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2018 GEICO ESPN High School Football Showcase: College Football’s Next Generation


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  • Beginning August 31, Weekly Coverage of Best High School Football Matchups
  • Showcase to Feature Top Players from ESPN 300 and ESPN Jr. 300
  • More than 27 Participants Have Verbally Committed to FBS College Football Programs

The 2018 GEICO ESPN High School Football Showcase will feature matchups between some of the top high school football programs from across the country. The 11-game schedule begins Friday, August 31, and will continue through Friday, November 2. This year’s showcase will feature 48 ranked players from ESPN 300 (Class of 2019) and ESPN Junior 300 (Class of 2020), including athletes who have committed to some of the top FBS programs—Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Illinois, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn St., Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, and Washington.  Teams from 11 states will be represented in this season’s showcase.

Among this year’s teams are seven pre-season nationally ranked teams, according to USA TODAY High School Sports: No. 1 IMG Academy (Fla.), No. 3 Grayson (Ga.), No. 5 St. John’s (Washington D.C), No. 10 Hoover (Ala.), No. 12 Bishop Gorman (Nev.), No. 16 Archer (Ga.) and No. 23 Good Counsel (Md.). ESPN’s Jay Alter and Craig Haubert will be on the call for all Showcase games.

Combined with the previously announced 2018 GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff, ESPN will televise 18 high school football games across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU this season.

2018 GEICO ESPN High School Football Showcase Highlights

  • Top-Ranked Players: 1 Kayvon Thibodeaux – DE (Oaks Christian, Ca.), No. 2 Nolan Smith – DE (IMG Academy, Fla.), No. 4 Pierce Quick – OT (Hewitt-Trussville, Ala.), No. 6 Owen Pappoe – OLB, and No. 7 Wanya Morris – OT (Grayson, Ga.)
  • Top 25 Matchups: 1 IMG Academy (Fla.) travels to No. 10 Hoover (Ala.) in the final Showcase game Friday, November 2. No. 16 Archer takes on No. 3 Grayson Thursday, October 11 in a Georgia showdown. No. 5 St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) will face No. 23 Good Counsel (Md.) on neutral ground at Catholic Univ. on Friday, October 12
  • First Ever Nationally Televised Friday Night HS Football Game in Texas: This rematch of TAPPS Div. I quarterfinal game between Bishop Dunne (Tex.) and St. Pius X (Tex.), features six players ranked in the 2019 and 2020 ESPN 300; it will be the first time a Texas HS football game is broadcast live on national television on a Friday night

2018 GEICO ESPN High School Football Showcase Schedule
Note: All game times are ET. Team rankings are per USA TODAY High School Sports. Player Rankings are per ESPN 300 and ESPN Junior 300.

Week 1
Friday, August 31
Graham-Kapowsin (Wa.) vs. Sheldon (Ore.)
10 p.m. on ESPNU from Sheldon High School in Eugene, Oregon.

  • This Pacific Northwest interstate matchup features teams from Oregon and Washington that both finished 10-2 last season
  • Both teams will rely heavily on senior quarterback play, with Graham-Kapowsin’s pocket-passer No. 119 Dylan Morris (Washington verbal), and Sheldon dual-threat QB Michael Johnson Jr., No. 211 (Penn St. verbal)

Week 2
Friday, September 7
Trinity Christian (Cedar Hill, Tex.) vs. Florida A&M High (Fla.)
7 p.m. on ESPNU from Bragg Memorial Stadium at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.

  • Deion Sanders is the OC for Trinity Christian, and they will make the trip from Cedar Hill, Texas to Tallahassee to take on Florida A&M High, who looks to improve on a 6-5 campaign last season
  • Trinity Christian is coming off a TAPPS Div. II championship last season, and their defensive backfield will be a strength with No. 38 Sr. Lewis Cline at Safety, and No. 27 Jr. Dwight McGlothern Jr. at CB
  • Sanders has two sons who are big contributors on both sides of the ball for Trinity Christian; 2019 CB Shilo Sanders (Nebraska, Oregon and Texas A&M offers), and 2021 QB Shedeur Sanders who already has offers from FSU, Florida, LSU and Oregon

Week 3
Friday, September 14
North Gwinnett (Ga.) vs. Walton (Ga.)
7 p.m. on ESPNU from Walton High School in Marietta, Georgia.

  • North Gwinnett is the reigning GHSA 7A champ, with a three point loss to Walton in the season-opener. This was the only blemish on their 14-1 record last season
  • Walton is coming off a one loss season as well, and they return the No. 34 player, WR Dominick Blaylock, a Georgia commit
  • North Gwinnett has no shortage of talent coming back from their championship team, including Quinton Newsome (Nebraska verbal) and Warren Burrell (Tennessee verbal) in the defensive backfield, and Tyler Goodson at RB (Iowa verbal)

Friday, September 14
No. 12 Bishop Gorman (Nev.) vs. De La Salle (Cal.)
10 p.m. on ESPNU from De La Salle High School, in Concord, California.

