FHSAA unveils ‘100 Greatest Players of First 100 Years’ as part of centennial football celebration
GAINESVILLE – As part of its celebration of “100 Years of Florida High School Football,” the Florida High School Athletic Association is pleased to unveil its list of the “100 Greatest Players of the First 100 Years.”
This list was compiled from nominations submitted by media representatives from around the state. Final selections were made by a panel of high school sports experts, who spent more than 20 hours spread over 10 conference calls, and scores of emails, discussing and deliberating these and at least 100 other players who received serious consideration. The list was finalized on Friday, Nov. 16.
“There were no right or wrong choices in this process,” said FHSAA Associate Executive Director Jack Watford. “There were only opinions. Well-informed opinions, mind you, but opinions nonetheless. Get a dozen groups of high school football fans together around the state to pick such a list, and they’ll probably all come up with 25 or 30 common names. Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess as to who they’ll come with. And the great thing about is, that absolutely none of them will be wrong.”
The “100 Greatest Players” list is the first of four special releases to be made by the FHSAA over the last two weeks of the 2007 football season. The following special announcements are planned for next week:
• Monday, December 10 – The 10-member coaching staff for the “All-Century Team” will be announced. One of these 10 coaches will be revealed as the “Coach of the Century” at halftime of the Class 5A state championship game on Friday, December 14, in Orlando.
• Tuesday, December 11 – The “Teams of the Century,” one from each decade, plus the top small-school team of all time, will be announced. One of these teams will be revealed as the “Team of the Century,” chosen by the FHSAA’s panel of experts as the greatest high school football team to ever take the field in Florida, at halftime of the Class 6A state championship game on Saturday, December 15, in Orlando.
• Wednesday, December 12 – The 33 players by position comprising the “All-Century Team” will be announced. One of these 33 players will be revealed as the “Player of the Century” at halftime of the Class 5A state championship game on Friday, December 14, in Orlando.
All announcements will be made on FHSAA.org, the official web site of the Florida High School Athletic Association.
Here, now, is the FHSAA’s “100 Greatest Players of the First 100 Years” presented in alphabetical order. The year represents the player’s senior high school season.
Ottis Anderson | RB | Forest Hill (West Palm Beach) | 1974
Known for physical style of running, often dragging tacklers for extra yardage every time he ran the ball. Closed out high school career with 200-yard rushing, 3-TD performance. First 1,000-yard rusher in University of Miami history. Finished college career with 3,331 yards, including 13 100-yard games. Had successful NFL career and was MVP of Super Bowl XXV with the New York Giants.
Bennie Blades | DB | Piper (Sunrise) | 1983
Named to All-Time All-Broward Team in 1999. Played at University of Miami. Won Jim Thorpe Award in 1987 as top collegiate defensive back. Member of College Football Hall of Fame. First-round pick by Detroit Lions in 1988. Spent nine seasons in NFL.
Forrest Blue | OL | Chamberlain (Tampa) | 1963
One of the top OL to ever come out of Florida. 3-year letterman for Auburn from 1965-67. No. 1 pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 1968 draft. Played 11 seasons in NFL with San Francisco and Baltimore. Played in 148 games in career. Even scored TD as a lineman.
Anquan Boldin | Ath | Pahokee |1998
Mr. Football and first-team All-American his senior year. First player in state history to surpass 10,000 yards and then 11,000 yards in career offense. Had 4,339 yards total offense (2,842 passing and 1,497 rushing) for a 14-1 team as a senior. Finished high school career with 11,433 total yards, 134 TDs (71 passing, 56 rushing, 5 on interceptions returns, 2 on punt returns). Converted into WR at Florida State. Now plays for NFL Arizona Cardinals where he has earned Rookie of the Year and All-Pro awards.
David Bowden | QB | Kathleen (Lakeland) | 1970
Set state records for career passing yards (6,623) and career TD passes (91) that stood for years. Passed for 2,372 yards and 39 TDs as a senior. Played football and baseball at Florida. A pro baseball draft pick.
Scot Brantley | LB | Forest (Ocala) | 1975
Florida’s only Parade All-American in 1975. A tackling machine for Wildcats’ back-to-back state title teams in 1974-75. Delivered game-winning HR in bottom of 7th inning at Orlando’s Tinker Field to give Forest a 1975 state baseball championship. Earned All-SEC honors at University of Florida. Had 467 career tackles – second on all-time Gators list. Played 8 NFL seasons with Tampa Bay.
“Neon” Leon Bright | RB/KR | Merritt Island | 1973
Rushed for 4,036 yards and 77 TDs when Mustangs were at top of Florida’s big classification (1972 state champs) with a prolific offense. Led FSU in rushing with 713 yards in 1973 and was backup RB and renowned courageous punt returner for New York Giants. Fielded 141 punts without calling for a fair catch in 5 NFL seasons.
Derrick Brooks | DB | Washington (Pensacola) | 1990
USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year and everybody’s All-American as a senior. Joined Emmitt Smith as only Floridians picked to USA Today All-Time Team (20 years) in 1991. Starred at FSU. Now in 13th NFL season, all with Tampa Bay. Was 2002 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 2005 Pro Bowl MVP.
