The ESPNU High School All-American Game, a new ESPN owned-and-operated annual all-star football competition spotlighting the nation’s top high school seniors, will debut Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla.
Organized in conjunction with Intersport, a leading sports and entertainment media and marketing company with over 20 years experience, the event will be broadcast live to a national audience on ABC at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. CT and noon MT), and will be aired on tape delay at noon PT.
National recruiting analysts and talent evaluators from ESPN Scouts, Inc., will select players for both team rosters from among The ESPN 150, a nationwide ranking of top prep football prospects. A total of 80-84 players will be invited, with all players having the opportunity to also participate in a multi-faceted skills competition, which will be televised Friday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, will provide extensive coverage of the event throughout the week, including team practice sessions. Other ancillary events include an awards banquet and a player tour of the Disney facilities.
“The ESPNU High School All-American Game will give players from across the country the opportunity to play alongside one another, while providing fans a glimpse of the future college and possibly NFL stars of tomorrow,” said Burke Magnus, vice president and general manager, ESPNU. “We look forward to growing this all-star game into one of the country’s premier sporting events for amateur athletics, while also giving even more prep athletes an opportunity to showcase their talent on a national stage.”
“This event is a great example of ESPN’s mission to reach a diverse group of sports fans from many different communities throughout the nation,” added James Brown, senior vice president, new program development, ESPN. “Having the game at a nationally-renowned facility like Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex, which is located in a popular travel destination and strong high school football market, makes it a terrific foundation for this exciting new venture.”
More than forty players have accepted invitations to participate in the 2008 ESPNU High School All-American Game, including Jermie Calhoun (RB – Van HS, Van, Texas), A.J. Green (WR – Summerville HS, Ridgeville, S.C), Will Hill (DB – Saint Peter’s HS, West Orange, N.J.), Julio Jones (WR – Foley HS, Foley, Ala.) and E.J. Manuel (QB – Bayside HS, Virginia Beach, Va.).
2008 ESPNU High School All-Americans (Scheduled to Participate)
(More players to be added)
- Dwayne Allen TE Fayetteville, NC
- Blake Ayles TE Orange, Calif.
- Jonathan Baldwin WR Aliquippa, Pa.
- Brandon Barnes ATH Louisburg, N.C.
- Xavier Brewer CB Jacksonville, Fla.
- Ramon Buchanan OLB Melbourne, Fla.
- Jermie Calhoun RB Van, Texas
- Nigel Carr OLB Jacksonville, Fla.
- Braxston Cave OC Granger, Ind.
- Taylor Cook QB Eagle Lake, Texas
- Keanon Cooper OLB Dallas, Texas
- Aundre Dean RB Katy, Texas
- Vaughn Dotsy OG Ventura, Calif.
- Dee Finley FS Auburn, Ala.
- Daniel Franklin LB Clarkesville, Ga.
- A.J. Green WR Ridgeville, S.C.
- Braden Hanson QB Charlotte, N.C.
- Brandon Harris CB Miami, Fla.
- Antoine Hicks ATH Arlington, Texas
- Will Hill ATH West Orange, N.J.
- Jarvis Humphrey DT Cedar Hill, Texas
- Julio Jones WR Foley, Ala.
- Landry Jones QB Artesia, N.M.
- Neiko Lipscomb DB Tucker, Ga.
- Tyler Love OT Birmingham, Ala.
- Jon Major OLB Parker, Colo.
- E.J. Manuel QB Virginia Beach, Va.
- Michael Matt FB Jeanette, Pa.
- Antoine McClain OT Anniston, Ala.
- Terrance Parks DB Fairborn, Ga.
- Burton Scott WR Prichard, Ala.
- Jamoris Slaughter FS Stone Mountain, Ga.
- Kye Staley RB Guthrie, Okla.
- Andrew Sweat LB Washington, Pa.
- Carlton Thomas RB Frostproof, Fla.
- Chase Thomas DE Atlanta, Ga.
- Brandon Thompson DT Thomasville, Ga.
- Courtney Upshaw DE Eufaula, Ala.
- Deion Walker WR Christchurch, Va.
- Charles Whitlock ATH Chester, S.C.
- Christian Wilson LB McKees Rock, Pa.
- R.J. Washington DE Fort Worth, Texas
- E.J. Woods FS Culver City, Calif.
High School Sports on ESPN
The ESPN networks have covered high school sports since the 1980’s, including boys’ and girls’ basketball, football and lacrosse competitions. Notable prep events televised in recent years by the ESPN networks have included top athletes such as LeBron James (St. Vincent-St. Mary’s), Sebastian Telfair (Abraham Lincoln High School) and Greg Oden (Lawrence North), and top 25 football programs such as De La Salle High School (Calif.), Hoover High School (Ala.) and North Fort Myers High School (Fla.). Other featured events have included the McDonald’s All-American High School Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball Games, the Jordan Brand All-American Classic and the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic.
ESPNU has also increased coverage of high school sports with more live games and college recruiting studio shows, including ESPNU Recruiting Insider and its annual National Signing Day show in February. In 2006, ESPN acquired Scouts, Inc. to produce more in-depth scouting information primarily for high school, college and pro football across ESPN’s media assets. In addition, year-long recruiting coverage is available at Recruiting Insider on ESPN.com, which provides in-depth national news and information about the top prep athletes from across the country and the collegiate athletic programs recruiting them.