  • The West Coast matchup features two state and national powers looking to rebound from relative “down” seasons when both teams dropped two games, a rarity for programs of their stature
  • De La Salle rarely loses on home turf, and they return two ESPN 300 players in OLB Henry To’oto’o, the No. 52 player, and TE Isaiah Foskey, the No. 213 ranked player
  • Bishop Gorman is seeking their 10th straight NIAA state title led by a talented roster with commitments to Stanford and UCLA at CB and OG, amongst several other players with major D1 offers

Week 4
Friday, September 21
Oaks Christian (Cal.) vs. Bakersfield Christian (Cal.)
10 p.m. on ESPNU from Bakersfield Christian High School in Bakersfield, California.

  • Oaks Christian is coming of a great season after capturing the CIF Southern Section Div. II championship; the L.A. area school boasts the No. 1 player in the country, DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, plus No. 194 Jr. WR Bryce Farrell (Stanford verbal)
  • Bakersfield Christian was 10-2 last season and will look to improve on a second round playoff appearance, with former NFL and Fresno State QB David Carr at OC, calling plays to Sr. QB Keonte Glinton (BYU, Oregon State, Wyoming offers)

Week 5 – Bye Week

Week 6
Friday, October 5
Bishop Dunne (Tex.) vs. St. Pius X (Tex.)
9 p.m. on ESPNU from St. Pius X High School in Houston, Texas.

  • First ever nationally televised Friday night high school football game in Texas will feature St. Pius X of Houston, hosting Bishop Dunne from Dallas; a rematch of a 2017 TAPPS Div. I quarterfinal in which St. Pius X won by a touchdown prior to advancing to the championship game where they lost 42-41
  • Bishop Dunne features two ESPN 300 Sr.’s in their defensive backfield, No. 31 Brian Williams (the No. 1 S in the nation and Texas A&M verbal) and No. 96 Marquez Beason at CB (Illinois verbal), as well as No. 176 Jr. WR Zeriah Beason and No. 270 Jr. OLB Brennon Scott.
  • Pius X will have two ESPN 300 ranked players at WR to matchup against the Bishop Dunne DB’s, No. 144 Jalen Curry and No. 214 Chase Lane (Texas A&M verbal); Sr. QB Grant Gunnell (Arizona verbal) will be throwing to the two talented wide-outs

Week 7
Thursday, October 11
No. 16 Archer (Ga.) vs. No. 3 Grayson (Ga.)
7 p.m. on ESPN2 from Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia.

  • This high-powered Georgia game has two nationally ranked teams, and could be a preview of a 2018 GHSA 7A state playoff/championship matchup
  • Grayson lost by three points in a defensive battle to Archer last season but return a bevy of ESPN 300 players: No. 6, Owen Pappoe OLB (Auburn verbal), No. 7 Wanya Morris OT (Tennessee verbal), No. 93 Kenyatta Watson CB (Texas verbal), No. 105 Kevin Harris DE (Alabama verbal), No. 157 Trente Jones OT (Michigan verbal)
  • Archer doesn’t lack in talent either, especially on defense, with the No. 33 ranked player, Andrew Booth at CB (Clemson verbal), along with multiple Power Five offers at S and DE

Friday, October 12
No. 23 Good Counsel (Md.) vs. No. 5 St. John’s (Washington, D.C)
8pm on ESPN2 from Cardinal Stadium at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

  • This WCAC battle will feature plenty of talent and two nationally ranked teams
  • Good Counsel will look to get past the WCAC semifinals, which they advanced to in 2017; Sr. ATH Cam Hart is committed to Notre Dame
  • John’s Jr. class is stacked with four ESPN 300 players ranked in the class of 2020: No. 45 ILB Mekhail Sherman, No. 61 WR Rakim Jarrett, No. 110 CB Luke Hill and No. 132 DT Tre Williams

Week 8
Friday, October 19
Chaparral (Ariz.) vs. Pinnacle (Ariz.)
10 p.m. on ESPNU from Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Both teams intend to improve on strong showings from last season when each advanced to AIA playoff quarterfinals; Chaparral lost by one touchdown to 5A champ Centennial, and Pinnacle lost in a 77-52 shootout to 6A champ Chandler
  • Pinnacle’s high scoring offense will ride behind Spencer Rattler; the Oklahoma commit is the No. 16 ranked player in the nation and No. 1 QB.
  • Chaparral came on strong at the end of last season and will look to build on that momentum with young talent at the skilled positions, including two Ohio State commits, No. 111 Jr. QB Jack Miller and No. 121 Jr. RB Darvon Hubbard

Week 9
Friday, October 26
Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) vs. Thompson (Ala.)
7:30 p.m. on ESPN2 from Thompson High School in Alabaster, Alabama.

