December 19, 2006

Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas top 10

[rl] The 70th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is in the book and it marked the end of an interesting week in Spartanburg, S.C. Only a handful of players played as they practiced and were impressive throughout the week while some were only able to shine during practice or during the game. Based on a full week of practice and based especially on the game itself, Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell breaks down his top 10.

Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas top 10

10. Markish Jones, WR, South Carolina (Broome HS)

Jones has excellent speed, catches the ball with his hands and has some wiggle after the catch. He's also a very smart receiver who runs good routes and will battle for the football. He made plays all week in practice and in the game itself.

9. Mark Barnes, DB, South Carolina (Richland Northeast HS)

Barnes was a tough one to place because he was solid in practice all week and showed excellent anticipation but struggled a bit in the game itself despite quite a few tackles. His athletic ability is unquestioned, but he needs to stay square in run support and avoid running past plays. Arguably one of the top athletes at the event, he just needs some refining.

8. Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina (Cummings HS)

Jones didn't do a whole lot in practice during the week but they weren't throwing the ball his way anyhow. However, he did look disinterested at times. But when the lights came on he made the biggest offensive play of the game on either side. He is big, strong and has excellent quickness and the highest ceiling of anyone at the event when it comes to potential.

7. Melvin Ingram, LB, North Carolina (Richland County HS)

Ingram has tremendous leaderships skills, has very good anticipation and is willing to take on bigger blockers to make the play. His long reach and quickness allows him to run down plays from anywhere on the field and he's solid in pass coverage. He wasn't dominant in the game as expected despite his touchdown, but he has very good potential.

6. Weslye Saunders, DL, North Carolina (Riverside HS)

Saunders is a remarkable athlete for his size. He moves so well for a big man that he could play numerous positions at the next level. Saunders is strong enough to collapse the pocket, quick enough to run plays down along the line and to the outside and more than tall enough to disrupt the passing lanes.

5. Travian Robertson, DE, North Carolina (Scotland County HS)

Robertson injured his ankle early in the week and still didn't seem to lose a step off the edge. He's tall and disruptive in the passing game and he holds his own against the run. Robertson is a terrific athlete with a frame to fill out and he has the look of an excellent pass rusher at the next level.

4. Dominique Ellis, DB, North Carolina (East Wake HS)

Ellis is a sure tackler who is excellent in run support and who plays physically. He's quick to the ball in the air and reads the quarterback well. He also showed excellent ability to play the option during practice and he makes good decisions on when to come up in run support.

3. Jason Barnes, WR, North Carolina (Independence HS)

Barnes came up big all week, especially in the game where he made a bunch of nice catches, adjusting to the ball well in the air. Barnes runs good routes and has reliable hands. He's also physically tough and willing to take a hit to make a catch.

2. Cliff Matthews, DE, South Carolina (Cheraw HS)

I was a doubter of Matthews coming into the week because of his skinny frame but his play during practice and the game has me believing. Matthews is extremely fast off the football, has great pursuit speed and is a hustler and big hitter. If the weight comes naturally, he will be very good.

1. Marcus Gilchrist, CB, North Carolina (T.W. Andrews HS)

Gilchrist was consistent all week and was outstanding in the game. He showed terrific ball skills, sticky coverage ability and was a solid tackler all week. Add in his knack for being around the football for big plays and his special teams ability and he had the best week of anyone.

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