Shrine bowl of the carolinas

Bryce King chose USC long ago

Standout Dillon offensive lineman is a longtime fan of the Gamecocks

pobley@thestate.comDecember 12, 2012 

USC offensive line commitment Bryce King from Dillon, during practice for the 76th Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas practice at Spartanburg High School.

JEFF BLAKE — jblake@thestate.com

  • SHRINE BOWL What: 76th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas Who: South Carolina vs. North Carolina all-stars When: Saturday, 1 p.m. Where: Wofford’s Gibbs Stadium, Spartanburg Tickets: $15
  • HOMEGROWN USC’s offensive line commitments in the Class of 2013 include two players from Dillon High:
    PlayerHgt./Wgt.Hometown
    Bryce King6-4/290Dillon
    Alan Knott6-5/270Tyrone, Ga.
    D.J. Park6-6/315Dillon
    J.P. Vonashek6-7/275Kingsland, Ga.

— Bryce King is one of the state’s best offensive linemen at the high school level.

You would think such a lofty status would lead to much intrigue about where the Dillon senior would attend college. You would be wrong.

Pick through these tea leaves and see if you can figure out where the 6-foot-3, 295-pound standout was leaning:

“I grew up a South Carolina fan as a kid. I felt like South Carolina was my home,” King said this week as he prepared for Saturday’s latest edition of the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

“I went to all the home games,” King added. “I try to do that every year.”

If you guessed Clemson, you would be wrong.

King did what he could to draw out the suspense, but he gave in moments after USC’s spring game last April, declaring his intention to play for the Gamecocks not long after teammate and fellow Shrine Bowl invitee DJ Park did the same.

“I’m excited about it. Ready to get out there,” King said. “There was no one else. I stuck with my school and that’s South Carolina.”

King arrived in Spartanburg for the Shrine Bowl one week removed from Dillon’s 21-6 state championship victory against Fairfield Central.

He played right tackle for Dillon, but some recruiting services rate him as one of the nation’s top centers. One of those — 247Sports — ranks him No. 6 in the country at that position.

If he does play center, he will be vying to fill some big shoes. T.J. Johnson graduates this year after setting team records for most games started.

If enthusiasm counts for anything, King could find himself in the conversation to replace Johnson. Growing up, King never entertained the notion of following pro football, choosing to stay locked in with the Gamecocks.

“I went to the game when they beat No. 1 Alabama and that was probably the most exciting game I went to,” he said.

He remembers nothing of the ensuing loss to Kentucky.

“Ugh,” he said. “I don’t remember. I don’t know what they were doing.”

For now, though, he will focus on the Shrine Bowl. He recalled that when he heard the news of his invitation, he thought of it as a vital step toward his future.

“I was ecstatic,” he said. “I thought since a lot of boys that have been to the Shrine Bowl have made it to college and to the pros, I’ve got the same chance they had. It’s a good experience. I’m honored to be able to play in this game and play for these kids.”

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