SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas always features a good deal of talent, and this year is no exception with five ESPN 150 prospects taking part between the two teams. The North Carolina squad featured a good deal more four- and high three-star talent, so I spent the morning watching the Tar Heels squad and split time in the afternoon between the two teams.
Here are some players who caught my eye during the practice:
Tyrone Crowder (Rockingham, N.C./Richmond Senior): The top-rated player on the NC squad, Crowder is an interesting prospect. You often hear people say a prospect "passes the eye test," but that is not the case with the ESPN 150 guard, and he is a good example of why you shouldn't be too quick to judge a book by its cover. He is not as tall as listed and is actually closer to 6-foot than the 6-2 he can be listed at. On film he comes across as a player who could benefit from reworking his body composition some and someone who needs to be careful about adding weight, and that is the case when you see him in person. He carries some unnecessary weight in his upper body and could and likely will rework his body composition with time in a BCS level weight program. He might be lacking in ideals in some areas, but he can still play. While he might not stand out physically, Crowder does stand out when it's time to go to work. He possesses a thick, powerful base, demonstrates very good flexibility and short space quickness, and he can quickly get into defenders and gain position. He moves well and still looks comfortable when asked to pull and block at the second level. That should only improve as he further develops physically. The practice didn't allow us to see him in one-on-one work, and he is out of position at left tackle, but we certainly look forward to seeing more from him down in Orlando at the Under Armour All-America Game in more of a natural fit at offensive guard.
Greg Gilmore: (Hope Mills, N.C./ South View): The ESPN 150 D-lineman looks the part and stood out among a good group of defensive linemen on the North Carolina squad. He displayed the good initial burst you see on film and was a disruptive presence. I talked with Gilmore, a four-star prospect who recently committed to LSU on ESPNU, and he said he remains solid with the Tigers.
Brian Walker (Charlotte/ Mallard Creek) and DeQuavais Mann (Rocky Mount, N.C./Northern Nash): The North Carolina squad has a pair of good corners in Walker and Mann. Walker, a North Carolina commit, was no surprise, as he's a top-15 corner and No. 114 in the ESPN 150 and met expectations from film study and previous evaluations. He comes across as a tough customer on film, and he displayed that in practice, giving the receivers a hard time when he pressed. On the other hand, Mann surprised me a bit. The Duke commit has a more compact and thicker build and lacks some of the natural athleticism of Walker, but the three-star prospect caught my attention with his physical nature. He does not display great top-end speed, but he made it consistently difficult for receivers to release when he came up and pressed. He's a bit more scheme-limited, but if he's allowed to play to his strengths he can be a good player for the Blue Devils.
T.J. Logan (Greensboro, N.C./ Northern Guilford): The North Carolina commit is a one to watch in the game, as he showed the potential to create some big plays both on offense and special teams. While working on offense, Logan is not a kid to rule out as an option on defense. The fluid athlete has the tools to develop into a good defensive back for the Tar Heels as well. If you were wondering what you would have seen if you were watching the practice, just check out his player evaluation because the four-star prospect lived up to every word.
Tramel Terry (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek): The Georgia commit is a versatile athlete, and while opportunities to showcase his abilities were somewhat limited when I was watching practice, I saw flashes of the big-play ability he can present. He displayed good hands and the ability to quickly transition upfield. A bit quicker than fast, he can be dangerous in space and flashed the ability to make defenders miss with the ball in his hands. He has bulked up through his upper body and demonstrated his strength and physicality with a nice stiff arm on one run that brought a defender to the ground. As with Logan on the North Carolina squad, Terry is definitely a guy to keep an eye on during Saturday's game, as a big play can always happen when he has his hands on the ball.
Ben Boulware (Anderson, S.C./ T.L. Hanna): A more compact, but fairly thickly built linebacker prospect, the four-star fit the bill as a tough, high-motor competitor. With the tools to be a productive run-stopper from the inside linebacker position, we look forward to seeing more of him down in Orlando at the Under Armour Game.