Polk County standout Angus Weaver, left, has been working out this week as a linebacker in advance of Saturday's Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas (Jane Ollis photo)

SPARTANBURG – Angus Weaver realized very early in his Shrine Bowl experience that he wasn’t in Polk County any more.

First day of practice, Weaver looked around at the size and speed and abilities of his North Carolina teammates and whistled a bit to himself.

“Almost everybody on the team is committed or got a bunch of Power Five offers,” Weaver said. “It’s a big change talent-wise as far as going from Polk County, a small county in the state, and a lot of these guys are from big areas like Charlotte and Fayetteville. It’s a big change.”

Weaver, though, has by all accounts held his own while practicing with North Carolina’s top players in preparing for Saturday’s game against the top players in South Carolina. The annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is set to kick off Saturday at 1 p.m. at Spartanburg High School.

For Weaver, it’s another opportunity to showcase his talents and skills for college coaches. He has spent the week working out at linebacker, including time spent in the first-team unit, though he said the starting group likely wouldn’t be set until just before kickoff.

Angus Weaver, left, with Polk County coach Bruce Ollis following a Shrine Bowl practice (Jane Ollis photo)

Among the coaches he has worked with this week is North Carolina assistant coach Joey Robinson, the head coach at Mountain Heritage.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Weaver said. “There’s been a lot of terminology and it’s different in the way we use it, but we all got it sorted out and figured out. It’s fairly simple once you understand it.”

The North Carolina team opened the week with two-a-day practices on Monday and Tuesday before switching to single-day practices. That has freed up some time for players on both teams to take part in some of the other activities that are a key part of the Shrine Bowl, which serves as a fundraiser for the Shriner’s Hospital in Greenville.

In the pre-COVID era, players would typically tour the Shriner’s Hospital and meet some of the patients. That visit no longer occurs, but the schedule for the week did tentaively include having some patients visit the team in Spartanburg, where they’re staying.

“The first night, we went bowling,” Weaver said. “We went to church (Wednesday) night and had a nice service. The service really wasn’t about anything other than the reason why we’re playing, and to give God praise.”

Polk County head coach Bruce Ollis, a former Shrine Bowl assistant coach who recently announced his resignation as he plans to retire in June, has spent the week in Spartanburg, supporting Weaver. He said Weaver has looked “really sharp” and has impressed Robinson with his efforts in practice.

In addition to hopefully boosting his recruiting profile, the week has offered one more benefit for Weaver.

“Going out in the first round (of the 2A playoffs) and losing how badly we did at Maiden was pretty disappointing, especially to end my high school career like that,” Weaver said. “But we’ve got one more game, and everybody wants to win this one, so it’s a big deal.”