Jerome Brown | DL | Hernando (Brooksville) | 1982
Standout DL and 3-sport letterman at Hernando in early 1980s. Went on to be an All-American at University of Miami and an All-Pro with Philadelphia Eagles. Played from 1987-91, picking up 29.5 career sacks in 76 games during his 5-year NFL career. Died in June 1992 in an automobile accident.
Larry Brown | TE/DE | Bradford (Starke) | 1966
One of Bradford’s first black players, excelled for Tornadoes’ state title team as senior. Played college ball at Kansas. Had 14 NFL seasons with Pittsburgh, including all 4 of Steelers’ Super Bowl wins. Was a TE from 1971-76 and an OL from 1977-84. Was picked to Pro Bowl in 1982.
Lomas Brown | OL | Miami Springs | 1980
After a highly successful prep career, became a multi-year starter for University of Florida. Was 6th overall selection in 1985 NFL Draft. Played 18 years in NFL before retiring following 2002 season.
Ken Burrough | QB | Raines (Jacksonville) | 1965
Helped team to 8-1-1 record and first Big 9 North Conference title in 1965. All-American in 1969 and first-team All-SWAC in 1968 and 1969 at Texas Southern University. First-round draft pick of New Orleans Saints in 1970. A 2-time Pro Bowl selection. Led NFL WRs in 1975 with 1,063 receiving yards. Ended his career with Houston Oilers in 1981.
Bobby Butler | DB | Atlantic (Delray Beach) | 1976
Natural athlete who could do it all. Returned 6 INTs for TDs as senior to lead Atlantic to state championship game. Starred at FSU. First-round draft choice by Atlanta Falcons in 1981. Played 12 years in NFL. His 27 career INTs rank 6h all-time in Falcons history.
Leroy Butler | LB | Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) | 1985
Had 139 tackles as LB and 388 rushing yards on 18 carries as WB in senior year at Lee, which he helped lead to 3 district titles. First team Class 3A All-State, All-South and Florida Super 24 selection. Signed by FSU. Made famous by “puntrooski” play at Clemson in 1988. An All-Pro selection 5 times, a Pro Bowl selection 4 times and 1996 Super Bowl champ with Green Bay Packers. Originated the infamous “Lambeau Leap.” Retired from football in 2001.
John Carney | KS | Cardinal Newman (West Palm Beach) | 1982
First-team All-State K/P as HS senior. Made 55-of-58 PAT kicks and 15 FGs in 2 years, including a long of 49 yards. Finished collegiate career as Notre Dame’s all-time FG leader with 51 and was 2nd in scoring with 223 points. Kicked an NFL record 29 consecutive FGs in 1993. One of only 3 players in NFL with more than 400 career FGs. Ranked 4th on NFL’s all-time scoring list.
Anthony Carter | WR | Suncoast (Riviera Beach) | 1978
One of the most electrifying players ever to come out of Palm Beach County. Had 161 catches for 3,641 yards during HS career, which ranks 4th all-time in state history. Caught 14 TDs as a senior, 36 in his career. Set several school and Big Ten records at Michigan. Played 3 seasons in USFL and 11 in NFL, where he was a 2-time Pro Bowl player and set receiving records for the Minnesota Vikings.
Rick Casares | RB | Jefferson (Tampa) | 1950
Named 1 of only 5 players in history recruiting analysts believe could have gone directly from high school to the pros because of their physical abilities. A 2nd-team All-American in 1953 as a junior at Florida before being drafted into the military. Began 11-year NFL career after drafted in 2nd-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 1954, beginning an 11-year NFL career. Was Bears’ all-time leading rusher until Walter Payton broke his records in the 1980s.
Wes Chandler | RB/WR/KR | New Smyrna Beach | 1973
Scored school record 22 touchdowns in his senior year. Scored 5 TDs in 1 game, rushed for 1,052 yards, and caught 22 passes for 542 yards as wishbone RB. Caught 92 passes for 1,963 yards and 22 TDs as Florida Gator. Had 11-year pro career with 3 teams, catching 559 passes and amassing 10,526 career all-purpose yards.
Duante Culpepper | QB | Vanguard (Ocala) | 1994
Mr. Football winner led team to state final with 3,070 passing yards and 602 rushing yards as senior. Career offensive total of 7,034 yards – 6,107 passing, 927 rushing – is in state’s top 10. Put Central Florida on college football map as star QB who completed 73.6 percent of his passes. Third player in NCAA history to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for more than 1,000. Now in 9th NFL season, starting for Oakland.
Brian Dawkins | DB | Raines (Jacksonville) | 1991
Helped Raines to 3 straight district titles from 1989-91 and unbeaten regular seasons in 1989 and 1990. A Florida Times-Union Super 11 Pick in 1991. Had 251 tackles and 11 INTs at Clemson. First-team All-ACC and second-team All-American in 1995. Currently plays for Philadelphia Eagles. Ranks 4th on Eagles’ all-time INT list with 32.
