Many of North Carolina’s top prospects for the class of 2009 were on hand Saturday at Burlington Williams High School for the final Shrine Bowl workout. Many of the 44 players selected for this year’s squad will be taken from the participants that showed up for the three hour workout. Pack Pride takes a look at the players on the offensive side of the ball that stood out.
Without a doubt, one of the toughest positions for the Shrine Bowl coaches to evaluate will be the QB spot. There were several players in attendance that are solid prospects who are very comparable talent-wise.
Chandler Browning (Broughton) and Brett Mooring (West Craven) give you size and arm strength. Everett Proctor (Jack Britt) actually showed better passing skills than was expected. He has a nice delivery and good ball placement. He was also one of the more consistent passers on the day. Proctor also brings athleticism to the position and that may give him a leg up once the coaches make selections later in the year. After seeing Proctor work out, he has the skills necessary to get a shot at quarterback in the right system once he goes to college although he may likely be most effective at some other position.
Kevin Shelton (Hickory) and Danny O’Brien (East Forsyth) also impressed and threw very catchable balls all day. Talent-wise, they were right there with the other QB’s that were in attendance. Again, selecting players from this list is going to be tough as no one really elevated their game enough to significantly stand out from the rest.
Running back is one of North Carolina’s weaker positions this year and that was fairly evident Saturday. With J.R. Rhodes (Jordan) and Kevin Fogg (Apex) not participating, this position didn’t boast a lot of talent but their were a few exceptions.
Damonte Terry (Scotland County) continues to impress with his frame and overall athletic ability. He also has a tremendous attitude and work ethic. However, we still feel that he may ultimately project better at safety. Terry did a good job in one on one drills coming out of the backfield and matching up against the linebacker in passing routes. He showed good hands and quickness and was one of the event’s more impressive players at running back.
Hunter Furr (Mt Tabor) is a solid 200 pounds and runs extremely well. He probably doesn’t have the shiftiness or athleticism to become a college running back but he’s a guy that has the natural ability to be a contributor on defense or special teams.
We have heard for several months that Tyler Shatley (East Burke) would likely play defensive tackle for Clemson and we could see why after Saturday. Make no mistake, Shatley is a monster physically. However, he had a very tough time all day trying to catch passes out of the backfield and really struggled in that aspect of his game. Because he is so tough and has the ability to smash people, he could make a heck of a fullback although defensive tackle may be his best spot. Suffice it to say that he is the type player that will be big-time where ever he ends up playing.
Perhaps the most impressive collection of players on Saturday came at wide receiver. While no one necessarily stood out physically, there were numerous players that had tremendous performances by displaying solid route-running skills and great hands.
One of the best, if not the best, was Reese Wiggins from Southern Durham. We did not observe him drop a pass all day. In fact, he made a couple of circus catches along the way that really were impressive. His speed allowed him to get consistent separation and his hands may have been the best we saw all day. He has an offer from East Carolina but it’s hard to imagine him not garnering additional pledges over the summer.
If you’re looking for a sleeper that no one has talked about then look no further than Artis Gilmore (TC Roberson). At 6-1 and 165 pounds, he isn’t the biggest wide receiver around but his pass-catching fundamentals were as good as anyone’s. He ran solid routes and consistently caught the ball away from his body. At times he just seemed to suck up every pass thrown near him and the Shrine Bowl coaches commented on him several times.
Ray-Ray Davis (Sun-Valley) was one of the more impressive wideouts physically and he too looked great on Saturday. He played a little more physical than some of the others and caught everything thrown his way.
Perhaps the wide receiver that surprised the most was Corey Gattis (Hillside). He was the smoothest of the wideouts and his routes and breaks were sharp. In fact, the coaches on hand commented on how impressive his route-running was. This came somewhat as a surprise as Gattis is a quarterback for Hillside. However, his running style appeared effortless, he didn’t round off his routes and showed the speed to run by defenders in one-on-one drills. Gattis also showed very good hands and consistently made some very nice catches.
Finally, we mentioned Reese Wiggins from Southern Durham but his teammate, Nick Jones, is pretty talented himself. He made some very nice catches and talent-wise was very comparable to the other top receivers in attendance. As a whole, the Shrine Bowl coaches have a very nice collection of players with which to work when selections are made later in the year.
Evaluations of the offensive linemen were hampered a bit because the coaches did not conduct one-on-one drills pitting an offensive lineman against a defensive lineman. The players focused mainly on lineman drills. Two players that stood out were Will Simmons (Hertford County) and David Collins (East Forsyth). It was obvious that these two have worked hard to shed weight which has in turn, helped their overall quickness. We would be very surprised if Simmons doesn’t land several offers over the summer.
Travis Bond has all the tools you’re looking for in a big-time offensive lineman and his recruiting has exploded over the last month or so with several top programs extending scholarship offers. He’s almost a shoo-in to be named to the Shrine Bowl squad later in the year.