The Road to Signing Day 2007: Notes from the Shrine Bowl Combine

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There were 183 high school players from the state of North Carolina at the
Butler combine, which was held on Saturday at Butler High School in Matthews,
NC, about 10 miles southeast of Charlotte. The first thing you need to note is
my use of the term "high school players", as opposed to
"recruits." The large majority of kids who were there will not receive
Division 1-A offers, at least not quality offers. Having said that, there
were a handful of kids in attendance who will play at the highest levels of
college football, including some players who already have a fistful of
high-quality offers. These are the guys Horne and I were interested in seeing.

The combine in question was one of five planned Shrine Bowl combines and is
part of the process of choosing the 44 players who will comprise the North
Carolina team in the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, which will play its
70th game in December 2006. The Shrine Bowl pits NC all-stars against SC
all-stars, and playing in the game is a source of pride for high school football
players from both states.

In addition to checking out TSL’s database for NC players, I went to
Rivals.com and printed out every player they had listed from the state of North
Carolina that showed interest in VT. Armed with those two printouts and my
camera, I drove to the combine with Horne.

Butler
High School
is home to 2,200 students, according to head football coach Mike
Newsome. It’s a fairly modern high school that, despite its size, features the
usual rows of classroom trailers out back, indicative of a high school with
enrollment that has rapidly outpaced its capacity. There was some construction
going on, creating a messy environment between the school and the football
stadium, which was a decent facility but nothing overwhelming.

Check in started at 10:00 Saturday morning at Butler and ran for … an …
hour … and … a … half. Each player was given a Shrine Bowl Combine...