FORT MILL, S.C. — Player selections for the 77th Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas were announced Thursday and for the fourth consecutive year, no Robeson County player was chosen to represent North Carolina.
Shrine Bowl selections are made by participating coaches after extensive review of highlight film and in-person combine scouting during the spring. Lumberton’s Jermaine Kesler, a defensive tackle who now stars at Winston-Salem State, was this area’s last representative in 2009.
Forty players were chosen from both states, most highly-recruited athletes heading to Division I schools. Several local seniors graded out well at combines this spring hosted by Eastern Alamance and Rocky River including Red Springs quarterback Blake Greene, Fairmont defensive back Zach Caudle and Lumberton linebacker Demetri Sheridan.
“Our mission was maybe not select the best kids, but the right kids that can play and try to mold them into a team,” said Lee County coach Burton Cates, North Carolina’s head coach. “Our coaches did a great job of evaluating talent not only at the combine but any film we received. We’re going to look at this list today and see some guys that maybe aren’t on a college list that caught our eye at the combine.”
From the 4A Southeastern Conference, Hoke lineman Tobias Edge-Campbell and Scotland’s Trejon Monley were invited. Lamont Gaillard from Pine Forest was the region’s only other selection.
Gaillard is the Shrine Bowl’s highest-rated player, a five-star Georgia commit and the top interior pass rusher in the southeast according to 247Sports.
One of the all-star game’s strongest positions — quarterback — features N.C. State commit Jalan McClendon (6-foot-3, 195) from West Mecklenburg High, future Georgia Bulldog Jacob Park at Stratford (Charleston, S.C.), Central Cabarrus’ Hasaan Klugh and Northwestern product Mason Rudolph (Rock Hill, S.C.). Rudolph’s headed to Oklahoma State and is a prized future playmaker for head coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys’ uptempo attack.
“In our system, we need quarterbacks that are athletic, you know, running quarterbacks,” said South Carolina coach Tommy Brown from Orangeburg-Wilkinson High. “We need ones that can roll-out and both of our quarterbacks demonstrated an ability to do that during combines.”
Joining Cates on the Tar Heels coaching staff is Southern Guilford’s Darryl Brown, Plymouth’s Robert Cody, Blair Hardin from Plymouth, Mark Little at nearby West Columbus, Northern Nash coach Randy Raper and Phil Tate at South Point.
The oldest high school football all-star game in the country will be played on Dec. 21 at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C. Full rosters for North Carolina and South Carolina can be viewed on the Shrine Bowl’s website.