The top 7 on 7 football teams from around North America will compete in the fifth annual IMG 7v7 National Championship in Bradenton, Fla. this weekend. The event starts Friday with a practice, meeting and the Cam Newton Skills Challenge, followed by Future Stars Division and Club Division play Saturday and Sunday.
This year’s field will be the most teams the event has ever had. Forty-four teams are expected to compete in the Club Division (high school), event spokesman John Esfeller said, while 20 are expected for the Future Stars (middle school) division.
There were 18 regional 7 on 7 qualifying events to help determine which teams would advance to the national championships.
Among the teams participating in the high school division are Team Texas Red, Fundamentally Sound Sports (Georgia), with four Class of 2016 prospects already committed to a college; and CTC Rochester, with the entire team consisting of players from Rochester, N.Y.
The Cam Newton Skills Challenge, taking place at 6:30 Friday night on IMGA Stadium Field, will feature a nominated quarterback from each team. That will be the first real glimpse of competition before the Future Stars and Club Division get underway at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
The recent winners of the high school division have been the Florida Fire in 2014, Team Tampa in 2012 and 2013 and Maximum Exposure (Michigan) in 2011. In the 2015 NFL Draft, three IMG 7v7 alums were selected in the first round – Dante Fowler third overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Amari Cooper fourth to the Oakland Raiders and Nelson Agholor 20th to the Philadelphia Eagles. All three played in the inaugural 2011 7v7 challenge.
Here’s the full schedule of events for the next three days.