By Craig Sager II
Football scattered, smothered and covered!
This offseason’s first Georgia Elite Classic Showcase is set for April 21, 2018 and will take place at Grady High School’s historic Grady Stadium. Players from the Class of 2019 through the Class of 2022 are eligible to attend, and can take advantage of this early opportunity to compete, get better, and showcase their abilities. And to top it off, they will get a lunch from Waffle House.
Athletes will be put through a dynamic warm-up before they are divided into groups and rotated through the following testing stations for measurements: 40-yard dash, agility shuttle and broad jump (players will get two attempts at each station). After all the measurable tests are completed, players will be divided once again and evaluated on their performance in position specific drills, 1-on-1’s and 2-on-2’s.
There will be five games this year on Dec. 28 at McEachern High School for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors as well as the added “Brain Bowl” for juniors and seniors who hit the books hard.
Coordinating the showcase and leading evaluation process will be Georgia Elite Classic Director of Player Personnel and 247Sports’ Rusty Mansell, along with the Classic’s selection and review committee. Following the showcase, the results of each player’s performance will go out to more than 250 colleges and their coaches.
“The evaluation process is an essential part of recruiting and there are only so many camps to go to each offseason,” explained Mansell. “So this really is a golden opportunity for us. Holding this showcase allows the Georgia Elite Classic selection committee, recruiting services and players from the next four recruiting classes to dive into this process before the summer and really hit the ground running. You could drop a pin at Grady High School and go around a 30-mile radius and find DI and FBS players packed in everywhere.”
Mansell’s years of experience covering Georgia’s recruiting scene are primed for the controlled environment that this showcase will provide, and he is preparing ahead of time to take full advantage.
“That’s the goal with this showcase,” said Mansell. “Everyone gets a chance to compete on a levelled stage. So because of that, it really is a controlled environment. If I want to see a Mountain View kid go up against a Mill Creek kid, or give a recruit from a lower classification a chance to matchup with a player that he wouldn’t get to go against we can do that. There is no discrimination, and we get to go into full evaluation mode.”
Mansell and his team are also eager to observe the underclassmen talent, and get ahead of the game with their evaluation of prospects from the Class of 2021 and 2022.
“It’s always a cycle,” said Mansell. “The Class of 2018 was a group that had a ton of mega stars with guys like 5-star quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. They dominated a lot of people’s time because they were special players. That’s not saying they did not deserve all the coverage. They did, but there were just so many big names headlining the Class of 2018 that it was important to make sure they were all being well-covered. That being said, I think this 2019 class is better than people think and very well-rounded. I can already see it coming with the star-studded Class of 2020. Now, the Class of 2021 and Class of 2022 can really start coming into scope too.”
Lunch and hash browns will be provided by Waffle House and all participants will receive a Georgia Elite Classic t-shirt. For more information visit GeorgiaEliteClassic.com or click on the registration link. The Showcase flyer is also provided below.
The lineup of the sixth annual Georgia Elite Classic will include the first-ever Brain Bowl, in addition to Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior all-star games. This five-game marathon will take place at McEachern High School on Friday, Dec. 28.
Eligible academic standouts from the sophomore, junior and senior classes will make up the two rosters of the Brain Bowl and will square off in the second slot of the five-game lineup. Player nominations for Team Einstein and Team Hawking will open on March 1 at GeorgiaEliteClassic.com and will require proof of a 3.0 grade-point average and combined two-part (math and reading) SAT score of at least 1100 and an ACT score of at least 22.
The Georgia Elite Classic has grown from its beginnings as a junior game in 2013, and this past December brought the most significant expansion in the event’s history. More than 400 players from all four classes were featured, and more than 170 different high schools across the state of Georgia had at least one player in the games. New features like a halftime kicking contest, instant replay, coaching challenges and the use of 15-minute quarters were added as well.
The result was an unprecedented look at Georgia’s top stars, driving even more college interest in the state’s gridiron greatness. The idea for the Brain Bowl came specifically from the academic powerhouses of the northeastern United States. Coaches from such conferences as the Ivy League, Patriot League and New England Small College Athletic Conference have been drawn to the Peach State for years, suggesting an all-star game could be created specifically for top student-athletes could deliver more student-athletes up north. These schools are looking for academically qualified players from Georgia and are expected to work closely throughout the year with the Georgia Elite Classic.
