Friday, February 6, 2015

The Evolution of the Game: 7-on-7 Teams

The goal for all high school football players in America is to win a state championship for their hometown. For most of these players, the next goal is to be recruited to play college football. In reality, winning a state championship is most likely not going to happen. “There are 1,209 high school football teams in Texas, and only 12 teams will walk away with the state championship trophy.3 For teams who only play in ten games and do not receive the same exposure as the state championship teams, how do their players get noticed? One of the answers is 7-on-7 tournaments.
Since 7-on-7 football competition began in the late 1990s, it has grown rapidly in Texas. It’s mostly played by high school teams, which compete in qualifying tournaments for spots in the state tournament in July,  but “select” 7-on-7 teams are becoming more common in football hotbeds like California and Florida. Those teams, made up of players from different high schools, can travel around the country to compete in national tournaments and get recruiting exposure..1  The founder of 7-on-7, Dick Olin created this passing league so he could work his defense and offense all summer long. “We had our center snap the ball, we had our running backs, our receivers, our quarterback...The crucial part is growing skill. And if it results in the high school team's improvement, that is where recruiting happens.”2
In the past few years, these “select” 7-on-7 teams have been popping up all across the country, and growing in popularity. With scholarships on the line, and college coaches not being allowed at high school 7-on-7 tournaments, high school prospects join these club teams in hope of being recruited. Unlike a high school, in which a college coach can inquire about two, maybe three players, all-star teams can include 15-20 players any given coach might have interest in. When asked about 7-on-7, Damon Webb, an Ohio State commit from Detroit, said "It brings you a lot of exposure going around the country competing against other national recruits...It played a big part in my national recruitment.”1

1Jennings, C. (2013, January 13). Development and exposure. Retrieved February 1, 2015.

2Wixon, M., & Smith, C. (n.d.). High school football is king, but is threat on the horizon? Retrieved February 1, 2015.

3Tinsley, A. (2014, December 11). Too many teams in Texas football playoffs? Retrieved February 1, 2015.

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