Photo courtesy of Dawgnation
By Seth Ellerbee
The Metro PCS Corky Kell 7 ON 7 Tournament has grown from its infancy five offseasons ago into one of the most lauded tournaments of its kind in the Southeast. Perennially, high school football players from Georgia top the national recruiting charts and each year, the tournament to continues to feature some of the top recruits from the Peach State.
The tournament, which will take place on June 15 beginning at 9:15 a.m. at three high schools (Blessed Trinity, Centennial and Milton) and Roswell Area Park, provides an opportunity to see a player who, in just a short time span, could very well be a star at any given college or even any team in the NFL. Just last year, Cartersville’s Trevor Lawrence was honing his game ahead of his senior season at the tournament and now he’s in the mix for the starting quarterback job at Clemson.
This year, the field is as deep, or deeper, than last year’s bunch. For the first time, 35 of the best teams in the state will face off at the Metro PCS Corky Kell 7 OO 7 Tournament. It will be the first time in the five-year history of the event that 35 programs will be competing.
“If you look at the 35 teams this year, almost every one of them made the playoffs last year,” said I.J. Rosenberg, the President of Score Atlanta and co-founder of the event. “There will be about 1,100 kids, close to 300 coaches. Not only do you have very highly thought of recruiting prospects here, but you have a lot of good high school football players and they take this extremely seriously and winning this is important to them.”
The Class of 2019 will be represented by 5-star prospects linebacker Owen Pappoe (Grayson) and receiver Dominick Blaylock (Walton). Tight end/defensive end Arik Gilbert (Marietta) and safety Josh Shuler (North Gwinnett), both 5-star recruits, will represent the Class of 2020. Throughout the group, 27 of the top 100 prospects (247 Sports) from the Class of 2019 will be there and seven of the top 20 prospects from the Class of 2020. There numbers are more impressive considering linemen are not included in the 7 On 7 tournament but there are 33 ranked in the top 100 for 2019 and seven ranked in the top 20 for 2020.
Archer won the inaugural event in 2014 before Colquitt County won the following two seasons. Last year’s tournament, which featured Lawrence and Cartersville), was won by Central Gwinnett who beat Archer 32-8 in the final game.
There are seven pods of five teams and each will play four games in the morning, advancing to a 35-team single elimination tournament beginning at 1 p.m. at Roswell Area Park.
The teams will compete against each of the other teams in the pod and the results will determine the seeding for the afternoon’s single elimination bracket tournament. The format allows for every team to be assured at least five games, regardless of the results in pool play.
This year’s event features the past eight state champions from Georgia’s highest class and will also feature seven of the eight quarterfinalists in last year’s AAAAAAA bracket – North Gwinnett, Colquitt County, Brookwood, Marietta, McEachern, Parkview and Archer. Other AAAAAAA teams include Walton, Grayson, Milton and Mill Creek.
To enhance the viewing experience, MetroPCS, the event’s title sponsor, will roll out a mobile digital LED billboard truck provided by The Box Advertising. The truck, which features three large video screens, will be parked between the fields at Roswell Area Parks to provide live scoring updates and other information to those in attendance.
For those following along at home, live-scoring will be available on the Corky Kell website at CorkyKell.com.