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December 16, 2005

Shrine Bowl breakdown: South Carolina

SPARTANBURG, S.C.-Practice sessions are winding down for the 69th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and despite an ice storm putting a damper on festivities and activities, the teams have plowed forward and are ready for the 1 p.m. Saturday kickoff.

Here's a breakdown of some of the action from the South Carolina practices this week.

Without a doubt, the player that was the most impressive on the Sandlapper squad during practice this week was Rivals100 defensive end Ricky Sapp, a Clemson commit from Bamberg-Erhardt. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder has tremendous speed of the edge and is outstanding in space.

If Sapp is heading to a school where he has to put his hand down every play, he is two years away because of his size. Clemson, however, used a "bandit" linebacker in its scheme and Sapp can step in and make a contribution there immediately. He is a sleeker, faster version of the player that currently occupies that position for the Tigers, Gaines Adams, a future NFL player.

Sapp cemented his status as the Palmetto State's top prospect with his week's work and a big-time showing in Saturday's game could vault him to five-star status in the next release of the Rivals100.

South Carolina-bound offensive lineman Garrett Anderson also was impressive during the week. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder has outstanding feet and is stronger than what was once thought.

Anderson also plays with a nasty streak and had several devastating blocks during contact drills. He was the best along the Sandlapper offensive line this week. His performance, along with outstanding senior film and the fact that every college coach who had him in camp during the summer offered him a scholarship on the spot, could land him a spot in the lower third of the Rivals100 when it is released in January.

Rivals100 prospect Clifton Geathers of Carver's Bay played out of his natural position all week at defensive end. The 6-foot-8, 275-pounder battled hard and got better as the week went on, but don't expect him to play that position at the next level.

Geathers honestly does not know what school he will end up at or even where he wants to visit officially. He took two unofficial visits during the football season, to South Carolina (for the Gamecocks' 13-9 loss to Clemson on Nov. 19) and to Division I-AA South Carolina State. He mentioned only Hawaii and Southern Cal as schools he would like to visit.

Florida State, Tennessee, Georgia and Clemson are the other schools that have been mentioned in connection with Geathers.

Orangeburg-Wilkinson offensive lineman Jamal Medlin came into Shrine Bowl week holding one offer, from Maryland, and left with offers from N.C. State and Clemson. The 6-foot-6, 300-pounder also is getting increased attention from South Carolina.

Medlin was a surprise and clearly was the No. 2 offensive lineman behind Anderson this week.

The big question surrounding South Aiken outside linebacker Dekoda Watson heading into the week was if he could stand up and play linebacker after spending his high school career at defensive end. The answer was yes and it was evident from the first day of practice. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder came into the week holding offers from North Carolina and Kentucky, but picked up an offer from South Carolina after the first day of practice.

Broome athlete D.J. Moore played wide receiver for the majority of the week, but is expected to be a cornerback in college. The Vanderbilt commit showed off outstanding quickness and will be an asset in the return game in Nashville. There is a chance that he could pick up more scholarship offers following his performance.

Fairfield Central linebacker Sedric Griffin had a good week's work and is making the coaching staffs of several local Division I-AA programs sweat a bit. Griffin has adequate size (5 feet 10, 220 pounds), tremendous speed (4.41 second 40-yard dash) and also projects as a full qualifier academically.

His lack of attention from Division I-A schools is mind-boggling as he certainly didn't look out of place lining up with Watson, Rodney Paulk (South Carolina) and Julius Wilkerson (Clemson).

Expect some schools (perhaps North Carolina) to get involved with Griffin soon.

His teammate, Clemson-bound Rivals250 safety Darius Gaither put in a solid week's work.

Richland Northeast defensive tackle Adam Patterson showed that he can get to the ball carrier using a quick first step, but he needs to take better pursuit angles and get better fundamentally, which he will at the next level. He is a prospect that could drop a few spots when the Rivals100 is reshuffled in January, but still has all the physical tools to become a great one at the next level.

Vanderbilt wide receiver commit Matt Quinn of Byrnes ran good routes all week and seemed to have knack for getting open. That's no surprise as his high school head coach, Bobby Bentley is the South Carolina offensive coordinator. Still, he had some impressive grabs.

University of South Carolina wide receiver commit Moe Brown of Westside was the most complete prospect in the Sandlapper wide receiver corps. He needs to get more consistent with regards to catching the ball each and every time it comes near him, but has the speed and athleticism to get open and make plays. It will be interesting to see what Brown does during the game Saturday.

South Carolina quarterback Armanti Edwards of Greenwood shared time with sleeper Stan Doolittle of Ninety-Six this week. The New Mexico State-bound prospect looks good with the ball in his hands and will be a good fit in Las Cruces.

Doolittle was solid the entire week. He should throw a lot of balls in the game Saturday. Look for him to start getting some Division I-A attention in the near future, potentially from Middle Tennessee State where former South Carolina recruiting coordinator Rick Stockstill is now the head coach.

Westside defensive tackle Chris Donaldson makes a ton of plays and could be a dark horse for a major Division I-A scholarship offer.

The Shrine Bowl kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday at Gibbs Stadium on the campus of Wofford College.


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