7on7 National Championship Series Hoover Preview
The need for summer competition has strengthened over the last decade for high school football athletes as the business of recruiting has intensified. And largely, it's led to strong tournaments being formed across the country.
In 2001, the National Championship Series 7-on-7 tournament was formed by USA Football. It's been a strong presence in the landscape ever since, with a variety of talent eventually moving on to the NFL, including Julio Jones, T.J. Yeldon, Le'Ron McClain and Robert Nkemdiche.
Four regions across the country host national tournaments this year, including Orange County (Ca.), Dallas (Tx.), Hoover (AL) and Canton (Oh.).
We're going to break down the Hoover (AL) National Championship Series, which is being held on July 13-15 this year in Hoover, Alabama, at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium and Hoover Metropolitan Soccer Fields and is being streamed LIVE on FloFootball.
*Fields 1 & 2 will be streamed live*
There are teams from nine states registered. Below are potentially the top contending teams:
Hoover, Alabama: Hoover finished off its 12-2 season in 2016 with its 10th state championship in 16 seasons, defeating Mobile McGill-Toolen 17-7 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn. The preeminent program in Alabama returns 26 juniors and many more underclassmen, which means it yet again may produce one of the best squads in the nation. Look for Hoover, which has won this tournament four times since 2001, to be in contention for the overall title. Mobile McGill-Toolen, Alabama:
The Yellowjackets were hoping to upset Hoover en route to a perfect season in 2016 but came up short in the championship game. Six players signed to play in the college football ranks, including several at the Division I level. Still, that doesn't deter a strong squad which returns a stellar roster. They should be dangerous in this tournament.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida: While the Vikings only went 4-8 last year, they operate out of the fertile Florida panhandle, which produces high-level high school football prospects annually. Expect Fort Walton Beach to compete with the best of the best in the tournament.
Har-Ber, Arkansas: The Wildcats went 8-3 last season in Arkansas, losing early in the playoffs. But they have traditionally been among one of the best teams in the state, last winning a state championship in 2009 -- just a year after they won this tournament in 2008. Har-Ber has won 19 games in the past two years and returns QB Payton Copher, who passed for 651 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for another 12 touchdowns.
Spanish Fort, Alabama:The Toros went 10-3 last year, losing by 4-points to Opelika to finish out their season. Yet Spanish Fort historically has been dominant in Southwestern Alabama and the squad has won at least 10 games since 2008, including undefeated seasons in 2015 and 2013. All-purpose athletes Rett Files and Jack Samsel return. The pair combined for nearly 1,000 yards passing and 12 touchdowns last year at QB.
Dutch Fork, South Carolina:The Silver Foxes, which operate out of AAAAA in South Carolina, secured a remarkable 15-0 record a season ago, laying dominance across the state en route to a formidable state title run. Freshman running back Ron Hoff returns after running for 1,762 yards and 28 touchdowns on 235 carriesValdosta, Georgia:
The Wildcats capped off a 14-win season with a victory in the Georgia AAAAAA state title again against Tucker (17-7), but followed with a loss in a national Geico Bowl game to Chandler (Az.) 44-24. Some premier talent returns, though, including Hunter Holt, who threw for 1,092 yards and 12 touchdowns at QB and ran for 676 more yards in 2016.
Memphis East, Tennessee: One of the surprises in Tennessee's Class 4A last year, the Mustangs beat Knoxville Central to win a state title in Division I, their first since 2000. East finished 13-2, but will have to replace a wide range of veterans, including 23 seniors. * * *
Full Field:Alabama: Austin, Enterprise, Tuscaloosa Hillcrest, McGill-Toolen, Park Crossing, Hoover, Thompson, Daphne, Spain Park, Bob Jones, Phenix City Central, Hewitt-Trussville, Minor, Opelika, Spanish Fort
South Carolina: Boiling Springs, Dutch Fork
Georgia: Cherokee, Brunswick, Colquitt County, Best Academy, Camden County, Valdosta, Walton
Connecticut: New Canaan
Florida: Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Mainland
Louisiana: St. Augustine, Warren Easton, Mandeville
Tennessee: Oakland, Memphis East
Mississippi: Shannon, Meridian
* * *
Previous Champions: 2016: Mobile McGill-Toolen, AL
2015: Louisville, Male Bulldogs, KY
2014: New Orleans Warren Easton Eagles, LA
2013: Kenton Wildcats, OH
2012: Hoover Buccaneers, AL
2011: Daphne Trojans, AL
2010: Carver Wolverines, AL
2009: Hoover Buccaneers, AL
2008: Har-Ber Wildcats, AR
2007: Hoover Buccaneers, AL
2006: Shiloh Christian Saints, AR
2005: Hoover Buccaneers, AL
2004: Springdale Bulldogs, AR
2003: Thomas Jefferson Jaguars, PA
2002: Evangel Christian Eagles, LA
2001: Daphne Trojans, AL
* * *
Notable Alumni:Le'Ron McClain
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