Crestwood High School defensive end Christopher Simon is one of 44 South Carolina High School football players who has been selected to play in the 81st annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas all-star game.
The game, which pits the top players from South Carolina against the top players from North Carolina, will be played on Saturday, Dec. 16, at Wofford College's Gibbs Stadium beginning at 2 p.m. in Spartanburg.
"It was a very big experience," Simon said of hearing about his selection to the Sandlappers squad on Sunday. "I heard about it on a call from (Crestwood head) Coach (Roosevelt Nelson). It showed me that all of the hard work I've done has paid off and this is the fruit of my labors.
"Starting with rec ball, then going to middle school football (at Hillcrest) and then going on to four years of high school, it just shows that all of the hard work I put in was worth it."
Nelson, himself a Shrine Bowl linebacker at Crestwood, said Simon has been in the starting lineup since "the third or fourth game of his freshman season." The 6-foot-3-inch, 255-pound Simon has 30 tackles through eight games for the 4-4 Knights. More importantly, Simon has nine quarterback sacks and has blocked two kicks.
"He's done an outstanding job for us this season," Nelson said of Simon, who had 24 solo stops, 24 assists, nine tackles for loss and two sacks as a junior. "He played a lot on the offensive line last season, but we've had him on defense most of this season, and he's obviously one of our better defensive players."
Simon thinks going to the Shrine Bowl will help in his recruitment process. He hopes a strong performance will help him garner interest from the likes of Clemson, South Carolina and Coastal Carolina - all FBS schools..
"Just getting the opportunity to go to the Shrine Bowl combine made me feel good about what I had accomplished," he said. "I hope getting to play in this will allow some other schools to look at me and see what I can do."
Simon has made an official visit to Charlotte and has offers from South Carolina State, Western Kentucky, Georgia State and Eastern Kentucky.