Hoover High School
Hoover’s Sam Gillikin ready to show his stuff at QB
Jeff Sentell, Birmingham News, July 21, 2011 9:27 a.m.
The Web home page for the National Select 7-on-7 rotates images from past championships.
There’s one from last year of a tall junior in a white shirt with a back brace. It’s an image of Sam Gillikin with a ball boy and towel duty.
The snapshots from this year will be dramatically different. Gillikin was an Auburn baseball commitment in 2010, wishing he could get back to the game he loves. He was set to be a starting receiver last year, but a stress fracture in his back limited his playing time to three games.
Gillikin is the Hoover quarterback this July. He replaces Ryan Carter who went 28-2 in his two seasons for the Bucs. Gillikin completed 20 of his 23 passes for 275 yards and three scores at Fairhope in the spring game, but the 2011 National Select 7-on-7 championships presented by Under Armour will offer the first real look at him at home.
“It’s gonna be a completely different feeling from last year,” Gillikin said. “It’s a real honor to follow Ryan. I wasn’t even allowed to throw this time last year and sitting out most of last year made me realize how much I love football. It’s going to be a lot of fun taking the reins and the snaps in our home stadium. We’re all looking forward to it.”
Fans of the event should, too. This year’s 31-team field boasts 11 players rated by Rivals.com among the top players in their respective states. Mount Rowan from North Carolina comes in having won three consecutive state championships. Its 46-game winning streak is the longest in the nation.
Games this year can be seen at www.select7on7.com and on mobile devices by going to m.ihigh.com and clicking on the “Media” button. iHigh will broadcast two games at a time simultaneously and promises to showcase 53 games from Buccaneer Stadium.
Former Alabama standouts Marcell Dareus and Julio Jones, who have Under Armour endorsement contracts, will be on hand Saturday to congratulate the semifinalists.
Spain Park’s fans will also get another glimpse of life with first-year coach Chip Lindsey. The former quarterback coach at Troy returns to the high school game this fall with impressive credentials. He’ll face the Lassiter program of Metro Atlanta that he led in 2008 and 2009 and set several state passing records with.
“We play them the first day I think at 5 o’clock,” Lindsey said. “ I still know all those kids there at Lassiter and it will be fun to see them.”
Spain Park brings in an impressive secondary. Each member holds an offer from a Football Bowl Sub-Division (formerly Division I) team. This week also marks the summer debut for promising junior quarterback Nick Mullens. He threw for 2,243 yards and 14 scores last season. He’s been sidelined with elbow tendinitis that flared up at the end of baseball season.
Lindsey is high on his quarterback but also expressed appreciation for the work senior Jeff Heinke has done to fill the void. He said Mullens will get reps, but how many depends on his elbow.
“We’ve kind of got him on a pitch count and we’ll maybe let him play the first series of each game and then every third or fourth one after that,” Lindsey said.
This year’s National Select 7-on-7 will feature one of the deeper pools of prospects in its nine-year history. Here’s a list of the impact recruits on the rosters of the 31 teams in action at Hoover High and the Regions Park beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday with pool play. The tournament runs through Saturday afternoon.
LB Kwon Alexander, Oxford
No. 1 OLB in the nation per Scout.com
WR D’Arthur Cowan, Olive Branch, Miss.
Offered by Arkansas, Alabama and Miss. State
WR C.J. Curry, Flowery Branch, Ga.
CB Trae Elston, Oxford
Rivals.com No. 10 CB has nine SEC offers
CB Chris Humes, Spain Park
Holds offers from Auburn and Miss. State
QB Jeremy Johnson, Carver-Montgomery
6-foot-5 junior holds Auburn offer
QB TylerMatthews, McPherson, Kan.
Rivals.com No. 5 QB is a TCU verbal
QB Maty Mauk, Kenton, Ohio
QB Brendan Nosovitch, Allentown, Pa.
South Carolina verbal
ATH Justin Thomas, Prattville
Versatile passer committed to Alabama
ATH T.J. Yeldon, Daphne
Auburn verbal rated No. 58 in USA by Rivals.com