The 2009 Shrine Bowl combine tour will conclude on Saturday at Eastern Alamance High School in Burlington. The invitation-only event will boast roughly 100 of North Carolina’s top rising seniors and will be the final in-person evaluation before the team is selected later in the year. Pack Pride takes a look at five of the head-to-head battles that should be the most interesting.
WR Tony Creecy (Southern Durham) vs CB A.J. Marshall (Southern Durham)
This should be one of the day’s best matchups for a variety of reasons. First, the two are teammates and best friends off the field. On the field, both have emerged as a couple of the most heavily recruited players in the state.
Creecy is a physical wideout with polished route running skills. He can be nearly impossible to jam at the line of scrimmage and uses a host of quick moves to gain separation. Once open, Creecy has the best hands of any wide receiver in the state.
As for Marshall, while somewhat undersized now, he has tremendous cover skills and the hips to allow him to turn and run with fast wideouts. His recovery speed is excellent and while a receiver may appear open for a split second, Marshall has the quicks to close the gap in a hurry.
While these two have gone at it countless times in practice, it will be interesting to see them match up in this setting.
OL T.J. Leifheit (Hoggard) vs DE Alfy Hill (West Brunswick)
Although he hasn’t attended any combines this spring, Leifheit is one of the state’s most highly-coveted offensive linemen. On film he appears stronger in the run game so he may be at a disadvantage against Hill. It will be interesting to see how well Leifheit moves in pass protection and whether he has the foot speed to stay in front of Hill.
One on one battles are the perfect setting for Hill to show off his skills. He is arguably the state’s best pure defensive end and is a blur coming off the edge. Hill doesn’t use a variety of moves to beat the opposing linemen. For the most part he simply explodes up the field, mixing in an occasional spin move.
This could be a challenging matchup for Leifheit. If he’s able to get his hands on Hill then he should be able to go toe-to-toe with him. However, if he’s not able to move his feet and re-direct then Hill will win this battle easily.
LB Kendall Moore (Southeast Raleigh) vs RB Kevin Parks (West Rowan)
Both the running back and linebacker spots are fairly thin in the class of 2010 with Parks and Moore being two of the state’s best.
A combine setting is probably not the best forum for Parks to showcase his skills. He’s not big nor particularly fast. Parks is a guy that simply gets it done on Friday nights with above average running back skills. However, he’s a player that really loves to compete and there’s no doubt he’ll bring his A-game to prove he’s one of the state’s best.
Moore is arguably the state’s top linebacker and the matchup with Parks should be entertaining. This setting will allow Moore to show what he can do out in space and against a smaller back. This could be a challenge for Moore as he is 6-3 and pushing 230 pounds. Look for Moore to try to get his hands on Parks to slow him and interrupt his route out of the backfield.
WR Keenan Allen (Northern Guilford) vs S David Amerson (Dudley)
Allen versus Amerson could prove to be one of the combine’s most exciting matchups. Physically, both are very similar. Allen is probably a little more athletic and versatile while Amerson is a prototypical free safety type.
During the preseason Allen has probably received a little more hype than Amerson. The Northern Guilford standout is as smooth as any wide receiver in the state. He is effortless in his routes and pass-catching and just seems to make everything look so easy.
Amerson will do his best to make sure it isn’t easy on Saturday. He is one of the state’s top ball-hawking defensive backs and the key in this tight battle may be the quarterback throwing the ball. Amerson does a tremendous job of baiting QB’s by giving the impression of space when there is none. He can then take advantage of his natural cover skills and vertical to make a play on the ball.
While Allen could also play defensive back, we expect he’ll put in some reps at receiver and a battle with Amerson should be fun to watch.
OL Takoby Cofield (Tarboro) vs DL Fre’Shad Hunter (Cary)
With Chapel Hill’s Rob Crisp sitting out this event, the offensive line position is fairly thin. One of the better linemen that will be in attendance is Cofield who boasts early offers from Duke and East Carolina.
Cofield has a good frame and size and like Leifheit, can be a handful if he gets his hands on the opposing defensive lineman. However, quickness is the name of the game when linemen square off and he’ll need to be on his game to slow down Hunter.
Hunter could project at tackle or end on defense but one thing for sure is you know you’re going to get 100% out of the rising senior on every rep. He loves to bull rush at the snap, create separation and then fly by the offensive linemen. While he’s not as quick as Hill, Hunter is still impressive and can make an offensive lineman look silly.