South Pointe’s Zeek Rodney and Northwestern’s Mason Rudolph and Corey Seargent were selected to the South Carolina squad for the 77th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas all-star football game.
The oldest prep all-star game in the country will again be played at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg on Dec. 21 at 1 p.m.
Following in the footsteps of predecessor Justin Worley, Rudolph was one of two quarterbacks taken, along with Stratford’s Jacob Park, a Georgia commitment.
“In our system the quarterback needs to be a little athletic because we’re gonna run the quarterback,” South Carolina coach Tommy Brown, from Orangeburg-Wilkinson, said during Thursday’s video announcement. “Both these quarterbacks demonstrated the ability to do that. That was probably the easiest selection, the quarterback, because of seeing these two and what they could do.”
The coaches of the two teams, North Carolina’s Burton Cates, from Lee County, and Brown, selected the 40-man teams on Monday in Fort Mill. The all-star teams were revealed Thursday via a live online videocast at Shrine-Bowl.com.
The three selections from the Herald’s coverage area was the fewest since just two were picked for the 2007 game. Squad sizes were decreased from 44 players to 40 this season in an effort to give kids more time on the field.
“People will say it’s only four players but it makes a difference,” Brown said. “We tried to pick players of good character - that was very important in our selection process - and then we had to look at what their status was as far as how they played. We also had to find players that possibly played two positions because of that.”
Gaffney’s Shaq Davidson, who can play multiple positions including receiver and quarterback, and West Florence’s Alex Spence, a Clemson commitment who can kick and punt, were even more valuable additions because they allowed Brown’s staff to keep position specialists, like Rudolph and Park for example.
Up front defensively, Rodney will team with a talented group to try and harass the Tar Heel quarterbacks.
“The defensive end position these days, you have to have athletes that can cover the whole field, so that’s what we tried to do,” Brown said.
• Zeek Rodney
Rodney has been hampered by a nagging hamstring injury for much of this fall, but his junior season more than cemented his reputation as one of the most feared defensive linemen in the state. At 6-foot-1, 260 pounds, Rodney doesn’t always have the size to overwhelm blockers, but his incessant engine and his drive and quickness can make him nearly unstoppable. Rodney racked up 27 sacks and 26 tackles-for-loss last season, en route to earning Defensive Player of the Year honors from the High School Sports Report. He has scholarship offers from Boston College, Toledo, Marshall, Louisiana-Lafayette, Charlotte and South Carolina State.
• Corey Seargent
Senior safety has extensive Division I recruiting interest (Nebraska, Kansas, Ball State, Charlotte, Appalachian State, East Carolina) because of his playmaking ability in the secondary and on special teams as a kick returner and aggressive tackler. Seargent’s ball skills were always apparent but he showed his toughness and a willingness to support run defense in an excellent display against Charlotte Catholic’s ground-based offensive attack earlier this season. The 6-foot, 175-pound senior has three interceptions so far this season and leads the Trojans with 87 tackles.
• Mason Rudolph
Despite having played quarterback for just three years, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Rudolph is one of the slickest passers in the state. He has good mobility and the mental acumen to play quarterback at a high level in college, which he’ll do at Oklahoma State in 2014 after graduating high school this December. Rudolph led Northwestern to the Class AAAA-DII state final state final last year, throwing for 41 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He’s off to another good start this year with 20 TDs and just two interceptions in the Trojans’ undefeated first six games.
Bret McCormick • 329-4032. Twitter: @BretJust1T