“It’s no secret that Georgia has some of the brightest and most talented prospects in the country,” said Score Atlanta president and Georgia Elite Classic founder I.J. Rosenberg. “I think the Brain Bowl is a great way to showcase that and give these guys a chance to compete in an All-Star game environment against the type of student-athlete they were play against in college. They have worked hard on and off the field and deserve this opportunity. Al lot of parents don’t know about the academic opportunities their kids can get at schools like Yale, Georgetown and Amherst among many others and also get to play four years of competitive college football. OK, I have to say it, it’s a no-brainer.’’
2018 GEORGIA ELITE CLASSIC SCHEDULE
At McEachern High School
Thursday, Dec. 27
Seventh Grade Game 4 p.m.
Eighth Grade Game 6 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 28
Senior Game 10:00 a.m.
Brain Bowl 12:30 p.m.
Junior Game 3 p.m.
Freshman Game 5:30 p.m.
Sophomore Game 8 p.m.
By Seth Ellerbee
Pictured: Chaz Chambliss – Freshman LB Carrollton
There will be talent everywhere.
The fifth annual Georgia Elite Classic will be held Thursday at McEachern’s Cantrell Stadium and will feature eight teams, two from each high school grade level, taking on each other in the what has become the largest one day of high school football all-star games in the country.
The 2017 edition of the event features nearly 400 players from across Georgia and introduces several new rules to the full day lineup, including coach’s challenges via instant replay technology.
Here is the breakdown:
Each team will have an opportunity to challenge one play per half, which will be displayed on McEachern’s huge and impressive video board. There will be at least two cameras on every play and if the coach decides to challenge, he must throw the red flag and let the lead official know he is challenging the play.
The white hat will then watch the replay on the board and make a decision. The game is using NFL rules and if the play is overturned, no timeout will be taken away. However, if the play is not overturned, the team that challenged the play will be charged one timeout.
Some other changes will also impact the Classic. Because of the large number of prospects in this year’s games, the quarters have been extended from 12 to 15 minutes to allow more players the opportunity to get on the field. Also, there will be a two-minute warning at the end of each half and NFL rules will be used for timing as well as a 40-second clock.
The halftime show has also been altered to include a kicking competition held among the four kickers in each of the games as well as the snappers. A live emcee will announce the results of the contest from the field. The participants will warm up from the 25-yard line and then will face sudden-death elimination, with each kick increasing in five-yards increments.
Other all-star game specific rules: On defense, only tackles and ends may rush. The middle and outside linebackers may not rush and must stay 2-yards off the line of scrimmage. Punters may not be rushed either.
All missed field goals, regardless of where the ball is blown dead, will be placed on the 30-yard line. Punts are not live and will be downed at the spot of the catch or where the ball is ruled dead.
Kickoffs will be from the 35-yard line and if the ball crosses the goal line, it will be ruled dead and be spotted at the 30-yard line.
The games are scheduled to be webcast live on ScoreATL.com, GeorgiaEliteClassic.com and the National Federation High School Network. Score Atlanta’s Craig Sager Jr. will be heading up the social-media driven webcast and expect a few surprise guests sitting in with him.
Thursday’s Georgia Elite Schedule at McEachern High School
10 a.m.: Freshman Game
12:30 a.m.: Sophomore Game
3 p.m.: Junior Game
5:30 p.m.: Senior Game
By Craig Sager II
A historic test-run of the use of instant replay and coaches’ challenges at the high school level will take place at this year’s Georgia Elite Classic on Dec. 28 at McEachern’s Cantrell Stadium. The annual all-star showcase will introduce several other new rules to its record-setting four-game lineup, but none bigger or more interesting than giving each head coach the opportunity to challenge calls on the field for the first time.
This is how it will work.
Each team will have a chance to challenge one play per half, which will be shown on the video board at McEachern. There will be at least two cameras on every play, and the head coaches will be given red flags to throw and also vocally have to let the white hat know they are challenging the play before the start of the next one. The white hat will watch the replay on the video board and make his decision. The game is using NFL rules, so if the play is overturned, no timeout will be taken away. If the play is not overturned, the team that challenged will lose a timeout.
