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December 12, 2009
Shrine Bowl loaded with big-time talent
MORE: All-star games coverage | U.S. Army All-American Bowl selections
The annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is set for Saturday, Dec. 19 at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C., and will feature the best high school football players from the states of North Carolina and South Carolina.
The rosters on each side are loaded, led by five-star running back Marcus Lattimore for South Carolina and five-star athlete Keenan Allen for North Carolina.
Players will be arriving this weekend and practice begins on Monday in preparation for Saturday's game. Rivals.com will be on hand bringing live practice updates, notebooks, photo galleries, Hot 11s, roster breakdowns, chats and message board updates - and plenty of video.
Last year, South Carolina freshman Stephon Gilmore led the SC Sandlappers to a come-from-behind 24-16 win over the NC Tar Heels squad. Other notables in the game last year included UNC defensive lineman Donte Moss, Clemson defensive lineman Malliciah Goodman and South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Some current NFL standouts who have played in the game in the past include Houston Texans star Mario Williams, Minnesota Vikings receiver Sidney Rice, San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
Each side boasts plenty of talent this year. The South Carolina squad is led by Lattimore - the subject of a serious recruiting battle between South Carolina, Auburn, Penn State, North Carolina, Oregon, Georgia, Florida State and others. Lattimore, from Duncan Byrnes, will be joined on offense by Anderson T.L. Hanna wide receiver Martavis Bryant (Clemson commitment); Central D.W. Daniel athlete DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson commitment); Bamberg-Ehrhardt offensive lineman A.J. Cann (South Carolina commitment) and Irmo running back Mustafa Greene (UNC, NC State, Rutgers all recruiting).
On defense, the South Carolina squad is even deeper. The group includes Lattimore's teammate, defensive end Corey Miller (Tennessee commitment); Greenwood defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles (South Carolina commitment); Manning defensive back John Fulton (choosing between South Carolina and Alabama) and Beaufort linebacker Justin Parker (Clemson, South Carolina and others recruiting).
In addition to Bryant and Hopkins, in-state power Clemson Allendale (S.C.) Allendale Fairfax athlete Bashaud Breeland is another notable on the South Carolina squad committed to the Tigers. In addition to Quarles and Cann, St. Matthews (S.C.) Calhoun County linebacker Brandon Golson is another notable commitment to the Gamecocks.
The North Carolina squad is led by Allen, an Alabama commitment from Greensboro Northern Guilford. He can play on both sides of the ball, but is listed as a defensive back on the roster. The North Carolina offense will be led by Tabor City South Columbus tight end Ethan Farmer (Clemson, UNC, NC State and others recruiting), Tarboro offensive tackle Takoby Cofield (Duke commitment) and Waynesville Tuscola Senior quarterback Tyler Brosius (NC State commitment).
On defense, Allen will be joined by Charlotte Ardrey Kell linebacker Prince Shembo (Notre Dame commitment), Greensboro Dudley defensive back David Amerson (NC State commitment) and Durham Southern Durham defensive back A.J. Marshall (Wake Forest commitment).
In addition to Brosius and Amerson, NC State boasts a commitment from Shelby (N.C.) Crest athlete Reggie Wilkins. Smithfield (N.C.) Selma athlete Joshua Snead is another notable committed to Duke in addition to Cofield.
A few notables from South Carolina not participating in the Shrine Bowl this year include four-star defensive end Brandon Willis from Duncan Byrnes, four-star offensive lineman Eric Mack from St. Matthews Calhoun County and four-star defensive back Victor Hampton from Darlington.
On the North Carolina side, Raleigh (N.C.) Athens Drive offensive tackle Robert Crisp, Shallotte West Brunswick four-star defensive end/linebacker Alfy Hill, Cary four-star defensive end Fre'Shad Hunter and Durham Southern Durham four-star wide receiver Anthony Creecy are absent from the roster.