The nation’s largest 7on7 football event is back in Las Vegas this weekend.
The Pylon Elite 7on7 Las Vegas National has attracted 136 teams in the high school division for players who members of the Class of 2018, 2019 and 2020, organizers say. That is up from 120 last year. Unlike other events in which teams are broken up into divisions based on skill level, all 136 teams play in a single division and begin with pool play.
There are 41 middle school teams for seventh and eighth graders, roughly the same as last year, and 21 youth teams, up from 13.
“We are blessed to have young men from around the United States and Canada who believe in their abilities to compete and respect the time and dedication mentors in communities around the world put forth in guiding these young men to our event,” Baron Flenory, the founder of Pylon 7on7 Football said. “We strongly believe in the power of opportunity and provide a platform for athletes to compete and be seen.”
The Las Vegas event is part of Pylon’s National Championship Series, which features regional events and culminates in Dallas at AT&T Stadium in late June.
“The sport of 7on7 football is growing rapidly and we will continue to push forward in development of this sport across the United States and overseas,” said Joshua Borne, the managing partner for Pylon 7on7 Football.
Among the teams to watch are: 702 Elite, Body by Tra, DB Guru, Eat, Fire, FSP, Ground Zero, Frat Boys, Rhare Breed, Team Lillard, Team Texas, Team Utah, Tucson Turf, Winner’s Circle, Yak Elite, Boom, Proway, Zorts and the Washington Raider.
As you can tell by the names, these are club teams that bring in players from multiple high schools within a particular area rather than teams that represent specific high school programs.
Here are 10 players to watch this weekend
Palaie Gaoteote, 702 Elite: Fresh off his commitment to USC, Gaoteote is a five-star inside linebacker whom Top247 ranks as the No. 5 player overall in the Class of 2018. Gaoteote was a key member of the defense for Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) as the Gaels won a third consecutive Super 25 championship. He had 68 tackles as a junior with 11.5 tackles for loss. Among his best games was Gorman’s win against St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) in an overtime thriller when he finished with 12 tackles and a forced fumble.
Jaiden Woodbey, Ground Zero: Woodbey from St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) is an Ohio State commit who is ranked as the No. 3 safety and No. 32 player overall, according to the 247Sports Composite.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Brevin Jordan, 702 Elite: We will consider this as entry with the talented QB and pass-catching combo from Gorman. Thompson-Robinson, ranked as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the nation and No. 54 overall, moves to quarterback for Gorman following the departure of Tate Martell to Ohio State. He already has 22 offers. The 6-3 Jordan is ranked as the No. 3 tight end and No. 71 player overall and has 26 offers. He had nine receiving touchdowns as a junior.
Jacob Sirmon, FSP Blue Chip: The No. 3 pro-style quarterback and No. 21 player overall, he committed to Washington in December 2015. He threw for 2,500 yards with 18 touchdowns and two interceptions for Bothell (Wash.).
Braden Lenzy, Team Lillard: Lenzy caps a week in which he committed to Notre Dame after attending the school’s junior day a few weeks ago. Lenzy, from Tigard (Portland, Ore.), is ranked as the No. 10 athlete in the Class of 2018 by the 247Sports Composite, although he is projected as a receiver.
Olaijah Griffin, Ground Zero: The No. 9 cornerback and No. 57 player in the nation, Griffin has 12 reported offers, including much of the Pac-12. He attends Mission Viejo High in California.
Elijah Moore, Florida Fire: Moore, from St. Thomas Aquinas, earned an invitation to The Opening Finals last week with his performance at the regional event in Orlando. Ranked as the No. 31 wide receiver in the class, he has 31 reported offers.
Mark Pope, Florida Fire: Pope’s stock continues to rise in recruiting circles and was among the most impressive players on the field at the recent Plyon Southeast regional event near Orlando. He scored a lot of touchdowns and punctuated many with unique TD celebrations. Pope, from Miami Southridge, is ranked as the No. 21 wide receiver and has 20 offers.
Akeem Dent, Florida Fire: A Miami commit, Dent is ranked as the No. 1 cornerback and No. 18 player overall in the Class of 2019, according to Top 247. Dent transferred from Pahokee to Palm Beach Central in July. He was a key player on Pahokee’s run to the state title, although that title was stripped from the school for using an ineligible player.
Eric Ezukanma: As a junior at Timber Creek (Keller, Texas), he scored 27 total touchdowns. He recorded 1,447 yards as a receiver and 383 as a rusher. Texas A&M is considered the early leader for Ezukanma, ranked as the No. 30 wide receiver in the class.