Sports

June 4, 2012

N. Murray’s Mays earns Newton nod

North Murray’s football team didn’t win it’s pool or finish in the top four at this past weekend’s Cam Newton Foundation 7-on-7 tournament at Sprayberry High in Marietta, but the Mountaineers’ Jacob Mays earned a fan with his play.

Newton, the former Heisman Trophy winner who led Auburn to a national title and the current starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers,  selected Mays to play on one of his all-star teams which will compete at the IMG Madden 7-on-7 Championships in Bradenton, Fla. June 29-July 1.

“It was unbelievable,” Mays said of meeting Newton and being presented with a trophy by the former NFL first-round draft pick. “That sort of sums it up. It was a once in a lifetime chance, I guess.”

Mays will now spend the next several weekends in Atlanta practicing with the rest of Newton’s all-star team from the tournament. The top four teams in this past weekend’s tournament automatically advanced, and Newton will have all-star teams from both the north Atlanta tournament at Sprayberry and the south Atlanta tournament held at Westlake, Newton’s former high school.

North Murray first-year coach David Gann said there will be several all-star teams at the main tournament in Florida.

“Cam watched and picked his own team, and I think there will be other all-star teams from Deion Sanders and Keyshawn Johnson as well as other players,” Gann said after his team went 4-8 in two days of competition. “To get hand-picked by Cam Newton, that is pretty special.”

Mays played at running back and receiver in Gann’s new offensive schemes this spring, and he played mainly in the slot receiver spot in Saturday’s action.

“The first day, we just played him at tailback, and he is such a good athlete, it is tough for linebackers to cover him out of the backfield,” Gann said. “We put him in the slot on Saturday, and again people tried to cover him with a linebacker, and most of the time that isn’t going to work. Jacob is big and physical and is tough to handle.”

With his selection to make the trip to Florida, Mays will join some rather elite company. While Gann said several smaller schools such as Georgia Southern and Wofford have been in contact regarding the 6-foot-3, 205-pound rising senior, this will certainly raise Mays’ profile.

“It is a great opportunity and will help get his name out even more,” Gann said.

In the tournament at Sprayberry, the Mountaineers notched their wins against higher classification teams Stephenson, North Cobb and twice over the host Yellow Jackets. Three of their losses in the competition came against Gainesville, the team that knocked Dalton out of the Class 3A state playoffs last year. Red Elephants quarterback DeShaun Watson will be someone Mays will get to know over the next month as he was chosen for Newton’s all-star team as well.

“There were some very good teams there,” Gann said of his team’s performance. “We improved tremendously from the first day to the second day, and our kids were very excited to be in Cam Newton’s tournament, which was a real first-class tournament.”

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