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ESPN and Geico to Air HS Football Kickoff in August

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ESPN and Geico are partnering this August to present the Geico ESPN High School Football Kickoff for the ninth consecutive year. This year’s event will feature seven games across multiple ESPN channels from August 24-26.

The event will feature teams from ten states. Seven of those teams are defending state champions. What is probably more interesting to the larger sports audience is that 21 premier recruits from the ESPN300 will be featured in these games.

ESPN 300 Participants

Rank Pos. Athlete High School College Commitment*
5 OT Pierce Quick Hewitt-Trussville (AL) Alabama
8 OLB Owen Pappoe Grayson (GA) Auburn
9 OT Wanya Morris Grayson (GA) Tennessee
12 WR Jadon Haselwood Cedar Grove (GA) Georgia
52 OLB Mase Funa Mater Dei (CA) Oregon
58 QB Bo Nix Pinson Valley (AL) Auburn
75 ATH Bru McCoy Mater Dei (CA)
87 OLB Anthony Solomon St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) Miami (FL)
94 CB Kenyatta Watson Grayson (GA) Texas
98 DT Rashad Cheney Cedar Grove (GA) Alabama
106 DE Kevin Harris Grayson (GA) Alabama
124 WR George Pickens Hoover (AL) Auburn
135 S Jordan Battle St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)
136 WR DeMarcco Hellams DeMatha (MD) Alabama
137 DE Stephen Herron Jr. Trinity (KY) Michigan
157 OT Trente Jones Grayson (GA) Michigan
162 S Nick Cross DeMatha (MD)
172 CB Jaden Davis St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)
221 WR David Bell Warren Central (IN)
253 DE Braylen Ingraham St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)
292 RB Sean Dollars Mater Dei (CA) Oregon

*Please note: No player has signed with a school
All ESPN 300 Rankings and Verbal Commitments are up-to-date as of June 12, 2018

The game schedule is as follows:

FRIDAY AUGUST 24

  • Warren Central (IN) vs Trinity (KY) – 6pm Eastern on ESPNU
  • Mater Dei (CA) vs Bishop Gorman (NV) – 9pm Eastern on ESPNU

SATURDAY

  • Pinson Valley (AL) vs Hoover (AL) – Noon Eastern on ESPN
  • Cedar Grove (GA) vs Hewitt-Trussville – 3:30pm Eastern on ESPN
  • Tucker (GA) vs Grayson (GA) – 6pm Eastern on ESPNU
  • DeMatha (MD) vs St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) 7pm on ESPN2

SUNDAY

  • Phillips (IL) vs Pickerington Central (OH) – 12:30pm Eastern on ESPN

 

Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Had To Wait Until My Mother Passed to Write My Book’

“I’ve never ran before, so there was no way I was going to start with this book.”

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An autobiography from Stephen A. Smith is due in stores early next year. Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes is an all-encompassing look at the First Take star’s life from his childhood to today.

Smith appreciates privacy and has been hesitant to talk about his personal life in the past. Occasionally he has made exceptions for shows hosted by friends and people in the business that he respects.

On Wednesday’s episode of First Take, Stephen A. Smith said that was largely due to a promise he made to his mother.

“She told me never to write a book until she passed away, because she knows I’m gonna say what I need to say,” he told Molly Qerim and Chris Russo. “I’m gonna speak my mind and I’m gonna speak my truth. There are things in there that she would not have wanted me to reveal while she was alive.”

He added that writing it made him more uncomfortable than he anticipated.

“There’s a lot in there that I didn’t want to tell, but if you gonna write a book, you gotta tell it.”

Russo joked that clearly Smith is excited. He had texted the New York radio legend the cover and some information about the book earlier in the summer.

Qerim has received some of that material too. She told Smith that what she has seen and read is very impressive.

“This is huge, and I’m proud of you. It’s hard to tell. I know you’ve kept your personal life close to the vest. For you to open up, I think people are going to respect you even more when they learn more about you.”

Stephen A. Smith noted that in addition to his childhood and his professional triumphs, the book will also revisit the controversies that surrounded him at points in his career. He noted the goal of the book was not necessarily to make him look good, but to help people better understand the man they see on TV each morning.

“I’ve never ran before, so there was no way I was going to start with this book,” Smith said.

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Golf Channel, Brandel Chamblee Facing Defamation Lawsuit From Patrick Reed

During a Golf Channel broadcast, Chamblee had reportedly accused Reed of cheating during the Hero World Challenge after being assessed a two-stroke penalty for improving his ball placement in a bunker.

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Golf Channel and analyst Brandel Chamblee are being sued by golfer Patrick Reed after Reed alleged “misreporting information with falsity and/or reckless disregard of the truth” by the network and Chamblee.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Reed claims Golf Channel, Chamblee, and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan have conspired against him since he joined the PGA Tour while trying to “destroy his reputation, create hate and a hostile work environment for him”.

Reed, who has faced cheating allegations dating back to his college golf days, had his legal representation send a cease-and-desist letter to Chamblee in 2020. During a Golf Channel broadcast, Chamblee had reportedly accused Reed of cheating during the Hero World Challenge after being assessed a two-stroke penalty for improving his ball placement in a bunker. Reed claimed he did not intend to improve his lie.

Reed, 2018 winner of The Masters, alleges that Chamblee’s allegations have caused fans to heckle him and label him a cheater at events.

Patrick Reed defected from the PGA Tour in June to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf organization. He is seeking $750 million in damages.

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Sports TV News

Joe Girardi Joining Marquee Sports Network

“I’m excited to join Marquee and look forward to working alongside Boog, JD, and Taylor this weekend at Wrigley Field,” said Girardi.

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Marquee Sports Network has announced that former Chicago Cubs catcher, and Marlins, Yankees, and Phillies manager Joe Girardi is joining the network as a game analyst. Girardi will work this weekends series between the Cubs and Brewers, as well as a series against the Marlins in September.

Girardi has previously worked as an analyst for YES Network, MLB Network, and Fox Sports.

“I’m excited to join Marquee and look forward to working alongside Boog, JD, and Taylor this weekend at Wrigley Field,” said Girardi. “Growing up a Cubs fan and then having the chance to play for the team for a number of years, I’m honored to now have the opportunity to broadcast from the historic television broadcast booth.”

After a three-time World Series winner as a player, Girardi spent 15 seasons in the big leagues, seven of which came with the Cubs. The former catcher has spent parts of 14 seasons as a manager with the Marlins, Yankees, and Phillies. Girardi was fired as the manager of the Phillies on June 3rd.

“We’re pleased to welcome Joe Girardi to the Marquee Sports Network team,” said Marquee Sports Network General Manager, Mike McCarthy. “His insights as a long-time Cubs player and big league manager will be a valuable addition to the broadcasts. Welcome Joe!”

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