Eddie Edwards | DL | Fort Pierce Central | 1972
A key player along with DE Don Latimer on 1971 Fort Pierce Central team that went 13-0 and defeated Tampa Robinson 29-13 in Class 4A state championship game. An All-America player for the Miami Hurricanes. Was 3rd overall pick by Cincinnati Bengals in 1977 draft. Had 12-year NFL career that included 2 Super Bowls.
Jeff Faine | OL | Seminole (Sanford) | 1998
Credited with 77 pancake blocks, first team USA Today All-American was recruited by everybody. Signed with Notre Dame. Was 3-year starter for Irish and collegiate All-American as a senior. Now in 5th NFL season. Started all 16 games for Saints in 2006.
Tommie Frazier | QB | Manatee (Bradenton) | 1991
A wizard at option attack for Hurricanes. Accumulated 63 career TDs and 4,200 yards of total offense in 2 years as Manatee’s QB. Led Nebraska to back-to-back national titles in 1994 and 1995. Remains only QB to have done that since the 1950s. Named No. 33 on list of top 100 college players of all time by College Football News in 2004. Never drafted by NFL because of medical condition.
Tucker Frederickson | RB | South Broward (Hollywood) | 1960
One of the best RBs in the state for his time. Led Bulldogs to a 10-1 record in 1960. Became an All-American at Auburn and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. His pro career, which included being the first overall pick in the 1964 draft by the New York Giants, was cut short due to injury.
Matt Frier | WR | Suwannee (Live Oak) | 1988
Set still-standing state record for career receptions with 220, good for 3,688 yards and 41 TDs as the face of a program that won state titles his junior and senior years. Selected to All-Southern Team and named Orlando Sentinel state player of the year as a junior when he caught 64 passes for 1,035 yards and 15 TDs. Caught 99 passes (still a state record) for 1,716 yards and 19 Tds as a senior. Was a captain and starter on FSU’s 1993 national title team.
Willie Galimore | RB | Excelsior (St. Augustine) | 1952
“He was perhaps the greatest running back I ever saw or coached against” said Earl Kitchings, former head coach of Matthew Gilbert and Raines high schools. Considered by some experts to be the best Florida high school RB prior to Emmitt Smith. Remains leading rusher in FAMU history. Killed in an automobile accident in 1964.
Larry Gagner, OL, Seabreeze (Daytona Beach), 1961
A 2-way starter for the Sandcrabs. In his final 2 years, Seabreeze went 19-2-1. Claimed 1960 Class A mythical state championship when he was a junior. Was a mainstay on the OL for Florida Gators from 1963-65. Played in 60 NFL games with Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs.
Jammi German | DB/WR/KR | Fort Myers | 1992
USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year and Florida’s first Mr. Football award winner as a senior. Had 105 tackles, 3 INTs and 6 fumble recoveries on defense, rushed for 615 yards and averaged 32 yards per catch (14 for 456 yards) on offense. Had 41 receptions and was first-team All-Big East return man in 1995 at Miami.
Joe Goldsmith | WR | Kathleen (Lakeland) | 1969
Set single-season state records as a senior that stood for two decades – 93 receptions (now No. 3 all-time) and 26 TD catches (still No. 2 all-time). Had 1,411 receiving yards that season. Career HS totals were158 catches, 2,346 yards, 38 TDs (then a state record) in only 2 seasons. Leading receiver for FSU (42 catches for 525 yards) as a senior in 1974.
Frank Gore | RB | Coral Gables | 2000
Arguably most productive RB in Miami-Dade County history, ran for 2,955 yards and large classification record 38 TDs as a senior. Broke Dade’s single-game record with 377 yards, then broke it again with 419 yards. Despite a severe knee injury at Miami, was a 3rd-round pick by San Francisco in 2005. Has become one of the top backs in the NFL.
Earnest Graham | RB | Mariner (Cape Coral) | 1997
Florida’s Class 6A Player of the Year and Parade All-American in 1997. Rushed for 1,858 yards and 29 TDs despite missing 2 games in senior year. Totaled 5,710 rushing yards and 86 TDs in his career. Ran for 2,159 and 33 TDs as a junior. Started in 3 bowl games at Florida. Completed collegiate career as UF’s 5th all-time rusher with 3,065 yards. Now in 4th season in NFL. Starts for Tampa Bay.
Lamont Green | LB | Miami Southridge | 1993
Named USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year in 1993 for stellar play on Southridge’s 15-0 state championship team. Success eluded him at Florida State, and he did not make it to the NFL.
Bob Hayes | RB | Matthew Gilbert (Jacksonville) | 1959
Played only 2 years of high school football, but showed flashes of the athleticism that would eventually make him one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of Florida. Was a back-up RB on Gilbert’s 11-0 FIAA state championship title team in 1958. Had a 99-yard TD run against Miami Washington. Made 2nd-team Big Nine Conference in 1959, rushing 78 times for 525 yards
Ted Hendricks | DE | Hialeah | 1965
Built upon his solid start at Hialeah to enjoy a College Hall of Fame career at Miami, where he recorded the most tackles ever for a Hurricane DL and finished 5th in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 1968. Won 4 Super Bowls in 15 NFL seasons and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. Was 64th on The Sporting News’ list of 100 Greatest Football Players in 1999. Was a member of the NFL’s all-time 75th anniversary team in 1994.