Instant replay and the coaches’ challenges has brought “what ifs” and heated debates into the high school football world ever since the NFL introduced them in 1999. College initiated its own version in 2006, but Georgia high school football still seems a long way from instituting an instant replay equipment standard that could work with the 400-plus programs across the Peach State. Nonetheless, featuring the technology for the first time at the Georgia Elite Classic will put it to the test in a big way. Not only is this the largest all-star game in the country this year with over 400 prospects, but more than 170 different Georgia high schools will have players represented in this year’s event to experience the test run first hand.
With so many prospects, the classic has felt the need to expand each quarter from 12 to 15 minutes so players get more snaps and exposure. There will also be a two-minute warning before each half for the first time. The halftimes of each game have been revamped this year as well, and there will be a 15-minute break and kicking competition held among the four kickers in each game. Each team’s long snapper will participate in the competition and snap to a holder, and a live emcee will announce the contest from the field. Each kicker will get a warmup kick from the 25-yard line, and then it will be sudden-death elimination from then on, with each kick increasing in 5-yard increments.
In-game field goals have their own set of rules. The defensive alignment for all field goals and extra points must be 4-3.
Here are some of the other all-star game specific rules: On defense, only tackles and ends may rush, and the middle linebacker and outside linebacker must be 2 yards off the line of scrimmage and may not rush. The defense may not rush the punter either.
All missed field goals, regardless of where the ball is blown dead, will be placed on the 30-yard line. Punts will be downed at the spot of the catch or the place where it is ruled dead.
On kickoffs, the ball will be kicked off from the 35-yard line. Kickoffs that cross the goal line are dead, and the ball will automatically be spotted on the 30-yard line.
Tickets to the Georgia Elite Classic can be purchased online for $8 HERE and will be available for $10 at the gates on game day. All games will be streamed on the NFHS Network.
Thursday, Dec. 28
Freshman Game – 10 a.m.
Sophomore Game – 12:30 p.m.
Junior Game – 3 p.m.
Senior Game – 5:30 p.m.
photo credit courtesy of Dawgnation
When the Georgia Elite Classic launched five years ago, it set out on a mission to showcase the same combination of on-the-field and off-the-field talent that draws college coaches from around the country to recruit from the state of Georgia each year. The inaugural Classic featured a star-studded junior game and built a foundation that encouraged continuous growth in the years since. A sophomore game was added for the first time in 2015, and last year’s event put three different recruiting classes on display by adding a senior game for the first time. This year will give the state’s top freshmen a chance to join the spotlight, and with more games, prospects, coaches and recruiting experts coming together than ever before, the 2017 Georgia Elite Classic is primed for a historic five-year anniversary celebration.
The three-day event begins on Dec. 26 when more than 400 prospects, representing over 170 different Georgia high schools, will check in and get ready for the first of their three practices before game day. Team bonding activities like a fun-filled night at Stars and Strikes on Dec. 27 and accommodations provided at the Galleria Marriott across from SunTrust Park will give players time to connect off the field. The first of the four games scheduled for Dec. 28 at McEachern’s Cantrell Stadium will kick off at 10 a.m. with the freshmen and will conclude with the seniors at 5:30 p.m.
In addition to introducing the first-ever four-game lineup, new leadership was added to the Georgia Elite Classic team this past year. I.J. Rosenberg, the president of Score Atlanta, one of the organizers of the Corky Kell Classic and creator of the Georgia Elite Classic, brought on veteran coaches Tripp Allen of Brookwood and Jeff Carlberg of North Gwinnett to lead the selection process with guidance from recruiting expert Rusty Mansell of 247Sports. With 54 years of combined coaching experience in Georgia high school football between them, Allen (26 years) and Carlberg (28) as well as the eight head coaches in this year’s four games are some of the state’s best.