  • These Alabama teams will try to break through the “Hoover Barrier” this season. . Both teams suffered their only losses in 2017 in successive weeks in the 7A playoffs to the eventual state champion
  • Hewitt-Trussville has a trio of Alabama commits on offense with OT Pierce Quick as the No. 4 ranked player in the country, QB Paul Tyson, the great-grandson of legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant and No. 71 Jr. WR Dazalin Worsham. On defense they have No. 190 Jr. CB Malachi Moore and No. 289 Jr. DT Eric Taylor.
  • Thompson has their own OT/QB combination of Alabama commits, with No. 46 player Amari Kight on the line and No. 197 Taulia Tagovailoa at QB

Week 10
Friday, November 2
No. 1 IMG Academy (Fla.) vs. No. 10 Hoover (Ala.)
9 p.m. on ESPNU from the Hoover Met in Hoover, Alabama.

  • Matchup of two top-ten ranked teams, this final Showcase game could have No. 1 national ranking implications
  • IMG Academy enters the season ranked No. 1 nationally, and touting 10 players ranked in the ESPN 300 Sr. Class, including No. 2 Nolan Smith at DE, and two current ESPN 300 Jr.’s – No. 101 DE Tre’Von Diggins (Miami verbal) and No. 114 S Lejond Cavazos (Ohio State verbal)
  • Despite close losses to fellow Showcase participants Grayson, Thompson and IMG last year, Hoover went on to win the 7A Alabama title; they enter the 2018 season with a top-ten national ranking and the pass catching duo of No. 95 Sr. WR George Pickens (Auburn verbal) and No. 52 Jr. QB Robby Ashford


 ESPN 300 Participants (Class of 2019)

Rank Player Position High School College Commitment*
1 Kayvon Thibodeaux DE Oaks Christian (CA)
2 Nolan Smith DE IMG Academy (FL) Georgia
4 Pierce Quick OT Hewitt-Trussville (AL) Alabama
6 Owen Pappoe OLB Grayson (GA) Auburn
7 Wanya Morris OT Grayson (GA) Tennessee
16 Spencer Rattler QB Pinnacle (AZ) Oklahoma
17 Trey Sanders RB IMG Academy (FL)
31 Brian Williams S Bishop Dunne (TX) Texas A&M
33 Andrew Booth CB Archer (GA) Clemson
34 Dominick Blaylock WR Walton (GA) Georgia
37 Evan Neal OT IMG Academy (FL)
38 Lewis Cine S Trinity Christian (TX)
46 Amari Kight OT Thompson (AL) Alabama
52 Henry To’oto’o OLB De La Salle (CA)
73 Noah Cain RB IMG Academy (FL)
93 Kenyatta Watson CB Grayson (GA) Texas
95 George Pickens WR Hoover (AL) Auburn
96 Marquez Beason CB Bishop Dunne (TX) Illinois
105 Kevin Harris DE Grayson (GA) Alabama
106 Deyavie Hammond OG IMG Academy (FL)
113 Dontae Lucas OG IMG Academy (FL) Florida St.
119 Dylan Morris QB Graham-Kapowsin (WA) Washington
125 Jaleel McRae OLB IMG Academy (FL) Florida St.
144 Jalen Curry WR St. Pius X (TX)
157 Trente Jones OT Grayson (GA) Michigan
184 Briton Allen S IMG Academy (FL)
197 Taulia Tagovailoa QB Thompson (AL) Alabama
211 Michael Johnson Jr. QB Sheldon (OR) Penn St.
213 Isaiah Foskey TE De La Salle (CA)
214 Chase Lane WR St. Pius X (TX) Texas A&M
239 Joshua Delgado WR IMG Academy (FL) Oregon
296 Mikel Jones OLB IMG Academy (FL)



ESPN Junior 300 Participants (Class of 2020)


Rank Player Position High School College Commitment*
27 Dwight McGlothern Jr. CB Trinity Christian (TX)
45 Mekhail Sherman ILB St. John’s (DC)
52 Robby Ashford QB Hoover (AL)
61 Rakim Jarrett WR St. John’s (DC)
71 Dazalin Worsham WR Hewitt-Trussville (AL) Alabama
101 Tre’von Riggins DE IMG Academy (FL) Miami (FL)
110 Luke Hill CB St. John’s (DC)
111 Jack Miller QB Chaparral (AZ) Ohio St.
114 Lejond Cavazos S IMG Academy (FL) Ohio St.
121 Darvon Hubbard RB Chaparral (AZ) Ohio St.
132 Tre Williams DT St. John’s (DC)
176 Zeriah Beason WR Bishop Dunne (TX)
190 Malachi Moore CB Hewitt-Trussville (AL)
194 Bryce Farrell WR Oaks Christian (CA) Stanford
270 Brennon Scott OLB Bishop Dunne (TX)
289 Eric Taylor DT Hewitt-Trussville (AL)

*Please note: No player has signed with a school



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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