Travis Henry | RB | Frostproof | 1996
Florida’s Mr. Football in 1996, broke a national record (since broken) that had held up for 43 years when he rushed for 4,087 yards in a single season as a senior. Led team to a state runner-up finish. Finished with 7,221 career yards and 79 touchdowns in HS career. Played 4 years at Tennessee, rushing for 3,078 yards in his collegiate career. Has played in the NFL for 7 years, racking up around 6,000 career yards.
Devin Hester | WR/CB/RB/KR | Suncoast (Riviera Beach) | 2001
Rushed for 1,014 yards on 105 carries and caught 28 passes for 1,005 yards and five TDs. Scored TD and was offensive MVP for Florida team in all-star game against California his senior year. A do-it-all player who was an All-America selection in sophomore year at Miami where he played both ways. Made immediate impact as rookie in NFL last year with 6 returns for TDs for Chicago Bears. Considered the most dangerous returner in league today.
Jessie Hester | WR |Glades Central (Belle Glade) | 1980
Nicknamed “The Jet,” was an All-State first-team and All-America receiver as a HS senior. Named MVP in state all-star game. Caught 107 passes for 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns in 4 seasons at FSU. Starred in NFL for 10 seasons, making 373 catches for 5,850 yards and 29 TDs.
Barry Hill | DB | Carver (Delray Beach) | 1969
An amazing athlete who also was an All-State basketball player. A hard-hitting safety on the 1968-69 Carver teams that won back-to-back state championships. Established 2 Big Eight records of 9 interceptions in a season and 21 in his career at Iowa State. Played free safety for Miami Dolphins for 4 years before knee injury in 1978 ended his NFL career.
Stefan Humphries | OL | St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft Laud) | 1980
Named to Florida’s All-Time High School Team by Sports Illustrated in 1988. Raiders were 27-7 during his time. One of Broward County’s top student-athletes in football, basketball and track & field. Named All-County, All-State and national high school All-American OL and class valedictorian as senior. A 3-time NCAA Academic All-American and two-time Big 10 offensive guard at Michigan. Drafted by Chicago Bears. Played 1984-86 for the Bears and 1987-88 for the Denver Broncos. Competed in 2 Super Bowls.
Steve Hutchinson | OL | Coral Springs | 1995
Listed as 1 of top 3 HS offensive linemen nationally by SuperPrep. Four-year starter, 4-year All-Big 10 recognition at Michigan. Drafted No. 17 in first round by Seattle. All-Pro and still considered one of NFL’s top blockers. Currently plays for Minnesota Vikings.
Michael Irvin | WR | St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft Laud) | 1983
Caught 59 passes for 987 yards and 12 TDs during senior season for Raiders. Was all-state selection. Went on to brilliant collegiate career at Miami. A first-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys. A Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Darrell Jackson | WR | Tampa Catholic | 1995
Set then-national HS records for career receiving yards (4,594) and yards per catch (24.05) as a senior. Caught 191 passes in 3 seasons for Crusaders. Had 89 receptions for 2,087 yards and 28 TDs as a junior and 67 receptions a year later. Went on to star at Florida before turning pro after junior season. Selected in 3rd round of NFL draft by Seattle. Now in his 8th NFL season. Closing in on 500 career catches and 7,000 yards.
Noah Jackson | OL | Fletcher (Jacksonville Beach) | 1968
Honored with a 2-time All-County selection and, with teammate tom Sullivan, was the first African-American named to the Jacksonville Journal All-County team. Played 9 seasons for the Chicago Bears. Ended his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1984. Inducted into the Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.
Rickey Jackson | LB | Pahokee | 1977
Jackson and Pahokee teammate Remoise Johnson were dynamic bookend DEs in high school. Scouting reports said not to run to Johnson’s side, but teams quickly found out that running to Jackson’s side was an unacceptable alternative. Starred at the University of Pittsburgh. Became a 6-time Pro Bowl selection at LB in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl ring in 1995 with the San Francisco 49ers. Played most of his pro career with the New Orleans Saints and is among the NFL all-time leaders in sacks (128) and fumble recoveries (29).
Edgerrin James | RB | Immokalee | 1995
Rushed for 2,127 yards (tops in the state) on 248 carries as a junior in 10 games in the 1994 season. In 1995, injuries limited him to 5 games and 1,252 yards and 10 TDs. Was still a Parade All-American and first-team All-State selection. Ended his prep career with 4,248 yards and 48 TDs. Had two 1,000-yard rushing seasons at the University of Miami. 1999 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Now in his 9th NFL season, entered 2007 with 10,385 rushing yards.
Andre Johnson | WR | Miami | 2000
All-state selection and Parade All-American as a senior with 31 catches for 908 yards and 15 TDs. Co-MVP of University of Miami’s 2001 national title team. Third overall pick of the 2003 NFL draft. Currently in his fifth season with Houston. Set career highs in 2007 with 103 receptions for 1,147 yards and 5 TDs.
