Four Pee Dee players have been selected to play in this year’s Shrine Bowl, which matches the top seniors from South Carolina and North Carolina.
Dillon’s Bryce King and D.J. Park, South Florence’s Fabian Jefferson and Lake City’s Devaris Brunson were selected for the game to be played Dec. 15 at Wofford’s Gibbs Stadium.
King and Park have been anchors at tackle along the Wildcats’ offensive line and are two of the state’s top prospects. Park is ranked as the state’s fifth-best prospect, according to Rivals, while King is ranked sixth.
Both King and Park have verbally committed to play next year at South Carolina and were at Williams-Brice Stadium for the Gamecocks’ 35-7 win over Georgia on Saturday.
It’s the third time in the last four years Dillon has produced a Shrine Bowl player but the first time since 1995 that two Wildcat players have been selected. Stan Manning and Will McLaurin were selected that year.
“It’s quite a tremendous honor for the players and the school,” Dillon coach Jackie Hayes said. “King is a four-year starter and you don’t find many of those players these days. Both have bright futures ahead of them if they continue to work hard and take care of business.”
Jefferson is the first South Florence player to be selected to the Shrine Bowl since Adam Wade made it in 2005. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder has been one of the leaders for the Bruins’ defense the past two years but will play tight end in the game.
South coach David Prince moved Jefferson from offensive tackle to tight end this season and the move has paid off. The senior leads the team with 17 catches for 266 yards and five touchdowns. He also leads South with nine sacks from his defensive end position.
“Fabian is a versatile player for us,” Prince said. “We knew he had the skills to play tight end and we went through all spring with him there and things came naturally for him.”
Brunson is the sixth Lake City player selected to play in the game and second in the last three years. USC running back Shon Carson was chosen in 2010.
Brunson has verbally committed to play at East Carolina and is ranked as the third-ranked linebacker prospect in the state, according to Rivals. He had a school-record 172 tackles, including 18 for loss and 10 sacks last season.
Brunson’s numbers are down some from last year, partially because of injuries and an increased workload on offense. He is second on the team with 419 yards rushing.
But Brunson has registered 10 or more tackles in his last two games, including a season-high 14 last week against Timberland. Through seven games, he ranks second on the team with 47 tackles, including three for loss.
“He is playing both ways a little more than we had hoped,” Lake City coach Jim Rowell said. “But he has played much better these last couple weeks and hopefully will continue going forward.
“Making the Shrine Bowl is a great opportunity for him. It is one of the most unique experiences you can have. It is something he can cherish for a long time.”
North Carolina won last year’s game 26-19.