The first day of the tournament took place Saturday with teams competing in round robin play. The talent was deep with teams representing from all across the country. Plenty of five-star athletes were seen across the field, and numerous recruits who have already given their commmitments were competing in the elite event. Each team played four games Saturday to determine the championship bracket seeding for Sunday.
Three of the 14 teams in the tournament went undefeated. The seedings for the top three were determined by margin of victory. The three teams who
went undefeated were the South Florida Express, the Goon Squad (Texas) and 1925 All-Stars (California). The top two teams, South Florida Express and the Goon Squad, will receive first round byes in Sunday's championship bracket.
The Badger Sport/New Level Athletics 7-on-7 tournaments bring an abundance of talent for each of their events, but this was their first annual national championship bringing in teams from across the country.
DeAnthony Thomas, also known as 'The Black Mamba', was the star of the day. He was very aggressive and flies around the football. He had several big plays and interceptions throughout the day. The one thing that stood out the most was his physicalness. He would check receivers five yards into the sidelines and not many people could match him.
Other top 100 prospects participating included Teddy Bridgewater (South Florida Express), Anthony Wallace (Goon Squad-Texas), Greg Townsend (1925 Elite) and Victor Blackwell (1925 Elite).
Scout.com 300 members in action: Wayne Lyons (South Florida Express), Xzavier Dickson (Team Georgia), Valdez Showers (Detroit Elite), Jabriel Washington (Tennessee Elite), A.C. Leonard (Pro Impact 1), Gerrod Holliman (South Florida Express), Joe Morrow (Mississippi), Chris Barnett (Goon Squad) and Ryan Shazier (South Florida Express).
Alabama led all teams with number of commitments participating in the tournament with four including Daryl Collins, Danny Woodson, Jr., D.J. Pettway (Southern Elite) and Jabriel Washington (Tennessee Elite)
Andrew Bone's Top 10 Stars of the Day
1. DeAnthony Thomas (1925 Elite)
2. Teddy Bridgewater (South Florida Express)
3. Victor Blackwell (1925 Elite)
4. Jabriel Washington (Tennessee Elite)
5. Jermaine Whitehead (Mississippi)
6. Jesse York (South Florida Express)
6. Valdez Showers (Detroit Elite)
7. D.J. Pettway (Southern Elite)
8. Loucheiz Purifoy (Southern Elite
10. Joe Morrow (Mississippi)
*Note- The only team not personally observed was the Goon Squad. The undefeated team has a first round bye Sunday morning and looking forward to seeing them play.
The Real 7-on-7
Team Mississippi won the Tuscaloosa regional in April and were considered a favorite for the national championship. However, the Mississippi players arrived in Tuscaloosa to find out only seven players made the trip.
A couple of players like Nickolas Brassell and Tobias Singleton were on the original roster, but did not make the trip. The team did add Joe Morrow who was really impressive throughout the day on both sides of the ball. He is long, runs great and has excellent hands.
Team Mississippi had players in the majority of their games going both ways. They received a little relief with one more player who arrived later in the day. A few more are expected Sunday. They competed and were in every game they played, but managed only one win. However, the same Mississippi team only won two games the first day at their regional before winning the overall tournament.
Washington, Multi-Talented Star of the Day
Several players in the tournament competed on both sides of the ball. Alabama commitment Jabriel Washington, Scout.com four-star cornerback from Jackson-Trinity Christian Academy, Tenn., played several roles on offense and defense.
Washington started the day at free safety and wide receiver for Tennessee Elite. He rotated on defense at cornerback, but during the last couple of games he played quarterback and free safety.
Washington was one of the best overall players at the tournament. He would likely rank as a top quarterback prospect if he had a couple of more inches of height and carried more weight. He does play the position in high school.
Elite Defensive Linemen Shine
These players may play on the defensive line, but they demonstrated what they could do as linebackers at this event. The ones who really stood out were Greg Townsend, Scout.com four-star defensive end from Beverly Hills, Calif., (Team 1925), D.J. Pettway, Scout.com three-star
defensive tackle from Pensacola-Catholic, Fla.(Southern Elite), and B.J. Dubose, Scout.com three-star defensive end from Overland Park-Northeast, Fla. (South Florida Express).
Townsend was a monster in the middle and caused a lot of choas during crossing routes. He is very athletic for his size. Pettway was the best of the bumch in pass coverage. He was stride-for-stride with several quick backs. Dubose competed hard on the defensive side of the ball, but also lined up at receiver on offense. He didn't get many passes thrown his way and was more of a decoy for the talented and deep receiver group for the South Florida Express.
Danny Woodson, Jr., committed to Alabama weighing 195-pounds and arrived at camp last month at 211-pounds. Woodson admits he was overweight, and by the end of the UA camp was down to 207.
Coach Nick Saban, according to Woodson, had a stern talk about the weight problem. He arrived at the tournament Saturday morning at 202-pounds. He might go less than 200 by the end of this tiurnament based the the amount of running which takes place.
Woodson was one of the top overall receivers on the day. He is physical, but doesn't blow you away with his speed. He knows how to get open and catches the ball in traffic. Coach Saban would likely have been happy with Woodson's performance.
One of the worst things you will see on a football field is two players colliding at full speed and blindsiding each other. It took place Saturday when the Southen Elite Team was playing Detroit Elite. Alabama commitment collided with Justin Browning while running his route. The sound of the hit could be heard across the field, and both players laid motionless on the ground for minutes.
Collins had a gash on his ear and was dis-oriented, and Browning couldn't remember anything. Both left the practice field in an ambulance. Browning arrived at the Badger Sports banquet Saturday evening and seemed fine. The word also spread that Collins left the hospital and was in good condition as well. Both players appeared to have suffered mild concussions.
Top Juniors on Display
The majority of prospects in the tournament are 2011 recruits, but also a good amount of underclassmen competing especially at the receiver position.
Nate Cole, wide receiver from Memphis-Mitchell, Tenn. (Tennessee Elite), and Avery Johnson, wide receiver from Pompano Beach-Blance Ely, Fla. (South Florida Express), did extremely well.
Cole is a more physical receiver, explodes off the ball and has very strong hands. Johnson is quick and silky smooth in the open field. He is the younger brother of LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and may rank just as high as his big brother.
Other juniors who stood out included Jovon Robinson, running back from Memphis-Wooddale, Tenn. (Tennessee Elite), and Kelton Brackett, cornerback from Prichard-Blount, Ala. (Southern Elite).
Robinson played on both sides of the ball, but looked better playing running back. He is a big, thick back and displayed good burst and breakaway speed. Brackett locked down several receivers throughout the day. He has a very nice break on the ball and good size. Both should have plenty of schools knocking at their door.
Keyshawn Johnson was the offensive coordinator for 1925 Elite of California. He was energetic throughout the day and helped guide
his explosive offense to an undefeated record. Players, and even parents, were hollering all day day, "Just give me the damn ball." Johnson smiled and enjoyed winning all four games on Saturday.
1. South Florida Express (first round bye)
2. Goon Squad (first round bye)
3. 1925 Elite
4. Southeast Top Guns
5. Team Georgia
6. Pro Impact
8. Southern Elite
10. Tennessee Elite
14. Detroit Elite
Badger Sport/New Level Athletics Tournament locations for 2011:
Rutgers: February 26-27
West Coast Regional-Las Vegas: March 12-13
Florida Regional (USF): March 19-20
University of Michigan: March 26-27
University of Alabama: April 23-24
National Championship Game: University of Alabama: TBA
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