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December 11, 2005

Shrine Bowl: Passing the eyeball test

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - A lot can be learned about a player without any pads on or contact being made on the field. Several of the prospects that made their way into early activities for the annual Shrine Bowl this weekend already looked the part of a future college star.

Here is a look at the top five players that passed the "eyeball test."

1. Offensive guard Carl Johnson (6-foot-6, 348 pounds)

It would be hard to ignore just how gigantic the five-star Florida guard commit is at first glance, but he truly towers above the rest in almost every category. While many knew just how big Johnson is, it's his definition that has shocked people. Undoubtedly, the No. 2 rated offensive guard in the country certainly looks like he could step in to play tomorrow with his build and intelligence. Johnson is truly the most impressive looking prospect on hand for the Shrine Bowl.

2. Safety Rico Bell (5-foot-10, 181 pounds)

If Bell stands at 5-foot-10, he's one of the tallest looking players listed at that height anywhere in the country. Not only does the Charlotte three-star safety walk through a room looking around 6-foot-1, but his build is already at a level that must have the Virginia coaching staff anxiously awaiting his arrival. Without any practices underway, it's obvious that the Cavalier commit could be making a push both on the field and in the rankings after the Shrine Bowl has completed this Saturday.

3. Cornerback Raeshon McNeil (6-foot, 175 pounds)

Like many defensive backs at the annual all-star game, McNeil comes in as a player that looks nothing like his 6-foot, 175-pound listing portrays. The four-star Notre Dame commit already looks like a physical corner without even seeing him on the field for one snap yet. McNeil definitely showed up in street clothes looking every bit like the prospect that his four-star rating implies. There is some room to add weight, but his on-the-field player this week could be another step toward making his stock rise even more.

4. Outside linebacker Brandon Spikes (6-foot-4, 235 pounds)

Whether people like him at defensive end or linebacker, the Rivals100 member Spikes looks like he needs to get on a college football field immediately. With his list down to Alabama, Florida, and Virginia Tech, it's obvious that those coaching staffs and the numerous others that offered saw exactly what everyone at this week's events saw the second he walked through the door. His height is a legitimate 6-foot-4 and his weight seems to be growing by the day. This isn't a player that is putting on all the right building blocks toward a successful college career.

5. Offensive tackle Chris Hairston (6-foot-5, 270 pounds)

The fifth spot belongs to a prospect that is very under the radar, but with one look it's obvious that this giant secret won't last long. Hairston could be listed at 6-foot-6 without much argument and he has a frame that is just itching for a weight room to make him a very impressive looking college offensive tackle. He's lean, tall, and challenges many of the good-looking prospects that have signed their registration forms for this year's Shrine Bowl. His offer sheet figures to get full quick after this week if he can perform well on the field.


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