Shrine Bowl Day 1 Practice Notes

In the early going the defense appears ahead of the offense. The SC defense was swarming all morning and looked impressive in one on one drills. Mark Barnes played like a superstar for the Sandlapper defense and was there to give you all the latest scoop and coverage from practices at Dorman High School.

On a beautiful day at Dorman High School the South Carolina Shrine Bowl team got its first taste of action in the morning practice. With the offense trying to grasp this year's offensive scheme the defense stole the show in the day's first practice session. Below are some of the most impressive performers from the morning session:

Day 1 SC Standouts

S Mark Barnes-RNE High School
The #2 rated safety in the nation looked every bit of it Monday morning. Barnes blanketed receivers and made 2 interceptions of QB Willy Korn during drills along with a number of pass deflections against QB Matt Lentz. His closing speed was evident as coaches in attendance were all buzzing about the 5 star stud. We caught up with Barnes and he informed us that, "It's still down to South Carolina and Louisville."

DE Cliff Matthews-Cheraw High School
Fresh off a AA state championship victory a week ago Matthews was virtually unstoppable all morning during drills. In the one on ones he displayed a vast array of moves and the speed that makes him such a problem for offensive linemen to handle. During team drills it seemed like he pitched a tent in the offensive backfield as he harassed quarterbacks and running backs on almost every play. Bet your bottom dollar Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks have themselves a budding superstar on their hands as he continues to add strength to his already blazing speed off the end.

LB Charles White-Blythewood High School
Also winning a state championship crown in AAA play last weekend was LB Charles White. He and DE Cliff Matthews were on the same page as they continued to make plays on the practice fields at Dorman High. White penetrated the offensive line on numerous occasions and made at least half a dozen tackles for loss. His nose for the ball matched with outstanding speed should help the Sandlapper defense tremendously. Having committed to the Georgia Bulldogs the have snagged another top flight defensive player from the state of South Carolina (C.J. Byrd & Prince Miller).

LB Scotty Cooper-Lake City High School
Cooper behind Mark Barnes is probably the top player left on the board in the state of South Carolina for the class of 2007. Monday morning Cooper showed the ability that makes him such a priority target for the Clemson Tigers. Currently he's a soft verbal to Tommy Bowden's team but the LSU Tigers are the alternative team should he decide to decommit. (Note: Clemson asst. Brad Scott was in attendance and made sure that Cooper was aware of his presence being front and center everywhere Cooper practiced.)

DL Delvin Johnson-Woodruff High School
Johnson was one of our sleeper picks coming into the Shrine Bowl and he didn't disappoint on Monday. At 6'4 265 pounds he has a solid frame and is pretty nimble for his size. Johnson showed off during one on one drills and got his teammates riled up with a bevy of moves to shed his blockers. Delvin continued his strong play during the team drills as he made a number of plays stopping ballcarriers in the backfield or for no gain. College coaches in attendance were sure to like what they saw of him early on so you can expect his recruitment to pick up tremendously if he continues his impressive play this week.

DL Charles Jones-Lake View High School
Like Delvin Johnson, Charles Jones came out Monday morning and made a strong statement with his play. Between Jones, Delvin Johnson, and Cliff Matthews a clinic was put on as they dominated the offensive linemen in one on ones. Jones may not have had the reputation of the others coming in but he played with a chip on his shoulder and went to work. Coaches and teammates were both applauding his work as he made play after play shedding his blockers during one on ones. After his session however he tweaked something and the training staff had to attend to him. He told us that he was advised to sit out the rest of the day's practice for safety and further evaluation. Hopefully the injury isn't major and he's able to come back healthy and impress the college coaches and analysts in attendance.

DT Jarvis Jenkins-Daniel High School
The Clemson Tigers locked him up early and it was evident early on that he came to play. One of the largest members of the SC squad Jenkins at 6'5 300+ pounds he played like a manchild on Monday morning. Unlike the rest of his aforementioned teammates above it wasn't about a lot of moves for Jenkins. It was all about pure power as he moved his opposition backwards most of the day causing havoc for the offense. Jenkins is also one of the more vocal guys on the defense as he barked out sets to teammates and offered praise when the defense made big plays.

Injury Report
-DL Charles Jones went down with an unspecified injury after one on one drills and was told to sit out for further evaluation. We'll have an update as soon as possible.
-LB Stanley Hunter didn't practice as he had to have an MRI done early Monday for a nagging injury he suffered in the playoffs against Gaffney. He says that he hopes to be cleared for practice by Tuesday but we'll keep a close eye on the situation.

Schools With Coaches In Attendance
South Carolina, Clemson, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Duke, East Carolina, Newberry, Presbyterian, Wingate, Mars Hill, Western Carolina, etc. (there were many more but our focus was primarily on the players)

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