Pack Pride was on hand for this past weekend’s Shrine Bowl held in Spartanburg, SC and has some of the highs and lows from the North Carolina squad’s 24-14 victory.
Player with the most college potential
This is an easy one- Keenan Allen. While most of the other players looked like they belonged in the Shrine Bowl, you could tell Allen was on another level talent-wise, despite getting limited touches. He was difficult to get on the ground every time he touched the ball and rarely did the first defender tackle him. Allen is so smooth and athletic and was a much bigger get for Alabama than many may realize. One has to wonder why in the heck he didn’t touch the ball more on Saturday.
A lot of hype, not much production
With a four star rating and a ton of hype, one would have expected more from Byrnes DE Corey Miller. The fact was, he was controlled much of the day by a bunch of unknowns along the Tarheel offensive line and finished with two solo tackles (3 total) and one sack.
What were they thinking?
Set on running a wing-T offense, you couldn’t help but wonder why the NC staff picked two spread offense QB’s in Tyler Brosius and Anthony Carrothers to run the show. Carrothers was a bigger threat in the run game and neither did anything to hurt the team but their selections for this type of offense was puzzling. They did go to a spread offense on one series with Brosius at the helm and completed a couple of short passes but it was apparent that there simply wasn’t enough reps put in for this to be very successful.
Sleeper that impressed most
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that I was a little disappointed when Southern Durham LB T.J. Ross was selected over teammate and Wolfpack commit, Tony Creecy. However, I have to give Ross credit. He played a whale of a game and laid a beautiful hit on all-everything RB Marcus Lattimore on one play. Ross was very active and made a bunch of plays- finishing third in team tackles with six. He may be better suited at strong safety on the next level but I was impressed and he proved he belonged.
Four reasons why NC State fans should be excited
Thomas Teal, Tyler Brsoius, David Amerson, Reggie Wilkins...These four guys really impressed me in varying degrees on Saturday. I think all four represented themselves well and all four will become major contributors for the Pack- mark it down. Here’s why:
Tyler Brosius- tremendous frame and a big-time arm. This guy is the prototypical quarterback for the Dana Bible spread attack. He’s much more athletic than you’d think and is solid all-around. Although he wasn’t necessarily a fit for the offense used Saturday at the Shrine Bowl, I was impressed that he never sulked and proved to be a great team player. It was obvious to me that, on the few passes he did throw, Reggie Wilkins was his favorite guy.
Thomas Teal- For what NC State wants to accomplish along the defensive line, Teal is an absolute perfect fit. He is a fire hydrant that can occupy gaps and multiple offensive linemen. The offense simply can’t get a solid push on him and at times, seems like Teal is stuck in cement. He’s just that tough to move. Teal also showed that he can move down the line and make plays as well. He will need to improve his stamina and get better at getting off blocks because he missed a couple of tackles that could have been made. However, with time, Teal’s gonna be a fixture on the interior of State’s front four.
David Amerson- love him. He’s just a solid, all-around football player. Although he played safety almost exclusively as a senior, Amerson made the transition to corner look seamless. He has good cover skills that will obviously need refining but the basics are there. Amerson is a natural with his back pedal but the thing that impressed the most was his willingness to get physical and this is what will set him apart once he gets to NC State.
Reggie Wilkins- He didn’t get a lot of touches but when he did, he showed exactly what the NC State coaches must love about his potential once he gets to Raleigh. While the Pack boasts a bunch of solid, possession-type or deep threat receivers, they lack a guy with quickness and shiftiness than can take a short pass and turn it into a huge gain. This is exactly where Wilkins excels and his addition will certainly give the Wolfpack a more complete offense.
Overall Top 5 Performers from the Shrine Bowl
Just one man’s opinion but here are my top five based on production and potential:
1. Keenan Allen- all around stud
2. DeAndre Hopkins- really nice player committed to Clemson
3. Marcus Lattimore- may be over-rated to some degree but a lot of potential
4. Kareem Martin- played well and will be a nice college player down the road
5. Chris Smith- Smith is a play maker, likely a LB in college
Count me on the Kevin Parks bandwagon. He’s not big enough. He’s not fast enough. But what Kevin Parks does is go out and produce every time he steps on the field. Playing behind a lightly regarded offensive line, Parks churned out nearly 100 yards on the ground and came up big late in the fourth when it mattered most. If the Pack misses on James White and Mustafa Greene, it wouldn’t be a disappointment at all if they decided to target Parks.