Thursday, November 5, 2009

North-South game raids our S.C. Top 25 rankings

I mentioned a few blogs back that with the South Carolina Shrine Bowl coaches selecting just 14 members of The Observer’s S.C. Top 25 Prospects list, you could look for the state’s annual North-South game to quickly grab up most of the remaining 11.

Geography favored the South squad, and in a big way. The North was able to claim just two of our 25, grabbing No.2 Brandon Willis of Duncan Byrnes and No.15 Joe Craig of Clemson.

The South, on the other hand, picked up five Top 25 kids—No.4 Eric Mack of Calhoun Co., No.10 Dexter Morant of Manning, No.13 Marques Pair of Sumter, No.22 Ricky Chaney of Beaufort Battery Creek and No.25 Jerrell Priester of Allendale Fairfax.

Which still meant that four members of our list made neither all-star game.

Remember, the coaches don’t base their selections on whether or not kids will develop into good college players, which is what our list is all about. They want two things—players who fit into their schemes and who had good senior seasons.

Perhaps the guy most unfairly excluded was No.23 Nick Jones, a receiver/kick returner at Byrnes. He’s a remarkable talent, but neither game can take more than two players from a single school, and both grabbed their Byrnes’ allotment before getting to Jones.

Injuries can also play a part; Anderson Hanna’s Jake Nicolopulos (No.24) missed a month with a back injury, and was likely excluded because of that.
Also not taken were No.14 Kendrick Frazier of Denmark-Olar and No.18 Kalon Davis of Chester. You’ll have to ask the coaches about them.

--Stan Olson

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