The NFL High School Player Development National 7-on-7 Tournament will take place this weekend at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. This marks the first time Indianapolis will serve as the host city, and the first time all 32 NFL Teams will be represented in the tournament.
The NFL HSPD National 7-on-7 Tournament began in 2004 with only four teams participating, but that seems like a distant memory to where it is today.
"We are excited about this great opportunity to host the tournament," Indianapolis Colts Youth Football Commissioner Mike Prior said. "We couldn't do it without the Indiana National Guard and we know this will be a great tournament."
All 32 NFL Teams have picked a representative to wear their colors and play in the national tournament, but not all 32 teams are selected the same way.
The Indianapolis Colts choose their representative by holding two 32 team 7-on-7 regional tournaments with the winner of each playing in a state championship game. The winner of that game represents the Indianapolis Colts, which for 2012 is Heritage Christian High School from Indianapolis.
"We could not ask for a better opportunity for our program," Heritage Christian Head Coach Ron Qualls said. "We know our guys will represent the Colts and the state of Indiana well."
With having all 32 NFL teams in Indianapolis this weekend, Prior understands what this tournament means for the Colts.
"This is a precedent of how future tournaments will be run," Prior said. "We are ready for the task and to show them good team building, character development and how to move on to the next level."
The tournament is not only a great opportunity for the Colts organization but really the entire City of Indianapolis.
"The Colts are proud to be the host site for the NFL HSPD 7-on-7 National Tournament. No city hosts championship events like Indianapolis, and this is a Super Bowl for these young athletes," Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward said.
From the competition aspect of the tournament, Heritage Christian Quarterback Matt Hunt is eager to go up against some of the best talent in the country.
"There will be multiple Division I athletes playing (this weekend), "Hunt said. "Very few teams get an opportunity to play in a tournament like this."
The NFL only allows each team to bring 12 players along with two coaches to the tournament, which means at least two players will have to play both offense and defense.
"We believe it is a built in advantage for us," Coach Qualls said. "We have multiple guys who play both ways. Some teams could be playing players out of position."
Along with the 7-on-7 Tournament, 36 high school football players from the Midwest will take part in the inaugural Lineman Leadership Program. The two-day Lineman Leadership event will be comprised of classroom activities, community service, and leadership competitions.
Linemen will also have the opportunity to give back to the community through their work with special needs individuals during the Dream Season program at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. The leadership competitions will consist of a series of obstacle courses and activities led by the Indiana National Guard at Camp Atterbury.
For Complete coverage on the 2012 NFL HSPD National 7-on-7 Tournament and the Heritage Christian eagles, continue to check Colts.com/MyIndianaFootball throughout the weekend.