David “Deacon” Jones | DL | Hungerford (Eatonville) | 1956
Standout high school star in the pre-integration era. A Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Famer at Mississippi Valley State. Finished college career at South Carolina State. Earned NFL Hall of Fame status as a member of L.A. Rams “Fearsome Foursome” defensive front. Played 14 NFL seasons. Was legendary for sacking quarterbacks before it was adopted as a statistical category.
James Jones | TE/LB | Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach) | 1978
So versatile he was called “The Franchise”. Parade All-American as a senior, was picked to all-time All-Broward County team by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Just completed first season as head coach at Blanche Ely.
Marvin Jones | LB | Miami Northwestern | 1989
Parade All-American as a senior. Butkus Award winner as the top college linebacker at Florida State in 1992. Selected by New York Jets with 4th overall pick in 1993 draft. NFL All-Pro in 2000. Finished career with 1200 tackles, the third highest total in Jets history.
Jimmy Jordan | QB | Leon (Tallahassee) | 1975
First prep QB in US to pass for 4,000 yards in a season as a senior, was 263-of-471 for 4,098 yards and 40 TDs for 12-2 team that was large-class state runner-up to Hialeah Miami Lakes. Completions, attempts, yards and TDs all set state records in an era when big passing numbers didn’t happen. Passed for 1,176 yards in 4 playoff games. Passed for 4,173 career yards and 39 TDs at FSU in a stretch where the Seminoles went 29-6 and joined the national elite. Played for Steve Spurrier with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL.
Steve Kiner | QB/LB | Hillsborough (Tampa) | 1965
Signed a scholarship with the University of Tennessee in 1966. Was named sophomore of the year by the Southeastern Conference in 1967. Led the Volunteers in tackles and was selected a first-team All-American in his junior and senior years. Was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and played in one Super Bowl during his nine-year NFL career. Was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Barry Krauss | LB | Pompano Beach | 1974
A dominant LB who led Tornadoes to a 15-5 record as a starter. Became an All-American at Alabama. Selected in 1st round of NFL draft by Baltimore Colts in 1979. Later played for Miami Dolphins. Played 12 NFL seasons.
Don Latimer | DL | Fort Pierce Central | 1973
A dominating 250-pound DE with excellent speed who also played TE. Played on undefeated 1971 state championship team and was a 3-time All-State selection in HS. Earned All-America status at the University of Miami. Was Hurricanes’ sack leader in 1977 with 15. Played for Denver Broncos in NFL.
Burton Lawless | TE/OL | Charlotte (Punta Gorda) | 1970
All-State TE for the Tarpons. Started at guard for 3 years at University of Florida. Earned first-team All-American status in 1974. Started in Super Bowl for Dallas Cowboys as an NFL rookie. Played 6 NFL seasons with 3 Super Bowl appearances.
Henry Lawrence | PL | Manatee (Bradenton) | 1969
Played at 3 different high schools in his prep career, starting at pre-integration Lincoln (Palmetto), then moving to Manatee before finishing senior year at Wyoming (N.Y.) Central. Was an OT who came back to Florida to attend FAMU from 1970-73 before beginning a 13-year career as a first-round draft pick for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders from 1974-86. Played on 2 Super Bowl teams for the Raiders. Was a 2-time pro bowler.
Ray Lewis | LB | Kathleen (Lakeland) | 1992
Was team MVP at Kathleen in junior and senior seasons, playing LB, RB and KR. Recorded 207 tackles with 10 sacks, 3 blocked FGs, 8 INTs and 6 TDs via kick or punt returns in HS career. Played 3 years at University of Miami, finishing with 393 career tackle. Drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, where he has played 12 seasons with 8 Pro Bowl appearances.
Larry Little | OL | Washington (Miami) | 1962
A small college All-American for Bethune-Cookman. Undrafted, but was selected to the NFL Hall of Fame for his 14-year NFL career. Named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1970s.
Marty Lyons | DL | St. Petersburg Catholic | 1974
A star for St. Petersburg Catholic in the early 1970s. Eventually signed with Alabama under Paul “Bear” Bryant. A key member of the Crimson Tide’s 1978 national championship team. Had 202 tackles and six forced fumbles at Alabama. First-round draft pick of the New York Jets in 1979. Played all 11 years of pro career with Jets. Had 29 career sacks in 147 pro games.
Sam Madison | DB | FAMU (Tallahassee) | 1992
Played college ball for Louisville from 1993-96. Started final 3 years and finished with 16 career INTs and 44 pass breakups, both school records. Drafted in the 1997 second round by the Miami Dolphins. Currently with the New York Giants. Has 36 career INTs and 4 Pro Bowl appearances as an NFL player.
Wilber Marshall | LB/TE | Astronaut (Titusville) | 1979
Parade All-American in 1979 on a team with Cris Collinsworth at QB. Honored this year as the5th former star in the University of Florida Ring of Honor. Racked up 343 tackles and 23 sacks for the Gators. Played 12 NFL seasons, with 23 INTs, 2 Super Bowl rings and 3 Pro Bowl appearances.
James Massey | RB | Jefferson County (Monticello) | 1982
Set a still-standing state career scoring record with 658 points (also kicked in HS). First RB in Florida history to rush for 2,000 yards twice. A member of the co-champion state title team (with Clewiston). Signed with Florida and lettered all 4 years from 1983-87. Part of the famed three 100-yard rusher game for the Gators in 1984 against Cincinnati.
