This weekend on the University of Alabama campus, the second annual Badger Sports 7-on-7 National Championship will take place. At the event, state and regional all-star teams will convene to play for national bragging rights.
The weekend will consist of a skill challenge, 7-on-7 pool play followed by a single-elimination tournament which will decide the national champion. New to the event this year, BadgerSports will announce its inaugural All-American Team at Saturday's BadgerSports Elite 7on7 Banquet.
While the First-Team All-Americans will be announced on Saturday, Wednesday marks the release of the defensive Second-Team All-Americans, followed by a Thursday release of the offensive Second-Team honorees.
The Second-Team Defense is a coast-to-coast list that consists of a lot of not just talent, but versatile talent. New Level Athletics co-founder Baron Flenory spoke to that versatility in the selection of the team.
"I think when you're at that level, All-American status, you have to be pretty versatile," Flenory said. "The days of special positions are here in places like Texas but these kids show that they can play football on both sides of the ball at a very high level."
On the defensive line, the Second Team is characterized by a blend of size and athleticism. On the interior, Cal commit Mustafa Jalil is a prototypical big-bodied defensive lineman at 6 feet 4 and 300 pounds. The Rivals250 prospect originally committed to San Diego State before making a switch to Cal this spring.
He is joined at tackle by Penscacola (Fla.) Catholic's D.J. Pettway. While Jalil is already a college-ready defensive tackle from a size standpoint, Pettway is currently a big, athletic defensive end that looks poised to grow into a quick defensive tackle. As an Alabama commit, that size and versatility is a perfect fit for Alabama's 3-4 scheme at the defensive line.
On the edge, Fort Pierce (Fla.) Central defensive end Giorgio Newberry certainly provides size. At 6-6, 255 pounds, Newberry is a long, physical defensive end that can play on the strong side with ease. Newberry, a Rivals100 prospect, would team with another Rivals100 talent in Greg Townsend Jr. who stands at 6-4, 242 pounds and is rated by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 1 strongside defensive end.
Four linebackers were named to the Second Team, two inside backers and two outside. On the inside, the team is given some northeastern flair with Rochester, N.Y., native and Rutgers commit Quentin Gause. Gause is a muscled-up, versatile athlete that plays on both sides of the ball in high school and has the ability to do the same in college.
On the opposite end of the geographical spectrum, Philadelphia, Miss., linebacker C.J. Johnson joins Gause in the middle. Johnson is a Rivals250 member with offers from around the southeast who continues to be heavily sought-after despite his early commitment to Mississippi State.
The physical play of Gause and Johnson would be complemented well by the two athletes on the outside in Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant. Grant, Rivals.com's No. 1 inside linebacker and a five-star prospect, has the complete package with size, versatility, athleticism and physicality you dream of out of a linebacker. He also has the offer list to back those skills up. Shazier is more of a true outside linebacker with off-the-charts speed and athleticism and a great pass-rushing skill set.
At defensive back, Demetrious Nicholson is a true cornerback out of Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside with terrific instincts and natural cover skills. His running mate at the opposite corner is Alabama commit Jabriel Washington. Washington plays all over the field for his high school program but likely projects at the corner position under Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa.
Another versatile athlete heads the safety corps in Livermore (Calif.) Granada four-star George Atkinson III. Atkinson also excels on the offensive side of the ball at receiver but is listed as the No. 15 athlete in the country by Rivals.com due to his abilities on both sides of the ball.
Miami commit Albert Louis-Jean out of Brockton, Mass., rounds out the Second-Team Defense at safety. His size and physicality allow him to play safety at a high level but his coverage ability is evidenced by his No. 10 ranking at the cornerback position by Rivals.com.