For the first time in history, there will be a high school national champion crowned for 7-on-7 play.
Starting at 9 a.m. PT today and continuing through Thursday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., 12 teams from all over the nation will compete in the adidas 7-on-7 National Championship Tournament. The 12 teams have qualified through regionally based tournaments held at universities all over the nation over the past two months. Evan Wiener of adidas public relations said the company started the regional tournaments in 2005 with the goal of "providing a unique playing experience for elite level high school athletes around the country."
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"More than 4,000 players participated in the six adidas 7-on-7 regional tournaments this year and the championship team from each, as well as the runner-up, received all-expense paid trips to compete in the first national championship," Wiener said.
"The twelve teams will compete in two days of bracket competition with the championship game at 11 a.m. on Thursday. The tournament site also includes a hospitality area for the athletes and coaches with XBOX, the latest adidas football products and additional activities and interactive games to supplement the on-field competition."
Pool play starts on at 9 a.m. and then continues until 3:50 and 4:50 when bracket competition beings. Then on Thursday at 8 a.m. more bracket play continues, followed by the semifinals at 10:20 a.m. and then the championship at 11 a.m.
From the Southeast the teams that have qualified include Pahokee, Fla., Oak Ridge, Tenn., Daytona Beach (Fla.) Seabreeze, Farragut, Tenn., Miami Gulliver Prep, and Tampa (Fla.) Plant. From the Midwest two Illinois teams – Belleville (Ill.) Althoff Catholic and Park Ridge (Ill.) Maine South – will represent the region.
After winning the Texas 7-on-7 State Tournament this past weekend in College Station, Georgetown, Texas, will make the trip to California. They're joined by runner-ups from the tournament, Houston Stratford. The West will be represented by two of California top programs – Poway, Calif., and Encino (Calif.) Crespi.
Along with high quality teams, there's also some pretty impressive talent in the tournament.
Crespi and Stratford have the highest-ranked prospects in the tournament.
Crespi is led by four-star defensive back/receiver E.J. Woods, who made an early commitment to UCLA. Four-star tight end Joseph Fauria, who is heading to Notre Dame, is also a force and a deadly combination with three-star quarterback Kevin Prince. Running back Austin Shanks and defensive backs Lonell Jones and Mark Watley also are exciting players for Crespi.
Stratford is home to Stanford bound quarterback Andrew Luck, who is the highest ranked prospect in the tournament. Ranked as the nation's No. 3 quarterback, Luck is one of the most accurate passers in the nation, which makes him deadly in 7-on-7 play. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder will be exciting to watch, matching up against the other high profile defenses he'll face.
Pahokee is led by Rivals250 four-star cornerback Janoris Jackson. The 5-foot-10, 167-pounder has scholarship offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami and is a top 20 player in the Sunshine State. Receiver Martavious Odoms, athlete Anthony Sheppard and linebacker Jatavious Miller are also solid recruits getting plenty of attention.
Belleville (Ill.) Althoff Catholic is led by star Iowa running back commitment Jason Ford. The 5-foot-10, 209-pound three-star prospect picked the Hawkeyes over offers from Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, Wisconsin and others.
Tampa Plant has a rising junior quarterback Aaron Murray who already has Florida, Georgia Tech and LSU on his list. He's a 6-foot, 198-pound pro-style passer that looked good recently at the Tallahassee NIKE Camp.
Poway is home to blue-chip tight end prospect Ryan Deehan. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound four-star prospect is one of the top 15 tight ends in the nation. A few of his teammates are also getting some attention. Receiver Jared Reylea and Nick Milani are names to watch this fall.
Georgetown's best prospects are dual-threat quarterback Morgan Mickan, who was impressive in the Texas tournament, and athlete Jameson Wells. Mickan, who is 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, couldn't be stopped in the regional tournament.
Gulliver Prep's top prospects include Wisconsin bound athlete Brandon Marti. The two-star ranked Marti has another teammate, Donovan Varner, that's also getting some serious recruiting attention from Wisconsin, Duke, Syracuse, UCLA, Virginia and others.