speed and shiftiness but he'll probably need to improve his foot quickness to become a D-1 running back prospect.
However, the thing that makes Terry so attractive is the range of positions he could possibly play due to his size, physical style of play and speed. Depending on how he matures physically down the road, he could potentially project at running back, safety, linebacker or even fullback.