Eddie McAshan | QB | Gainesville | 1968
First to be named state Player of the Year for football and basketball. One of the state’s first prolific dual-threat QBs. Passed for 2,053 yards for 9-1 team that missed out on the playoffs in the old points system as a senior. Amassed 4,289 passing yards plus 1,134 rushing yards and 61 TD throws in his career. First African-American to play QB for a major southeastern university at Georgia Tech. Had 4,262 yards total offense and 32 TD passes in college career.
George Mira | QB | Key West | 1959
All-state QB who led the Conchs to a 21-8-1 record in 3 varsity seasons. Also starred for state championship baseball teams in 1959 and 1960. Pitched 2 consecutive no-hitters in 1 tournament. First team All-American as a senior at Miami in 1963, when he led the nation in total offense and tied NCAA record for pass completions. Selected in 2nd round of 1964 draft and played 8 NFL seasons.
Claude Moorman | TE/DE | Miami | 1957
Standout TE during prep career. Blocked several punts as a DE and caught 6 TDs as senior. Attended Duke. Second in nation with 54 receptions and named All-American in 1960. Received NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in 1986.
Tyrone Moss | RB | Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach) | 2002
Set numerous all-time marks in Broward history – 2,011 yards in a season (2000), 7,105 career yards, 107 career TDs (tied state record), 484 points in 3 straight seasons. Led Tigers to 2005 Class 5A state championship. Parade All American. Eventually became a starter at University of Miami.
Reggie Nelson | DB/LB/KR | Palm Bay (Melbourne) | 2002
Standout defender and return specialist for Pirates’ 2002 Class 4A state title team. Averaged 45 yards per punt return and 26.8 per kickoff return, totaling a state record 1,531 return yards as a senior. A first-team All-American as a junior free safety at UF in 2006 with 6 INTs and 2 blocked punts. Now a rookie starter for Jacksonville in the NFL.
Ralph Ortega | LB | Coral Gables | 1970
Joined by future first-round picks Neal Colzie and Glenn Cameron on Coral Gables teams. Went on to star at University of Florida. Selected by Atlanta Falcons in 2nd round of 1975 draft. Logged 6 seasons in the NFL, including 1979 and 1980 with the Dolphins.
Jim Osborne | DL/OL | Dillard (Fort Lauderdale) | 1967
Played both OT and DT for Panthers. Spent 4 seasons at Southern University. Became a starting DT for Chicago Bears, where he played for 14 years.
Lemar Parrish | DB | Kennedy (Riviera Beach) | 1966
A phenomenally gifted HS athlete who could break a game open on either side of the ball as a receiver and CB, and was equally dangerous on kickoff and punt returns. Played college football in relative anonymity at Division II Lincoln University in Missouri. Became an instant star in NFL after being drafted in 7th round by Cincinnati Bengals. Had 5 INTs and a kickoff and punt return for TDs his rookie season, which earned him the first of 8 All-Pro selections. Palm Beach County’s first black NFL star and a mentor to future NFL Pro Bowlers Ottis Anderson, Anthony Carter and Devin Hester. “Lemar put us on the map,” Carter said of his childhood idol.
Cyril Pinder | Ath | Crispus Attucks (Hollywood) | 1963
A 3-sport star in football, track and basketball in the early 1960s. Went on to play at the University of Illinois and 8 years in pro football for Philadelphia, Chicago and Dallas.
John Reaves | QB | Robinson (Tampa) | 1967
Selected state’s player of the year in 1967. Led Robinson to a state runner-up finish to national champion Coral Gables. Signed with University of Florida and started as a sophomore, leading Gators to 9-1-1 record and Gator Bowl victory. Set NCAA record for career TDs in final game. A 1st-round draft pick of Philadelphia Eagles. Eventually played for 5 teams in 9 seasons, throwing for over 3,600 career yards.
Ken Riley | QB/DB | Union Academy (Bartow) | 1965
One of 9 Union Academy graduates who made it to NFL before school closed in 1968. Played offense and defense in high school and QB at FAMU, where he was a 3-time All-American. Moved back to the secondary in the NFL, where he played 14 seasons with 65 INTs. Was later head football coach (1986-93) and athletic director (1994-2003) at FAMU.
William Roberts | OL | Miami Carol City | 1980
Attended Ohio State. Selected by New York Giants with 27th overall pick in 1984 draft. Played 14 NFL seasons. Won 2 Super Bowl championships. Went to the Pro Bowl after the 1990 season.
Samari Rolle | DB | Miami Beach | 1994
Named Super Prep Dixie Defensive Player of the Year. A Dream Team selection by Blue Chip Illustrated after senior season in which he tallied 62 tackles, 6 INTs, threw for 1,217 yards and 8 TDs and rushed for 402 yards. After a solid career at Florida State that included 12 career INTs, was selected in 2nd round of NFL draft. Currently is in 10th NFL season.
