Southwest Elite 7-on-7 fires up on Friday

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Thursday, July 13, 2017
Bixby quarterback Tanner Griffin releases a pass Saturday, July 16, 2016, during the championship game of Southwest Elite 7-on-7 tournament at Champions Stadium at Shiloh Christian in Springdale.
Photo by Michael Woods
Bixby quarterback Tanner Griffin releases a pass Saturday, July 16, 2016, during the championship game of Southwest Elite 7-on-7 tournament at Champions Stadium at Shiloh Christian in Springdale.

— The eighth annual Southwest Elite 7-on-7 tournament has been the host to many future college and a few NFL players.

It’s likely this weekend’s two-day event will be no different with 27 teams slated to battle for the title with pool play action beginning Friday at 9 a.m. at Shiloh Christian High School.

Ohio State safety commit and Owasso star Josh Proctor (6-2, 192) - ranked as the 167th-best player nationally by ESPN - headlines the participants.

This year’s prospects on hand also include Arkansas baseball commit Kam’ron Mays-Hunt (6-0, 175) of Bentonville and Bentonville West junior wide receiver Jadon Jackson (6-1, 160), who has a Razorback football offer.

“We are very excited about the competition,” Shiloh Christian head coach Jeff Conaway said. “Owasso is one of those teams with (former Fayetteville) Coach (Bill) Blankenship as the head coach there now and we have been able to plug them in and we are excited about that.

“We are excited about some other coaches that are in our (Shiloh Christian) coaching tree if you will - Tucker Barnhart, who comes every year from Stillwater and it is a good group of schools.

“We have Bixby coming back and they are a defending state champ as well as our tournament champs from last year and we have Fayetteville and Bentonville, who have won this tournament before so competition is going to be great.”

Current NFL players that have come through the Southwest Elite include Fayetteville’s Brandon Allen (Jacksonville), Springfield Hillcrest wide receiver Dorial Green (released in June by the Philadelphia Eagles) and Sterling Shepherd (New York Giants).

Current Arkansas quarterbacks Austin Allen and Ty Story, Razorback tight ends Cheyenne O’Grady and Jack Kraus, Arkansas freshmen defensive back Jordon Curtis both played in the event as well.

Current Florida tight end DeAndre Goolsby of Derby, Kan., also participated along with former players such as Auburn’s Kiehl Frazier, Oklahoma State tailback Barry Sanders, Jr., and Arkansas linebacker Brooks Ellis as well as many others now playing on the college level.

The event starts Thursday night with a guest speaker with this year’s headliner being former San Francisco 49ers defensive back and current motivational speaker Tryone Smith.

He follows in the line of other Southwest Elite speakers that have included former Florida and NFL player Tim Tebow.

“He (Smith) is with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes out of Texas and a former NFL defensive back,” Conaway said. “He’s got some great football experience, but what we are most excited about is the life experiences that he has had and the motivational speeches he gives.

“We want all of the athletes participating in our tournament to hear the truth so we share with them a gospel message.

“Every year that I have been involved with this tournament we have seen kids give their life to Christ and it has just been a really neat deal.”

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