Walton’s Daniel Brunner and North Gwinnett’s Bill Stewart will coach the senior games, while North Cobb’s Shane Queen and Stockbridge’s Kevin Whitley will lead the junior game. Jackson’s Dary Myricks and Milton’s Adam Clack will coach the sophomores while Fitzgerald’s Tucker Pruitt and Villa Rica’s Rico Zachery coach the freshmen.
Five-star wide receivers and UGA commits Dominick Blaylock (Walton) and Jadon Haselwood (Cedar Grove), the only two U.S. Army All-Americans in Georgia right now for the 2019 class. headline the junior game while Norcross kicker Jake Camarda, also going to play for the Bulldogs and one of the top high school kickers in the nation, will play in the senior game. The sophomore game will have defensive end Arik Gilbert from Marietta, who has a chance to be the top prospect nationally in the 2020 class and when asked about the freshmen game, Mansell said, “Both teams will be filled with a ridiculous number of players who will play in both the SEC and ACC.’’
2017 GEORGIA ELITE CLASSIC SCHEDULE
Thursday, Dec. 28
Freshmen Game 10 a.m.
Sophomore Game 12:30 p.m.
Junior Game 3 p.m.
Senior Game 5:30 p.m.
The Georgia Elite Classic locked down its head coaches for the four games on Dec. 28 at McEachern High School. The Senior Game will be coached by Daniel Brunner from Walton and Bill Stewart from North Gwinnett. The Bulldogs have clinched Region 6 in Class AAAAAAA while the Raiders are undefeated at 9-0 and can lock down Region 4 in Class AAAAAAA with a win Friday night over Woodstock. Brunner and Stewart, both in their first year as head coaches at their respective schools, opened the season against each other at the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic with Walton winning 31-28 in a game that could have gone either way. Both teams have been undefeated since their meeting at Georgia State Stadium. The Junior Game will be led by Shane McQueen of North Cobb and Stockbridge’s Kevin Whitley. The Tigers are undefeated at 9-0 and have won their fourth straight region title while the Warriors are 5-4 and still have a shot at the playoffs. The Sophomore Game will be coached by Jackson’s Dary Myricks and Adam Clack from Milton. The Eagles will make the Class AAAAAAA playoffs and are 7-2 while the Red Devils clinched a spot in the Class AAA playoffs. The freshman game will feature Tucker Pruitt from Fitzgerald and Villa Rica’s Rico Zachery. In Class AAAAA, the Wildcats finished their season at 5-5 in one of the toughest regions in the state while the Purple Hurricanes are still fighting for a playoff spot and region title at Class AA. To be considered for the games, click here. Another way to get into the games is to sign up the Elite Showcase, which will be held Dec. 17 at McEachern High School. A group of players form the Showcase will be chosen to play in the games. To sign up for the Showcase, click here. For more info on the Georgia Elite Classic, go to GeorgiaEliteClassic.com or call Graham David (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Score Atlanta at 404-256-1572 or Rusty Mansel of 247Sports at email@example.com.
The Georgia Elite Classic is excited to announce its dates for the 2017 games to be played at McEachern High School. The Classic will be going into its fifth season and the three-day event will be held Dec. 26-28. There also will be a freshman game this season in addition to sophomore, junior and senior games and just as the Classic did in 2016, gameday on Dec. 28 will open with a B2C eighth-grade All-Star game.
In the upcoming weeks, the Classic will also announce its new recruiting partner, expected to be one of the top recruiting services in the country as well as dates for combine tryouts which will be held throughout Georgia during the spring.
In addition, the Classic will soon announce its plans for 2018 when Super Bowl LIII comes to town in February of 2019. The Classic plans to play its games during Super Bowl week as well as bringing in an All-Star team from another state.
The Georgia Elite Classic is an event run under direction of Score Atlanta which also handles the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic and Signing Day Frenzy among other events. Last December, more than 320 football players and 64 coaches from around the state participated in the Georgia Elite Classic in four games at McEachern.
For more information, go to EliteJRClassic.com or call 404-246-7819.
Corey Kiner rushed 27 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns, but Team Nitro was able to hold on 14-13 after a failed 2-point conversion with 52 seconds remaining.
America 27, National 16
A controversial fumble call on a swing pass to the flats changed momentum and helped Team America race away from Team National in the fourth quarter.