Anthony, Clowney impress at Shrine Bowl practice

by - Senior Writer -

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Tuesday afternoon’s Shrine Bowl practice was held in freezing temperatures on the practice fields behind Spartanburg High School, and visitors could alternate between watching the North Carolina squad and the South Carolina squad.

On the North Carolina field, all eyes were on Anson (Wadesboro, N.C.) linebacker Stephone Anthony, the No. 1-rated linebacker prospect in the state of North Carolina. Anthony, who is the nation’s No. 31 overall prospect and No. 4 overall linebacker by, is trying to decide between Clemson, Florida, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech.

Richard Davis, the linebackers coach at Anson who coached Anthony all four years of high school, said that he knew he had a good one on his hands when Stephone was a freshman.

“I knew he had all the potential in the world from day one,” Davis said Tuesday afternoon. “He had all the physical tools and he has put in a lot of hard work and it came to fruition for him. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to coach a kid like that. He has great pad level, and he uses his hands to defeat blockers.

“He is fundamentally sound and really doesn’t have many weaknesses. He works, and he is so strong and so explosive. He really finishes tackles. He is explosive in his hips and once he gets his hands on you, you don’t get away. In college, all he really needs to work on is his coverage in the zone. Sometimes he tries to do too much, but I am sure that will change when he is surrounded by more talented players.”

Anthony said it was just good to get away from the grind of recruiting.

“It is an honor to be selected for the Shrine Bowl team, and to just be out here with a lot of great players,” Anthony told TigerNet. “It is good to get away from recruiting for a while, and to just clear my head a little bit. But we have to remember what this is all about, and that is raising money for these kids. Going to the hospital on Sunday was something I will never forget.”

Clemson tight end commitment Eric MacLain, out of Fayetteville’s Jack Britt High School, is a big kid (6-5, 245) and appears ready to don his Clemson uniform. He looked good in blocking drills, and showed surprisingly soft hands. He wound up blocking against Anthony in several drills, and more than held his own.

On the South Carolina side, all eyes were on Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1-rated high school prospect in the country. The 6-6, 252-pound defensive end out of South Pointe is trying to decide between Alabama, Clemson, Florida State , LSU, and South Carolina, but claims no leader among those schools.

South Pointe head coach Bobby Carroll was on hand to watch his former player, and said – just before answering a call from Ohio St. - that despite a long list of great players he has coached in his 28 years, Clowney is the best.

“He is a great person with great God-given talent,” Carroll said. “He is extremely fast and flexible, and he loves to play the game. He is extremely competitive and hates to lose. What more can you ask for? I’ve coached five NFL players, three first round draft picks, and I’ve had players go to Ohio St., Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida St., and I’ve never coached one like him.”

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