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The 2018 GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff Begins Friday, August 24


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  • Seven Games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU
  • Kickoff Features 21 Players in ESPN 300 Senior Class
  • 10 States Represented, Including Seven 2017 State Champions

The 2018 GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff will conclude Summer of Next, taking place on August 24-26. The seven-game slate will feature 21 players ranked in ESPN 300, including three in the top 10: No. 5 Pierce Quick (Hewitt-Trussville, Ala.), No. 8 Owen Pappoe and No. 9 Wanya Morris (both of Grayson, Ga.) The annual event, in its ninth year, will have 10 states represented, and 15 players who have already committed to top college football programs including Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas. Games will be on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

Georgia, Florida and California lead the way with the most recruits participating, with 14 of the 22 ranked players hailing from those three states. The 2018 GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff preludes the GEICO ESPN 2018 High School Football Showcase.

2018 ESPN GEICO High School Football Kickoff Schedule
Notes: All times are ET. Player rankings from ESPN 300 (Seniors in the Class of 2019).Team rankings per USA TODAY SPORTS Super 25 Expert Rankings

Friday, August 24
No. 25 Warren Central (Ind.) vs. Trinity (Ky.)
6 p.m. on ESPNU from Trinity High School in Louisville, Ky.

  • Trinity went 15-0 on their way to a state championship and a top ten national ranking in 2017. They return No. 137 Stephen Herron Jr., a Michigan commit at DE
  • Warren Central will try to avenge a 42-41 loss to Trinity last season, and will look to their standout WR, No. 221 David Bell to help do so

 No. 4 Mater Dei (Ca.) vs. No. 12 Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
9 p.m. on ESPNU from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nev.

  • Mater Dei is coming off a record year, going 15-0, capturing the CIF Open Division state title and earning a No. 1 national ranking. They will remain hard to beat with three players returning that are ranked in the ESPN 300
  • Bishop Gorman boasts a talented roster with ten players holding D1 offers, and will be motivated to redeem a 14 point loss to Mater Dei last season

Saturday, August 25
Pinson Valley (Ala.) vs. No. 10 Hoover (Ala.)
Noon on ESPN from the Hoover Met, Hoover, Ala.

  • A matchup between the 6A and 7A Alabama state champs from 2017
  • Pinson Valley was 15-0 last season and returns their signal caller, QB Bo Nix, the No. 58 ranked player in the country
  • Defending 7A champ and perennial state power Hoover will be a test for Pinson Valley. Hoover features No. 124, WR George Pickens

Cedar Grove (Ga.) vs. Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.)
3:30 p.m. on ESPN from the Hoover Met, Hoover, Ala.

  • Cedar Grove had just one loss in 2017, advancing to the Georgia 3A semifinals, with a young team. Their offense returns WR Jadon Haselwood (Georgia commit), the No. 12 player overall, while the defense has DT Rashad Cheney up front, the No. 98 ranked player
  • Hewitt-Trussville’s only loss was to Alabama 7A Champ Hoover, and their offense will be led by the No. 5 ranked player in the country, OL Pierce Quick, as well as QB Paul Tyson, both committed to Alabama

Tucker (Ga.) vs. No. 3 Grayson (Ga.)
6 p.m. on ESPNU from Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga.

  • Grayson is one of the most talented teams in the country, with five players ranked near the top half of the ESPN 300, and another six players with major D1 offers
  • Tucker advanced to the Georgia 6A semifinals last season and are led on defense by Derrick McLendon who is fielding offers from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU and Michigan to name a few

DeMatha (Md.) vs. No. 11 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.)
7 p.m. on ESPN2 from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

  • Both DeMatha and St. Thomas Aquinas are coming off of uncharacteristic “down-seasons” in 2017, but that does not mean there is any lack of fire-power on either side for these two national power-house programs
  • Thomas Aquinas has an impressive four players ranked in the ESPN 300, plus another five players with major D1 offers
  • On offense DeMatha features No. 136 DeMarcco Hellams at WR, while on the defensive side of the ball, No. 162 Nick Cross patrols at Safety

 Sunday, August 26
Phillips (IIl.) vs. No. 22 Pickerington Central (Ohio)
12:30 p.m. on ESPN from Otterbein University in Westerville, Oh.

  • This Midwest matchup between state champions will showcase recruits on both teams with offers from the Big 10 and SEC
  • Phillips was 14-0 last season, capturing the 5A state title in Illinois, the first Chicago Public School to ever win a state championship in football
  • Pickerington Central dropped only one game a season ago, on their way to a Division 1 state title in Ohio


ESPN 300 Participants

Rank Pos. Athlete High School College Commitment*
5 OT Pierce Quick Hewitt-Trussville (AL) Alabama
8 OLB Owen Pappoe Grayson (GA) Auburn
9 OT Wanya Morris Grayson (GA) Tennessee
12 WR Jadon Haselwood Cedar Grove (GA) Georgia
52 OLB Mase Funa Mater Dei (CA) Oregon
58 QB Bo Nix Pinson Valley (AL) Auburn
75 ATH Bru McCoy Mater Dei (CA)
87 OLB Anthony Solomon St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) Miami (FL)
94 CB Kenyatta Watson Grayson (GA) Texas
98 DT Rashad Cheney Cedar Grove (GA) Alabama
106 DE Kevin Harris Grayson (GA) Alabama
124 WR George Pickens Hoover (AL) Auburn
135 S Jordan Battle St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)
136 WR DeMarcco Hellams DeMatha (MD) Alabama
137 DE Stephen Herron Jr. Trinity (KY) Michigan
157 OT Trente Jones Grayson (GA) Michigan
162 S Nick Cross DeMatha (MD)
172 CB Jaden Davis St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)
221 WR David Bell Warren Central (IN)
253 DE Braylen Ingraham St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)
292 RB Sean Dollars Mater Dei (CA) Oregon

*Please note: No player has signed with a school
All ESPN 300 Rankings and Verbal Commitments are up-to-date as of June 12, 2018


For further information on the GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff and to request media credentials, please contact [email protected]

ESPN media contact:

Kimberly Elchlepp at [email protected] or 860-424-2923; @kimelchlepp