Deion Sanders | DB/QB | North Fort Myers | 1984
One of state’s great all-time athletes. First-team all-area in football, basketball and baseball as a senior before playing 2 pro sports. A standout option QB in HS. Two-time consensus All-American at FSU while also dabbling in baseball and track (1988 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier). Listed as No. 1 cornerback on Sports Illustrated’s All-Century college team. Played 14 NFL seasons, with 6 Pro Bowls and 53 career INTs. Also hit .533 for Atlanta Braves in the 1992 World Series and was leading the National League in stolen bases in 1997 when he returned to football.
Warren Sapp | LB/TE | Apopka | 1990
Did it all for Apopka, even punting, and was a first-team All-State pick as a LB. Converted to DL at the University of Miami. Earned consensus All-America honors and Bronko Nagurski Tropy as the nation’s top defensive player in 1994. Now in his 13th NFL season, has made Pro Bowl 7 times and was 1999 AP Defensive Player of the Year. Entered 2007 season with 94 sacks.
Ron Sellers | WR | Paxon (Jacksonville) | 1964
Led 1964 Paxon team to a 9-1-1 season, suffering only loss to state runner-up Robert E. Lee, 7-6. Received first team All-State honors in football and basketball. A two-time All-American and caught 212 passes for 3,598 yards at FSU. Inducted into College Hall of Fame. First round draft pick of the Boston Patriots in 1969. Also spent time with the Cowboys before retiring with Dolphins in 1973.
Lito Sheppard | DB | Raines (Jacksonville) | 1997
A first team USA Today All-American and All-State Selection. Led Raines to undefeated season and state championship in1998. Had 18 interceptions in 29 total games over junior and senior seasons. Sheppard was honored twice on the All-American Team in 3 years at University of Florida. Currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Corey Simon | DL | Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach) | 1994
A top DL in the state. Named to Class 5A All-State team as a senior in 1994. Had stellar career at Florida State. Had 270 tackles, 105 hurries, 32 sacks and 7 forced fumbles in 5 seasons with Philadelphia Eagles. Also played for Indianapolis Colts.
Antone Smith | RB | Pahokee | 2004
State’s co-record holder for TDs (44) in a season. Voted Mr. Football winner as senior year after rushing for 2,813 yards on only 238 attempts to lead Pahokee to state title. A Parade All-America selection. Had 6,431 yards rushing and scored 81 TDs in HS career. Now the starting tailback at FSU.
Emmitt Smith | RB | Escambia (Pensacola) | 1986
Still holds state rushing record with 8,804 career yards on 1,127 carries and 106 TDs. Led Escambia to state titles in sophomore and junior years (2,934 rushing yards, 32 TDs on 353 carries in 14 games), and 10-1 season as a senior in the days when only district champ made playoffs. Set a career rushing record (later broken) at the University of Florida. Played 15 NFL seasons, setting numerous records, including career marks for rushing yards (18,355) and carries (4,409) that still stand. Played in 3 Super Bowls and 8 Pro Bowls. Was the 1993 NFL MVP.
Larry Smith | RB | Robinson (Tampa) | 1964
Florida’s only Parade All-American in 1964. Scored 29 TDs in 10 games as a senior in an era when scoring was much lower than today. Finished HS career with 47 TDs. One of the most hotly recruited players out of Florida for decades. Was an All-American for the Florida Gators and a first-round draft pick for the Los Angeles Rams in 1969. Had over 3,000 yards of offense in 6 pro seasons.
Marquette Smith | RB | Lake Howell (Winter Park) | 1990
Led Silver Hawks to 10-1 and 9-2 district title seasons in final 2 seasons of prolific HS career. Rushed for 2,409 yards and 31 TDs in senior season. Named USA Today National Offensive Player of the Year. Career totals were 6,733 yards and 88 TDs. Signed with FSU, but ended up at Central Florida. Set a Knights career rushing record, later broken. Knee injuries hampered college career and pro dreams.
C.J. Spiller | RB | Union County (Lake Butler) | 2005
Racked up 5,511 yards on 541 carries (10.2 average) and totaled 93 TDs in 4-year varsity career. Ran for 1,840 yards and scored 31 TDs as a senior. Named first-team USA Today and Parade All-American. Was Class 2B Player of the Year and runner-up to Tim Tebow in Mr. Football award voting. Class 2A state 100 and 200-meter dash champ. ACC Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2006 at Clemson.
Pat Summerall | PK/P/DE/TE | Columbia (Lake City) | 1947
All-state selection in football and basketball in the late 1940s. Also lettered in baseball and tennis. All-Southwest Conference football and basketball player at Arkansas. Played 10 seasons in NFL for Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants, scoring 567 points during his career. Award-winning sports broadcaster. Inducted into Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
Steve Tannen | CB | Southwest Miami | 1965
Generally regarded as one of the best DBs to come out of Miami-Dade County. A 2-time All-SEC corner for the University of Florida (1967-69). Played 5 years in NFL with Jets. Recorded a career-high 7 INTs in 1972.
Fred Taylor | RB | Glades Central (Belle Glade) | 1993
Switched from LB to RB in final 2 years at Glades Central. By end of senior year was rated one of the best TBs in the nation after rushing for 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns, including a 301-yard, 5-TD performance against Fort Pierce Central. An outstanding sprinter in track and clocked 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Starred collegiately at Florida and in the NFL with Jacksonville. Earlier this season became the 23rd player in NFL history to surpass 10,000 yards rushing in a career.
