- Seven-Game Slate on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU
- Kickoff Features 29 Players in ESPN 300
- 10 States Represented, including Six 2016 State Champions
The 2017 GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff will conclude Summer of Next, taking place on August 25-27. The seven-game slate will feature 29 players ranked in ESPN 300, including two in the top 10—No. 1 Xavier Thomas (IMG Academy, Fla.) and No. 3 Trevor Lawrence (Cartersville). The annual event, in its eighth year, will have 10 states represented, and 22 players who have already committed to top college football programs, with Clemson, Miami (Fla.) and Ohio State leading the pack with three each. Games will be played on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.
For the first time ever, a same-site doubleheader on Saturday, August 26, will include four of the top quarterbacks in the class of 2018. The first matchup will showcase Saraland High School (Ala.) led by No. 76 Jack West, playing against Heard County High School (Ga.), with No. 22 QB Emory Jones (Ohio State commit). The second game will feature Bartram Trail High School (Fla.) and No. 37 ATH Joey Gatewood (Auburn commit) against the host school, Cartersville High School (Ga.), led by No. 3 QB Trevor Lawrence (Clemson commit).
The 2017 GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff preludes the GEICO ESPN 2017 High School Football Showcase.
2017 ESPN GEICO High School Football Kickoff Schedule
Notes: All times are ET. Player rankings from ESPN 300 (Seniors in the Class of 2018)
Team rankings per USA Today Super 25 poll
Friday, August 25
St. John Bosco (Calif.) vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.)
7 p.m. on ESPNU from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
- Powerhouse matchup between California and Florida state champions from 2016; these two teams ended last season nationally ranked No. 5 and No. 6, respectively
- John Bosco features the No. 61 ranked player Jaiden Woodbey, a safety who is committed to Ohio State
- Thomas Aquinas is coming off of a win over Bingham (Utah) at the end of last season at the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series. They have a loaded defensive backfield with two players who are the sons of former NFL players: No. 33 Asante Samuel Jr., and No. 44 Al Blades Jr.
DeMatha (Md.) vs. Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
9 p.m. on ESPN from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nev.
- Another “East vs. West” cross-country matchup between DeMatha, who went 12-0 in 2016, and Bishop Gorman, who is currently on a 54-game winning streak with back-to-back seasons ranked No. 1 nationally
- DeMatha finished last season ranked No. 4 nationally, and are led on the defensive line by the No. 148 Austin Fontaine, a Maryland commit
- Bishop Gorman boasts a talented roster, with No. 20 LB Palaie Gaoteote, No. 30 TE Brevin Jordan and No. 51 QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who will be in his first year as a starter at Bishop Gorman
Saturday, August 26
Tulsa Union (Okla.) vs. Broken Arrow (Okla.)
Noon on ESPN from Broken Arrow High School in Broken Arrow, Okla.
- The last time these two teams met was in the state quarterfinals, with Union winning 40-24 on their way to the Oklahoma 6A-I state championship
- Union will look to repeat as state champ, led by No. 185 WR C.J. Moore who is committed to Oklahoma St.
- Broken Arrow returns a young and hungry team from last year, with all but three starters returning
Saraland (Ala.) vs. Heard County (Ga.)
3:30 p.m. on ESPNU from Cartersville High School in Cartersville, Ga.
- In the first game of a double-header, Saraland travels to Georgia from Alabama and will be led by No. 76 QB Jack West, a Stanford commit
- Heard County features the No. 22 QB Emory Jones, who is committed to Ohio State
Bartram Trail (Fla.) vs. Cartersville (Ga.)
7:30 p.m. on ESPN2 from Cartersville High School in Cartersville, Ga.
- Bartram Trail takes on the back-to-back Georgia 4A state champ, Cartersville
- Among the key players for Bartram Trail is No. 37 QB/ATH Joey Gatewood, who is committed to Auburn
- Cartersville is on a 30-game winning streak with two-straight state championships and are led by the No. 3 QB Trevor Lawrence, who is a Clemson commit
IMG Academy (Fla.) vs. Chandler (Ariz.)
10:30 p.m. on ESPNU from Chandler High School in Chandler, Ariz.
- In the night-cap, IMG Academy from Florida travels to Arizona to take on the defending 6A state champion, Chandler
- IMG Academy boasts 11 players ranked in the ESPN 300, including No. 1 overall Xavier Thomas
- Chandler is coming off a win over Valdosta (Ga.) at the end of last season in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series
Sunday, August 27
Wayne (Ohio) vs. Pine-Richland (Pa.)
1:30 p.m. on ESPN from Pine-Richland High School in Gibsonia, Pa.
- Wayne will look to continue their program’s success after an 11-1 season from last year, and features two ESPN 300 ranked players: No. 149 Alex Reigelsperger, committed to Kentucky, and No. 195 L’Christian Smith
- Pine-Richland is led by No. 116 QB Phil Jurkovec, who is committed to Notre Dame
ESPN 300 Participants
|Rank||Pos.||Athlete||High School||College Commitment*|
|No. 1||DE||Xavier Thomas||IMG Academy||Clemson|
|No. 3||QB||Trevor Lawrence||Cartersville||Clemson|
|No. 12||DT||Taron Vincent||IMG Academy||Ohio St|
|No. 20||ILB||Palaie Gaoteote||Bishop Gorman||USC|
|No. 22||QB||Emory Jones||Heard County||Ohio State|
|No. 30||TE||Brevin Jordan||Bishop Gorman||Miami (Fla.)|
|No. 33||CB||Asante Samuel Jr.||St. Thomas Aquinas||Florida State|
|No. 37||ATH||Joey Gatewood||Bartram Trail||Auburn|
|No. 44||CB||Al Blades Jr.||St. Thomas Aquinas||Miami (Fla.)|
|No. 51||QB||Dorian Thompson-Robinson||Bishop Gorman||UCLA|
|No. 61||S||Jaiden Woodbey||St. John Bosco||Ohio State|
|No. 76||QB||Jack West||Saraland||Stanford|
|No. 77||CB||Houston Griffith||IMG Academy|
|No. 83||DE||Stephon Wynn||IMG Academy|
|No. 96||RB||T.J. Pledger||IMG Academy||Oklahoma|
|No. 107||QB||Artur Sitkowski||IMG Academy||Miami (Fla.)|
|No. 116||QB||Phil Jurkovec||Pine-Richland||Notre Dame|
|No. 118||WR||Brian Hightower||IMG Academy||Miami (Fla.)|
|No. 121||OC||Curtis Dunlap Jr.||IMG Academy|
|No. 148||DT||Austin Fontaine||DeMatha||Maryland|
|No. 149||DE||Alex Reigelsperger||Wayne High School||Kentucky|
|No. 160||WR||Elijah Moore||St. Thomas Aquinas|
|No. 173||CB||Trenell Troutman||St. Thomas Aquinas||Louisville|
|No. 174||OLB||Nikolas Bonitto||St. Thomas Aquinas|
|No. 185||WR||C.J. Moore||Tulsa Union||Oklahoma State|
|No. 188||ATH||Brendan Radley-Hiles||IMG Academy||Nebraska|
|No. 195||WR||L’Christian Smith||Wayne High School|
|No. 200||OLB||Mike Jones Jr.||IMG Academy||Clemson|
|No. 239||OT||Reuben Unije||IMG Academy|
*Please note: No player has signed with a school
All ESPN 300 Rankings and Verbal Commitments are up-to-date as of June 28, 2017