Though he is in South Carolina this week preparing for Saturday's Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, Tarheels receiver Jody Fuller is not ready to cross state lines and join fellow South Carolina-committed wideouts Shaq Roland and Kwintin Smith, who are playing for the Sandlappers.
"I've tried to stay with my North Carolina teammates most of the time. But I have talked to them both, and I look forward to hanging out with them later," said Fuller, a top-rated receiver from Sun Valley High in Monroe, N.C.
Smith, who led Dillon to a 13-1 record and the Class 2A quarterfinals, said that arrangement works for the trio, who are among nearly a dozen elite wide receivers at the Shrine Bowl.
"We find a way to get in touch with each other, even before we were here, and I've been talking to Shaq more here. But there is a lot to do this week preparing for the game," Smith said.
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After being named Mr. Football over the weekend, Roland said playing with so many other strong receivers -- including Gaffney's Quinshad Davis and Alabama-bound Casey Gladney of Columbia -- is enough of a thrill on its own. Getting in some face time with his future teammates is a nice bonus.
"They are both great players, and I look forward to them being my teammates," Roland said of Fuller and Smith. "There are a lot of great players here, and I'm going to enjoy being out here with all of these guys this week. It's a great honor to be out here with these guys."
It's also a bit of a challenge, Smith said.
Even with a college scholarship secured, Smith wants to contribute as much as he can in the Shrine Bowl.
"There's just so much talent out here, when they try to throw the ball to you, you gotta catch it," Smith said.
While they know many Gamecocks fans will be watching Saturday's game, the receivers said they are focused this week on representing their states and schools.
Still, Fuller said, he may take a few moments to watch the Sandlappers' offense in action and see what his future teammates can do.