Many UNC Targets Attend Shrine Bowl Combine

MEBANE, N.C. --- Approximately 85 players throughout the Tar Heel State participated in the Shrine Bowl Invitation Only Combine held at Eastern Alamance High School Saturday.

More than 100 players throughout the state were invited to the event, which serves as an important tool in the Shrine Bowl selection process. Participants were separated by position and worked out under the guidance of their respective position coach. The event consisted of three basic sessions – position oriented drills, one-on-one drills (passing and pass rush), and "team" drills (7-on-7 and inside run).

The largest group – and arguable the most talented – was the defensive backs. Included within the 17 participants were: David Amerson (Greensboro Dudley), Detric Allen (South Stanly), P.J. Clyburn (West Iredell), Darius Drummond (Asheville), A.J. Marshall (Southern Durham), Kewitt Koonce (Kinston), Pete Singer (Chapel Hill), and Chandler Wrightenberry (Asheville Roberson).

"I might be a little biased, but of course I like my guy [Amerson]," Shrine Bowl assistant coach Steven Davis said. "I know what he can do, because I've watched him the last couple of years."

Davis, who is the head coach of Greensboro Dudley and will coach the defensive backs in the Shrine Bowl, was also impressed by Marshall, Quan Stevenson (High Point Andrews), and Robert Parker (North Mecklenburg).

During one-on-ones, the two receivers that gave the defensive backs the most problems were Tony Creecy (Southern Durham) and Matt James (Raleigh Sanderson).

Taking advantage of his 6-foot-6 length and long stride, James ran a lot of go routes. He's an unpolished route runner and still looks awkward while catching, but he caught most of his catchable passes.

Putting it simply: Creecy is just difficult to cover one-on-one. He's an excellent route runner and seems to catch everything thrown his way.

"My secret is swag," Creecy said. "… To play receiver, you have to have a little swag. You have to have that mentality: ‘Can't nobody put their hands on you, can't nobody guard you.' I'm just so confident in my hands, because I catch so much."

Creecy, who is up to 29 scholarship offers and no longer claims NC State as his leader, says all day long he carries around a tennis ball, which he'll toss to himself – even when he's laying in bed.

On the opposite side of the field, tight ends Ethan Farmer (South Columbus) and Trevor Sawyer (Asheville) gave linebackers fits during one-on-one passing drills. Both were extremely physical and displayed the ability to come up with difficult catches.

Rivaling the DBs for the title of most talented group was the defensive line. Division I-A recruits Alfy Hill (West Brunswick), Darius Kilgo (Matthews Weddington), and Kareem Martin (Roanoke Rapids) were among the group's standouts Saturday.

"They all look so good, I'm like a kid in the candy store," said Lenon Fisher, who is East Bladen's head coach and the Shrine Bowl's defensive line coach. "It's going to be a hard job picking them – it really is. Some awful good young men are going to be left out."

During one-on-on pass rush drills, Hill, Kilgo, and Martin were nearly unstoppable. While Kilgo won with power, Hill and Martin beat their opponents with speed and agility.

"I've been working on my stuff at home and came out here to see what I could do against this competition," Hill said. "Takoby Cofield [Tarboro], he got me one time, but I came back and got him again."

In addition to Cofield, the offensive line group received strong performances from Kendall Lamm (Matthews Butler), Corey Robinson (Havelock), and Will Sawyer (Pasquotank).

Noticeably absent were two of the state's top O-lineman – Robert Crisp (Chapel Hill) and T.J. Leifheit (Wilmington Hoggard). Both were in attendance, but neither participated in one-on-one drills. Crisp, an NC State pledge, was sick and watched from the stands and Leifheit had turf toe and took part in every activity, except one-on-ones.

"I hurt my foot," Leifheit said. "It's not a big deal. They just didn't want me to do any one-on-ones to hurt it further. It happened during weightlifting."

Other notable attendees include: James Baldwin (Southern Pines Pinecrest), Tyler Brosius (Waynesville Tuscola), Desi Brown (South Stanly(, Major Bryant (Greensboro Dudley), Braxton Deaver (Charlotte Providence), Gabe Henderson (Southeast Raleigh), Darius Lipford (Lenoir Hibriten), Kendall Moore (Southeast Raleigh), Prince Shembo (Charlotte Ardrey Kell), Chris Smith (West Rowan), Josh Snead (Smithfield-Selma), Justin Taylor (South Stanly), and Tamari White (Jacksonville White Oak).

Inside Carolina Top Stories