Shrine Bowl storylines: Future Gamecocks aplenty as all-stars

dmclemore@thestate.comDecember 14, 2013 

Gaffney's Shaq Davidson (4)

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com

The Gamecocks will be well-represented by future players Saturday, Dec. 21, in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

The 77th annual all-star game features the best high school players in the Carolinas and kicks off at 1 p.m. at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg. The S.C. team – the Sandlappers – won 23-19 last year and leads the all-time series 42-30-4.

Follow GoGamecocks.com this week for coverage of South Carolina's commitments and targets. Here are five Gamecocks-specific storylines for this year’s game:

1. The future

USC has seven commitments and two top targets in this year’s Shrine Bowl. That’s the most since the 2010 game, when USC had nine future players in the game: Jadeveon Clowney, Shon Carson, the Dixon brothers, Jerell Adams, Phillip Dukes, Shamier Jeffery, Ronnie Martin and Brandon Shell. Eight of the team’s 15 pledges for this year’s class are from inside South Carolina. Summerville defensive back Darin Smalls likely would be a Shrine Bowler had he not suffered a season-ending knee injury.

2. Shaq switch

Gaffney’s Shaq Davidson begins the transition from do-it-all high-school star to wide receiver. The top-rated prospect in USC’s class of 2014 accounted for almost 2,300 yards of offense and 19 touchdowns while missing two games with injuries and spending some time on defense. How is his health? And what does he think about playing receiver?

3. Derrell and Dexter

The Gamecocks aren’t done recruiting the 2014 class, and two top targets are playing on opposite sides in the Shrine Bowl: Havelock (N.C.) running back Derrell Scott finished his season with 2,143 rushing yards, 25 touchdowns and a third-straight state title. Saluda defensive lineman Dexter Wideman is already committed to Florida State, but USC is firmly in the mix to secure his services in the end.

4. Offense or defense?

Goose Creek High’s Kalan Ritchie was recruited to USC as a tight end but mostly played defensive end as a senior. Dillon High’s Joe Blue is thought to be a fullback at the next level but starred as a linebacker for the Wildcats. Both will line up on offense this week for the Sandlappers. What does their future with the Gamecocks hold?

5. Play time

Will a future Gamecock step up and be a standout in this year’s Shrine Bowl? Current freshman Pharoh Cooper turned heads last year with 300 all-purpose yards, a touchdown run and the N.C. team’s offensive MVP honors. In 2010, Shon Carson ran for 82 yards and a score, while Jerell Adams had three touchdown catches. This year, Chapman’s Tyshun Samuel has a knack for finding the end zone and could make a big play or two Saturday. Crosby or Scott also should have a chance to shine.

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