December 15, 2006

Shrine Bowl: The matchups

[rl]SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas will be played on Saturday after a week of practice and preparation for the North Carolina and South Carolina teams. Some of the potential matchups on either side of the ball have a lot of scouts and fans alike excited.

Here are some of the best...

Shrine Bowl matchups

OT Landon Walker vs. DE Cliff Matthews

Walker, a Clemson commitment, is the best offensive lineman on the North Carolina team while Matthews, a South Carolina commitment, is the fastest player off the edge for his team. Walker has the bulk advantage as he has at least 45 pounds on Matthews, but can he handle his quick first step?

WR Junior Hemingway vs. CB Chris Culliver

Hemingway is the biggest and strongest receiver for the South Carolina team and Culliver is easily the largest and strongest corner for North Carolina. Culliver is more of a pure safety than a corner so he could have trouble staying with Hemingway, whose route running and deceptive speed has given many trouble all week.

WR Dwight Jones vs. CB Gary Gray

Will the true five-star in Jones come out during the game? He's lacked that "wow" factor in practice but he's clearly quite gifted physically. Gray is a good lockdown corner but he's giving up six inches and at least 30 pounds to Jones. This will be the true test of whether or not Jones can assert himself against top competition.

LB Melvin Ingram vs. RB Brian Maddox

Ingram has been all over the field for the North Carolina team and is the clear leader of the defense. As the man in the middle, he'll be responsible for helping stuff the run and reading routes out of the backfield. Maddox is a power runner who does his best work between the tackles and he has excellent hands out of the backfield. The two will meet often on Saturday.

DT Jarvis Jenkins vs. C Desmond Roberts

Getting the football to the quarterback has been a struggle for the North Carolina centers and Roberts looks a bit awkward in this role. He's had trouble staying low off the snap while Jenkins has never met a pocket he hasn't collapsed. Can Roberts and his fellow interior linemen keep Jenkins from constant penetration?

LB Scotty Cooper vs. RB Ryan Houston

What does it sound like when a speeding train crashes into an 18-wheeler? We're going to find out on Saturday as the 250-pound Houston will get to know the 206-pound Cooper very well during the game. Cooper is undersized but he is a fearless hitter who has been itching to knock someone's head off all week. And Houston is a freight train when he gets going downhill.

S Mark Barnes versus QB Quintavius Sturdivant

Barnes is a great looking safety with excellent closing speed and impressive anticipation. Sturdivant is a college linebacker playing quarterback but he has a very strong arm and isn't afraid to gun the ball into small spaces. If Sturdivant can avoid throwing a few of his passes to Barnes, North Carolina will obviously be much better off.


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