Football is back on ESPN this weekend, and it’s not just college football being played. The high school prospects are also going to be in the spotlight in the ESPN Geico High School Football Kickoff.
It starts with two games Friday, including St. Paul’s (Alabama) taking on Spanish Fort (Alabama), followed by Corner Canyon (Utah) and Bingham (Utah). The first game on Saturday is Trinity Christian (Texas) playing against Knoxville Catholic (Tennessee), and there will be a familiar face on the field.
Deion Sanders is the offensive coordinator for Trinity Christian and has had the opportunity to coach his son, Shedeur, for the past three years. The younger Sanders is an ESPN 300 quarterback in the 2021 class, currently committed to Florida Atlantic, and has had a ton of success with his father calling the plays.
Shedeur, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound recruit in Cedar Hill, Texas, along with his dad as his offensive coordinator, have led Trinity Christian to three straight state titles.
The talented quarterback threw for 3,477 yards, 47 touchdowns and four interceptions last season, completing 73.7% of his passes. In his three-year high school career, Sanders has thrown for 8,925 yards, 123 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
The weekend showcase will kick off on Friday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, when Oregon fans will get a chance to see Ducks tight end commit Christian Burkhalter and Spanish Fort play St. Paul’s in Alabama.
That game will be followed by Cornery Canyon and Bingham in Utah, and will feature aptly named Cornery Canyon quarterback Jaxson Dart against Bingham’s two premier defensive linemen, Viliama Pouha, who is committed to Utah, and Tupou Maile, committed to Utah State.
Those aren’t the only big names showcased this weekend, either. Penn State quarterback commit Liam Clifford and St. Xavier (Ohio) will play Brownsburg (Indiana) on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. Brownsburg has four three-star prospects, including Purdue wide receiver commit Preston Terrell and Indiana offensive line commit Joshua Sales.
The final game of the weekend — Pickerington Central (Ohio) against Pickerington North (Ohio) — was supposed to feature the biggest name of any in the 2021 class in defensive end Jack Sawyer, who is the No. 1-ranked prospect overall.
Sawyer, an Ohio State commit, announced on Aug. 14 he will forgo his senior season to prepare for January enrollment.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect said the probability of a spring season happening in the Big Ten weighed into his decision. It’s not known yet if midyear enrollees will be eligible to play in a spring season, or a January or February start, but there is some hope from college coaches that incoming freshmen could play in the spring and fall while only counting toward one year of eligibility.
All in all, it’s a big weekend of high school football slated with names that will eventually be featured at the college level.