The first official day of practice began early for the players of both
North and South Carolina Monday morning. The players had breakfast around 7:00 am and left for the practice fields at 8:15. The South Carolina team is practicing at Northwestern High School while the North Carolina squad is at rival Rock Hill High School.
We watched this morning's two-hour session of the North Carolina squad
and will get our first look at the South Carolina team Tuesday morning.
Here is a look at the players that caught our attention for the NC team:
QB-Both Devon Drew of New Bern and Antonio Miller of Charlotte are good
looking athletes. Both quarterbacks are pass/run signal callers. Drew
is a little taller and thicker. We think he throws the ball with more zip. Miller appears to be a better runner. Miller is committed to ECU and Drew is still uncommitted. We think Drew looks like a future star at safety or outside linebacker with his 6-4, 215-pound frame.
RB-Perhaps the strength of this team will be the tailbacks. Andre Brown of Rose HS broke the season rushing record in North Carolina this season. He has explosive bursts and catches the ball well. Jamaal Edwards is committed to FSU. He has excellent quickness and cuts very well. Edwards and Brown are over 200 pounds and we think they are the key to this offense.Andrew Pearman will follow his brother to Virginia. Pearman is playing wing back and is one of the two or three fastest players on the NC squad. All three backs are major division I prospects.
WR-Two of the top three wide outs could also play corner. Jamar Bryant
of Rockingham runs very well. He also catches it well, but the best hands on this team belongs to Trimane Goddard. Goddard made one of the best catches we have seen this season with a diving grab in the morning session.Jerome Simpson is the bigger receiver who also runs well. These three prospects are major division I talents.
OL-This is not the strength of the North Carolina team. Perhaps the
most impressive physical specimen on the OL is Bryan Rogers of Monroe HS. His is 6-6 and 295 and has excellent conditioning.
DL-Three defensive lineman caught our attention. Marque Hall of Forest
Hills HS is 6-5 and 285. He also is one of the quickest defensive
tackles in the Carolinas. Hall is athletic and appears to be a good pass rusher. Brian Simmons of Monroe is 6-6 and 280. He is not as thick as Hall, but is the same kind of player. Getting these defensive tackles blocked will be a key to the SC offense. The defense end that caught our eye was Brandon Drumgoole of Ragsdale. He is a prototypical pass rusher at 6-6 and 225.
LB-This appears to be the strength of the NC defense. Chase Bullock of
Northern Durham is an inside linebacker that has committed to Maryland.
He is put together well and moves his feet well. The surprise of the group is Quentin Cotton of Glenn HS. Cotton could play inside or outside at the next level. He is an athletic prospect with a big upside. The fastest linebacker appeared to be Dannell Ellerbe of Rockingham. Ellerbe looks very comfortable dropping into coverage and chasing the ball on the perimeter.
DB-Without question the one defensive back that turn heads is Rod
Council of West Charlotte. Council is a speedster with excellent cover skills. He is perhaps one of the two or three fastest prospects we saw on Monday morning.
The coaches of the North Carolina squad were also impressive. This is a team with average or above average talent compared to recent Shrine Bowl squads.
Clemson coaches Burton Burns, Ron West, Dabo Swinney, David Blackwell and Mike O'Cain were at the afternoon practice of the North Carolina team. They will attend both practices of the South Carolina team on Tuesday.
Among the other college coaches that were in attendance Monday morning at
Rock Hill HS were South Carolina (Skip Holtz, Dave Roberts, Erik Kimrey and David Reeves), North Carolina, Vanderbilt, East Carolina (Rick Stockstill), Florida (Charlie Strong) and South Carolina State.
Conditions were cold for the morning practice, but the afternoon warmed
up. Also the field was too wet to stretch on during the morning so the NC squad utilized the RHHS gym.
Tuesday we will review the South Carolina squad and interview more
players and coaches for our afternoon radio show "The Overdrive" on 104.9 WCCP-FM.