In many ways Mustafa Greene has been the forgotten tailback in South Carolina.
Though widely considered the state's second best running back, the Irmo standout found himself engulfed by the massive shadow cast by the state's top runner and top prospect, Byrnes' Marcus Lattimore, for much of his career. Even in the Shrine Bowl earlier this month, Greene played second fiddle, getting 15 less carries than his classmate.
But Lattimore, one of the nation's elite players, isn't playing in this week's Offense-Defense All-American Bowl and Greene plans to make the most of his opportunity to shine.
"It's motivation for me to prove that I'm just as good," Greene said. "I could have been the No. 1, but I'm not mad at him. He's a great player. I don't feel bad at all.
Never miss a local story.
"I've been waiting for my chance, and I think it's here."
Greene didn't have an opportunity to steal the limelight from Lattimore during his senior campaign, missing much of the season because of a high ankle sprain. Still, he rushed for 1,367 yards and 13 touchdowns in six games, earning all-state honors from the Associated Press.
The 6-foot, 200-pounder is considering scholarship offers from N.C. State, Rutgers, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. Lattimore, who is the state's Mr. Football, is also considering Auburn and Alabama, meaning he and Greene could end up at the same college.
East all-star DeAndre Hopkins might look a little sluggish in Saturday's game, but nobody can blame him. Hopkins, a finalist for Mr. Football from D.W. Daniel, is pulling double duty this week.
He has played in three Beach Ball Classic games for the Lions, including Wednesday's loss against St. Frances (Md.), while juggling practices for the All-American Bowl. His first practices on the gridiron were Wednesday.
"It's been hectic," said Hopkins, the reigning Class AAA state Basketball Player of the Year.
Hopkins said that Daniel basketball coach Jeff Maness wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea of his star participating in two events at once. Yet, he gave Hopkins the freedom to do both since he knows that his future lies on the gridiron.
Hopkins, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver/corner, has committed to play football at Clemson, though he has the option to also play basketball.
"Football is my No. 1 right now," Hopkins said.
For the third consecutive year, the All-American Bowl will feature one of the Grand Strand's best players. Myrtle Beach kicker Jordan Butler is on the East roster, joining fellow Seahawk Bruce Taylor (2008) and Carvers Bay's Kwame Geathers (2009).
"It feels great to represent the community," Butler said. "This is a great way to play my last game at Doug Shaw.
"It's been really fun [playing for Myrtle Beach]. I've formed a lot of great relationships with people. It's been a great experience."
Butler would like to continue his career in college but does not currently have any scholarship offers.