When McCallie travels to Nashville on Sept. 15 to face Brentwood Academy in a Tennessee prep football showdown of perennial powerhouse programs, a national television audience will also be able to tune in.
ESPN has announced that the Blue Tornado's visit to the Eagles, a TSSAA Division II-AAA East Region game, has been selected as one of its showcase matchups this year. It will be shown on ESPNU with an 8 p.m. Eastern kickoff.
“It’s a great opportunity for the kids and our program to get our name out there and let people know it’s a great league that we play in,” McCallie coach Ralph Potter said. “They look at the number of notable college prospects as a main storyline, and that game will have quite a few.”
ESPN released a nine-game schedule for its Geico High School Football Showcase, beginning Sept. 1 with a battle of North Carolina powers — Charlotte Catholic versus Providence Day — and ending Oct. 20 with St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) facing DeMatha (Maryland). The McCallie-Brentwood Academy showdown is the only game featuring teams from Tennessee.
The series of games will feature 39 players ranked among the ESPN 300 class of 2024 and class of 2025 college prospect rankings. Brentwood Academy quarterback George MacIntyre is the No. 27 overall junior prospect on ESPN’s list and is the No. 3 pocket passer.
The Eagles, who in 2018 won the most recent of their 14 state titles, also feature running back Tamari Hill and defensive back Kolbe Harmon, a pair of three-star junior recruits, as well as senior defensive end Hank Weber, who has committed to Wisconsin, and senior offensive lineman Andrew Peterson, who has committed to Princeton.
McCallie's four TSSAA football state championships include three straight DII-AAA titles from 2019-21, and Potter's 2022 team lost by one point at Montgomery Bell Academy in the semifinals. The 2022 roster features three seniors who have committed to either an Atlantic Coast Conference or a Southeastern Conference program — receiver/defensive back Marcellus Barnes (Virginia Tech), defensive lineman Carson Gentle (Tennessee) and quarterback Jay St-Hilaire (Vanderbilt) — and junior defensive back Carson Lawrence (Vanderbilt) is among several other college prospects on the team.
The Blue Tornado, who opened their season with a 53-13 win at Chattanooga Christian last Friday, were No. 1 in DII-AAA this week in the first Associated Press state rankings of the season, while Brentwood Academy — which lost 17-16 to Christ Presbyterian Academy on Saturday — was No. 4, behind McCallie, Baylor and Lipscomb Academy.
The visit to Brentwood Academy will open McCallie's region schedule, and it will be followed by back-to-back home games against MBA (Sept. 22) and Chattanooga rival Baylor (Sept. 29) that will give the Blue Tornado a chance to avenge close losses from 2022.
“I know it’s a national audience,” Potter said of the game against the Eagles, "but for our kids, I think the Baylor-McCallie game is greater in their eyes.”
Contact Stephen Hargis at [email protected].