- Craig Haubert, ESPN Staff Writer
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is an all-star game that features many of the best prospects from North Carolina and South Carolina squaring off against each other. The game is on Saturday, but the practices are a great place to evaluate the players. Wednesday's practice features cold, but but bearable temperatures.
The rosters feature two five-star prospects as well as several ESPNU 150 players. One of those five stars taking part in the game is defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (Rock Hill, S.C./South Pointe), who's No. 1 in the ESPNU 150. Clowney, who is dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered earlier in the week, was at the morning practice, but did not participate and was absent altogether from the afternoon practice. While the nation's top prospect may have been out of action, there was still plenty of fine talent on the practice fields.
North Carolina's Vad Lee (Durham, N.C./Hillside) stood out the most among the talented group of QBs. The Georgia Tech commit, who is No. 104 in the ESPNU 150 and ranked as the No. 15 athlete in the nation, needs to keep developing his frame, but has good height. A good overall athlete with a nice combination of explosiveness and speed, Lee threw the ball well displaying good zip and accuracy. I was impressed with his ability as a passer and those skills combined with his athleticism could make him a dangerous player in the Yellow Jackets' system. Four-star Marquise Williams (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) is also at the quarterback spot for the North Carolina squad and with good size and arm strength he showed some flashes on Wednesday.
The national Gatorade Player of the Year, Justin Worley (Rock Hill, S.C. /Northwestern), is among the quarterbacks for the South Carolina squad. The Tennessee commit showcased his ability to throw the deep ball. The other South Carolina quarterback is Everett Golson (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) a Notre Dame commit. He lacks ideal size and when I saw him he was having a tough time hooking up with his targets, but he displayed his athleticism and flashed good arm strength
It's good to be a South Carolina QB because they'll be able to throw to two very good targets. One is five-star Charone Peake (Roebuck, S.C./Dorman) a Clemson commit. It was a fairly quiet day for the nation's top-ranked receiver, at least when I was observing the South Carolina practices, but he still possesses the type of measureables coveted at the position and his ability as a vertical threat was still evident even if he was not catching the ball. The receiver who had the strongest day between both teams was South Carolina commit Shamier Jeffery (Saint Matthews, S.C./Calhoun County). The younger brother of current Gamecocks receiver Alshon, Shamier is not quite the imposing physical presence his brother is, but he is still a big target who can make plays. The three-star receiver is a long limbed kid who displayed very good body control and soft hands as he consistently plucked the ball out of the air.
The North Carolina squad has some tough and productive players in their front seven, led by No. 1 rated outside linebacker Stephone Anthony (Wadeboro, N.C./Anson Senior). An active and quick defender, Anthony was playing inside and his range, ability to play downhill, and closing burst could be seen. Anthony told me he plans to officially visit Florida, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and NC State, in that order, after the New Year. He also mentioned North Carolina as a program that was on his radar. While Anthony is an excellent linebacker he also displayed some skills as a talent evaluator. When asked who was standing out to him he mentioned his teammate Ben Councell (Asheville, N.C./A.C. Reynolds) and after watching I would have to agree that the Notre Dame commit looked good in practice. He needs to keep adding bulk to his long frame, but he is a physical kid when taking on blockers and runs well. While watching Councell it seemed clear that Notre Dame got a prospect that will fit very well in their 3-4 scheme. On the defensive line Devonte Brown (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) had a strong day. The top-ranked defensive tackle in North Carolina showed the motor and physical nature that we liked when we saw him on film. He flashed good quickness off the ball and was active as a pass rusher displaying the ability to battle with his hands and attack half-a-man.
The No. 1 overall player may not have taken part in practice today, but his high school teammate Gerald Dixon (Rock Hill, S.C./South Pointe) did and had a strong goal-line period in the morning session. The three-star defensive lineman was quick off the ball and physical and was able to stuff a pair of plays. ... One of the top offensive linemen in the game is South Carolina commit Brandon Shell (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek). The offensive tackle is a physically good looking kid and came across as much leaner and streamlined then expected and he carried his weight very well. He showed nice room for further physical development. He shows upside, but pad level needs to improve. He can show good bend in his stance, but tends to pop up and get high when engaging defenders. He also needs to keep developing as a pass blocker. He has the arm length to keep pass rushers off of him and ride them past the pocket. He flashes the ability to be able to slide and mirror rushers, but needs to work on his quick set and quick edge rushers could give him some problems. ... Four-star tight end Eric Ebron (Greensboro, N.C./Smith) needs to work to fill out his frame, but he was productive as a receiving target though he did tend to catch some balls into his body. He shows some big play ability on film and had flashes Wednesday, but we did not get a chance to see him go up and high-point the ball, which he does well on film, and while a bit cold we would have liked to seen a little more consistency from the North Carolina commit.
Craig Haubert is the recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has more than a decade of coaching experience. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.