Sean Taylor | DB | Gulliver Prep (Pinecrest) | 2000
Set state scoring record with 44 TDs as a member of Gulliver Prep’s 14-1 Class 2A state title team in 2000. Attended the University of Miami as a safety. Became 5th overall selection by the Washington Redskins in 2004 draft. Died earlier this month.
Tim Tebow | QB | Nease (Ponte Vedra) | 2005
State all-time total offense king with 13,042 career yards (9922 pass/3120 rush) and 159 TDs responsible for (96 passing/63 rushing) in 3 years as QB at Nease. Set single-season records as a senior with 5,552 yards (4286 passing, 1266 rushing) and 70 TDs (46/24) for 11-2 team. 2005 Mr. Football. Now a Heisman Trophy candidate as a sophomore star for UF.
Michael Timpson | RB/WR/KR | Hialeah-Miami Lakes | 1985
Played 9 years in the NFL. Finished with 300 career receptions for 4,047 yards and 12 TDs while with New England, Chicago and Philadelphia. Drafted out of Penn State in the 4th round of the 1990 draft.
Arnold Tucker | QB/DB | Miami | 1942
Every-down star for 9-0 Stingarees squad that beat teams from 6 states. College All-American at Army as DB with school-record 8 INTs and QB in same backfield as Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis. Sullivan Award winner in 1946 as nation’s top amateur athlete.
Dale Van Sickel | Ath | Gainesville | 1925
Generally regarded as best football player out of a Florida high school prior to the 1930s. A great receiver as an end. Also an outstanding defensive player. Played 3 years at University of Florida during which the Gators won 23 of 29 games. Led nation in scoring in 1928 (336 points). Named the first-ever Gator All-American. Inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 1975. Had a successful career as a stunt man in Hollywood.
Gerard Warren | DL | Union County (Lake Butler) | 1996
Led Tigers to a 49-4 four-year record and FHSAA state championships in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Named to multiple high school All-America teams. Credited with 36 career sacks. All-SEC junior lineman in 2000 for Florida. Left early for NFL and was 3rd overall pick by Cleveland. Now in 7th NFL season with the Oakland Raiders.
Ted Washington | DL | Tampa Bay Tech | 1985
A 4-sport standout for Tampa Bay Tech in 980s, even winning a state championship in wrestling. Played collegiately for Louisville, where he had 76 tackles, 6 sacks and 3 blocked kicks as a senior. A 17-year veteran of the NFL. Played for 7 different teams. A 4-time Pro Bowler. Has a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots (2004).
Eddie “Meat Cleaver” Weaver | DL | Haines City | 1978
One of state’s top all-time, all-around athletes. Won Class 3A weightlifting, wrestling and shot put titles as a senior, in addition to being an All-Stater in football. All-SEC player at the University of Georgia. Defensive MVP of the USFL in 1983.
Vince Wilfork | DL | Santaluces (Lantana) | 1999
Extremely quick for a 300-pound tackle in HS. Made 67 tackles and 10 QB sacks to earn All-America honors as a senior. Also a track star in the shot put. Had 148 tackles and 14 sacks during his career at University of Miami. A first-round draft choice by New England in 2004. Currently is a starting defensive tackle for the Patriots.
David Williams | OL | Lakeland | 1984
A USA Today and Parade first-team All-American blocker. First freshman to start every game on offensive line for University of Florida. Started all 46 of his college games. All-SEC pick and semifinalist for the Outland Trophy as a senior. Named to UF’s Team of the Century. Voted best offensive lineman in Gator history. Played 128 games in 9 NFL seasons, 6 seasons as a starter, for the Houston Oilers and New York Jets.
John L. Williams | FB | Palatka | 1981
Rushed for 3,449 yards and 59 TDs as one of 3 backs in prolific wishbone during HS career. Ran for 1,738 yards as a senior for undefeated team. Regarded as one of top FBs in UF history. Played 10 NFL seasons with just under 10,000 all-purpose yards.
Danny Wuerffel | QB | Fort Walton Beach | 1991
Led 1991 Vikings to a state championship win at Florida Field, finishing season 14-0 with 3,055 yards, 27 TDs and just 4 INTs. Signed with University of Florida in 1992. Started games during his freshman year all the way through his senior year at UF. Led Gators to their first national championship and also won the Heisman Trophy in 1996. Led Rhein Fire to NFL Europe championship. Had 6-year career in the NFL, with over 2,100 yards passing.
Jack Youngblood | DL | Jefferson County (Monticello) | 1966
Led team to state championship in 1966, playing OL and LB. Led a defense that shut out 7 opponents. Four-year letterman in high school. Earned All-American honors at the University of Florida. Charter member of Gators’ Ring of Honor. Drafted 20th player overall in 1971 NFL draft by Los Angeles Rams. Had 14-year career in the pros. Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
About the FHSAA
The Florida High School Athletic Association is the governing body for interscholastic athletic competition in Florida. It has a membership of more than 750 middle, junior and senior high schools.