Stallions' linebacker holding his own at Shrine Bowl practice

The HeraldDecember 17, 2008 

ROEBUCK -- At 6-2, 225 pounds, South Pointe linebacker Pete Roseboro hardly falls into the average category.

But as he talked about the linebackers on South Carolina's Shrine Bowl team after practice at Dorman High School, the talent kept finding its way into the conversation.

"Our linebackers are big, strong, fast and pretty good," Roseboro said. "Our linebackers at South Pointe were good, too, it's just I'm not used to playing next to people like the ones here I've read and heard about.

"I think I've fit in well and could end up starting. I realized just how good the competition is the other day when one of our offensive linemen hit me and put me on my back. That hasn't happened a lot during my career."

Having three teammates from back home got even better on Tuesday. Roseboro reported on Saturday along with South Pointe quarterback Stephon Gilmore, Northwestern receiver Jarrett Neely and Rock Hill tight end Asa Watson.

When two players went down Monday afternoon, Northwestern linebacker Tijah Green and Lancaster offensive lineman William Kirkland were brought in as replacements.

"We're all friends and get along well even with us being rivals on the field," Roseboro said. "I haven't been saying anything to Jarrett about us beating them in the state championship game, but he's been picking at me about it."

• HEY, YOU: A familiar face has been on the sidelines during North Carolina practices.

He's James Martin, a former assistant football coach and tennis coach at Clover. Martin is the head coach at Charlotte's South Mecklenburg, which made it to North Carolina's Little Class AAAA state semifinals and lost to Fayetteville 71st.

Martin's at practice to mingle with friends on both sides of the state line and to watch his mammoth linebacker/fullback Brandon Grier, 6-2, 215.

Last season, South Meck was booted out of the playoff hours before leaving for its opening-round game. It was ruled that the Sabres' quarterback was ineligible because he hadn't completed the proper paperwork to play sports at his new school.

"I felt bad, but more for our seniors because our school hadn't been in the playoffs for years," Grier said. "It was tough, but getting as far as we did this season helped the players who were on the team last year.

"And it really helps me being up here this week. It looks like I'll be at linebacker, but either way is fine with me. I like to score touchdowns. I like to hit people."

Grier has offers from Illinois, Appalachian State, Kentucky, Duke, James Madison, Marshall and Western Carolina.

"Illinois wants me at fullback. The others are looking at me at linebacker," he said.

• YO, SHAUN: Was that really Shaun Golden walking around practice and stopping to talk to football coaches?

Golden, the son of legendary S.C. high school boys basketball coach, Louie Golden, played basketball at Georgia, was an assistant basketball coach at Winthrop and most recently head coach at Newberry.

These days, he works for Schutt Sports, an outfit that reconditions football equipment, and does TV commentary for college football and basketball games.

"I do commentary for ESPN, FOX and CSS," Golden said. "What I do now is not as hectic as coaching, but there are times I miss being on the bench."

• NO SEE: Because the NCAA changed its rules to prevent college coaches from attending all-star games, talk has been swirling that it's a mistake because players are not getting seen by Division I schools.

You don't have to look too far to find examples of players the rule could be hurting.

Roseboro and Neely are top-caliber players. If not, they would be home in Rock Hill. No disrespect to the schools that are recruiting the two dynamos, but Roseboro's list includes S.C. State, Newberry and Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.

Neely's is the same if you swap out Newberry for Western Carolina.

• LATE TV: There will be no live broadcast of Saturday's game at Gibbs Stadium, but those who don't attend will be able to watch it on tape delay.

The Shrine Bowl and ESPNU have an agreement to air the game on Dec. 20 and Jan. 7 at 10 p.m.

"It's safe to say that every young man growing up playing football in the Carolinas dreams of competing on the big stage," Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas Chairman of the Board Billy Benfield said. "Thanks to ESPNU, all 88 student-athletes selected for this year's game will experience that thrill.

"In addition, fans from all corners of the Carolinas and beyond will have an opportunity to watch the game on a premier network. We are dedicated to raising the awareness of the Shriners Hospitals for Children to the highest level and to uncovering new avenues to enhance the overall game experience for the participating student-athletes and fans. ESPNU has provided a major step forward in these endeavors."

Rock Hill's Gene Knight, voice of the Rock Hill Bearcats, will handle the color commentary.

Barry Byers - 329-4099 | bbyers@heraldonline.com

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