A showdown between two top teams in Illinois will kick off the high school football season in style as the third annual ESPN High School Football Kickoff gets underway in August.
In all, 26 teams from 15 states and five teams in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings will play on ESPN’s family of networks from Aug. 24-26, beginning with Joliet Catholic Academy (Joliet, Ill.) playing at Providence Catholic (New Lenox, Ill.) at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. That game features one of the nation’s top recruits, rising senior Ty Isaac of Joliet Catholic. The USC commit is rated the nation’s No. 68 player in the ESPN 150.
Other Friday games include Minnetonka (Minn.) at Arrowhead (Hartland, Wis.) at 8 p.m. on ESPN3. Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) will play at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) at 9 p.m. on ESPN2, and Mullen (Denver) will play at Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) at 10 p.m. on ESPN3.
Friday is the first of three days of coverage that also includes 17 teams appearing on ESPN for the first time as well as 11 athletes who are currently ranked in the ESPN 150. That list is headlined by Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, Va.) QB Christian Hackenberg, the nation’s No. 1 quarterback and No. 16 recruit in the ESPN 150. His team will play Hermitage (Henrico, Va.) at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va. on Saturday at 3 p.m. on ESPNU.
The slate of games includes 12 defending state champions, including two games which have dueling state champions – Good Counsel against Bishop Gorman as well as Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) taking on Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) at 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.