USC commitments discuss Shrine Bowl selection

Five of South Carolina's current commitments were named Thursday as participants in the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, an annual all-star event which features the best players from the states of North Carolina and South Carolina. Read inside as USC's commitments discuss the honor of being selected to the Shrine Bowl and what they're looking forward to about the event.

South Pointe standout Stephon Gilmore, arguably the gem of USC's 2009 recruiting class, was selected to play quarterback for the Sandlappers. Although Gilmore projects to play cornerback on the college level, many believe that he is the best senior quarterback in-state this year, and he'll have an opportunity to showcase his offensive talents at the Shrine Bowl.

"It's a great opportunity to play in the Shrine Bowl," Gilmore said on Thursday night. "I'm looking forward to meeting different players and showing what I can do."

Central HS tight end/defensive end and fellow USC commitment Justice Cunningham echoed Gilmore's sentiments about the opportunity to play in the Shrine Bowl.

"I've been wanting to go there ever since my freshman year so I'm really happy about it. I'm looking forward to playing with some of my friends and the people I've met at the combines," said Cunningham. "It'll be great competing against so much top talent."

Cunningham is good friends with highly touted Greenwood defensive end Sam Montgomery, and while the two have played together as teammates on the basketball court before, this will be their first opportunity to line up on the gridiron together - likely even playing on the same defensive line.

"That will be fun playing with Sam. Maybe we can get some sacks together. That'll be the first time we've played together football-wise."

As one of South Carolina's earlier commitments in this class, Cunningham is firm in his pledge to the Gamecocks and plans on recruiting some of the other players at the Shrine Bowl to join him at USC.

"I'll probably talk with a few of the guys about coming to South Carolina, especially Sam."

The third and final USC commitment on the Sandlappers is Beaufort defensive back Jimmy Legree. He could not be reached for comment about his selection to the Shrine Bowl.

As for the future Gamecocks on the North Carolina roster, hard-hitting safety/linebacker Quin Smith is very excited about his selection to the Shrine Bowl because players from Hibriten HS and his hometown of Lenoir, NC have historically been overlooked as participants.

"I'm looking forward to playing in the Shrine Bowl a lot because nobody where I'm from has really done that. I've worked really hard, and it's a great honor to be able to represent my school and my community. Hopefully we'll come out with a win," said Smith.

Smith is also looking forward to the camaraderie and friendships that are built through an event like the Shrine Bowl.

"I'm really looking forward to getting to know a lot of the guys from around the state better. That will be a lot of fun."

TC Roberson standout offensive lineman Nick Allison has had a strong senior season, establishing himself as one of the best line prospects in the Tar Heel State this year, and he's also excited about being selected to the Shrine Bowl.

"The Shrine Bowl is more prestigious even than being selected all-state because it's all classifications, not just 3A or 4A. It's a great honor," Allison said. "It's going to be a great experience to get to see all the top talent from North Carolina and South Carolina. I'll get to meet a lot of different people. I know it's going to be a lot of fun."

Some of South Carolina's top in-state targets will also participate in the game, including Calhoun County wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, Greenwood defensive end Sam Montgomery, Greenwood safety D.J. Swearinger, and Timberland offensive lineman Quinton Washington.

One prospect on the North Carolina roster the Gamecocks have recently gotten involved with but have not yet offered is Shelby wide receiver Larry Raper. He will participate in the game as well.

This year's event will be the 72nd annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. The game will be played on December 20th at Gibbs Stadium (Wofford College). Kickoff will be at 1 p.m.

Stay tuned to for complete coverage of this year's Shrine Bowl.

To discuss this article, visit GamecockAnthem's premium forum - The Golden Spur.

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories