The High Schools That Produce The Most NFL Players
High school football is America’s most popular sport, and the dream for every player is to reach the NFL. However, that dream often doesn’t become a reality. But, if you go to one of these schools and star on the football team, your odds may skyrocket from almost no chance to incredibly slim chance. Here are America’s top NFL-producing high schools.
30. Junipero Serra High School- Gardena, CA (20)
This is not the high school that Tom Brady attended. That school is located in San Mateo, California. This Junipero Serra is located in Gardena, a city neighboring Los Angeles. And while this small, private Roman-Catholic school hasn’t produced the greatest quarterback of all time, it has produced a good amount of quality NFL players, including receiver Paul Richardson (pictured below).
Other NFL notables include Robert Woods and Marquise Lee, two receivers and high school teammates. In total, Junipero Serra has won four California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) state championships, and in 2009-10, Junipero Serra won state championships in both basketball and football.
29. Santa Monica High School- Santa Monica, CA (20)
Santa Monica High School, otherwise known as SaMoHi, has one of the most impressive alumni lists in America. Thanks to its proximity to Hollywood, SaMoHi’s greatest export actually isn’t football, it’s actors and entertainers. Robert Downey Jr., Charlie Sheen and Rob Lowe are just a few of the Santa Monica Vikings that have starred on the silver screen.
However, Santa Monica has produced its fair share of gridiron stars. One notable Viking is Dennis Smith, a six-time Pro Bowler who narrowly missed out on Denver’s Super Bowl run in the late-90s. SaMoHi may struggle to compete for state championships, but the amount of NFL talent that goes through its halls is impressive.
28. Warren G. Harding High School- Warren, OH (20)
A football hotbed, Ohio is known for its high school football and The Ohio State University. The Browns and Bengals, not so much. Located in Warren, Warren G. Harding High School has produced some big names, including Maurice Clarett and Mario Manningham.
Clarett, who actually never saw the field in the NFL, was a college standout at Ohio State and drew national attention for his lawsuit against the NFL. Manningham, on the other hand, was a solid NFL receiver and made one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history, helping the Giants defeat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
27. Bakersfield- Bakersfield High School, CA (20)
Bakersfield doesn’t have much to offer compared to the other notable cities in California, but it does have a high school that sends a lot of its players to America’s top colleges and the NFL. The Drillers are the biggest thing in town, and when the Friday night lights turn on, you can find the vast majority of its residents at Griffith Field.
The Drillers have the most California state titles and became the first school to win 700 games. Recently, Bakersfield has been in an NFL-producing drought, and their most notable football player is Frank Gifford, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who last played in the 1950s and 60s.
26. Jack Yates Senior High School- Houston, TX (21)
Many people consider the 1985 Jack Yates football team, pictured below in the old Texas Stadium, to be the best team in Texas high school state history. Yates has seen a drop in overall enrollment since its peak in the 1980s, and because of that, there has been a sharp decline in NFL talent over recent years.
However, the school remains competitive while clinging to its legendary reputation. One of its best NFL players was Dexter Manley, a former All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion. Despite having to retire early after failing a fourth drug test, Manley still remains the Redskins’ all-time sacks leader.
25. The Kiski School- Saltsburg, PA (22)
Located in rural Pennsylvania, The Kiski school is America’s oldest remaining non-military all-male boarding school. All students at The Kiski School are required to participate in organized sports, but because the student body is so small, fielding quality teams remains one of the school’s biggest challenges.
The vast majority of NFL players The Kiski School produced came before World War II, and in modern times, only two big-names can proudly say they were Kiski Cougars- former Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark and Penn State running back Curtis Enis, pictured above at Penn State. Enis was drafted fifth overall in 1998 by the Bears and is considered a massive bust.
24. Longview High School- Longview, TX (22)
The fourth overall pick in 2010 was Oklahoma’s offensive tackle Trent Williams, pictured below at his jersey retirement ceremony at Longview High School. The Longview Lobos, also home to Matthew McConaughey, have won two Texas state titles and have a rich football history.
Running back Chris Ivory, a former Pro Bowler and sole bright spot on the Jets back when he was their star player, is also a proud Lobo. Longview, located in east Texas and relatively close to Tyler, is a rapidly expanding urban area, so expect the amount of Lobos in the NFL to grow in the coming years.
23. Waco High School- Waco, TX (22)
The smiling man, who appears to have just laid waste to the three ball carriers behind him, is Pro Bowl linebacker and former first-round pick Derrick Johnson. Johnson, a Waco standout who went onto star at the University of Texas, may be the most famous alumni the school has produced.
In a city dominated by football, think Baylor University and other high schools in Waco, Waco High School is still the unquestioned gold standard. It sets the bar and is the city’s pride and joy. On Friday nights, 14,000 people pack into the local stadium to watch their Lions roar.
22. Compton High School- Compton, CA (23)
Compton has a bad rap for being a city ridden by crime and gang violence, and sports has become one of the few outlets to escape it all. With an enrollment of about 1,700, Compton High School has seen its NFL output decline in recent years, but the program’s rich history still helps Compton High School place on this prestigious list.
The most recognizable alumn from Compton High would be Pete Rozelle, the former NFL commissioner who is credited as being the force behind the NFL’s exponential growth. Defensive lineman and first-round pick Datone Jones is currently the only Compton High player in the NFL.
21. John Tyler High School- Tyler, TX (23)
Back to Texas and the city of Tyler, a city with a population of about 105,000. John Tyler High School is a football hotbed, and the Lions are well represented in both the NCAA and NFL. The Lions have won two state titles and produced some legendary NFL stars, including Earl Campbell.
Nicknamed “The Tyler Rose,” Campbell led John Tyler to a state championship and was recognized as the best high school football player in America. He then went onto star at Texas, winning the Heisman before being drafted first overall in 1978. Other Tyler notables include Jeremy Lane and Aaron Ross, two defensive backs.
20. Washington High School- Massillon, OH (23)
A legendary program, Washington High School, commonly referred to as Massillon High, has 24 Ohio state titles and nine AP High School National Championships- the most in the country. The Tigers play their home games at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, aptly named for their former head coach Paul Brown.
Brown, who was also the former coach for both the Cleveland Browns — his namesake — and Cincinnati Bengals, is considered one of the greatest football coaches in history. However, like many other schools, the bulk of Massillon’s NFL talent came during the early days of the NFL. The most notable NFL player from the modern era would be Chris Spielman, a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker.
19. William M. Raines High School- Jacksonville, FL (23)
Jacksonville, Florida, is the most populous city in Florida and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. So it’s no surprise that the city has produced some NFL stars. But out of all the high schools in the city, William M. Raines High School is the unquestioned leader when it comes to football.
The Vikings have successfully plundered and fought their way into the NFL for decades. Brian Dawkins and Lito Sheppard, two defensive backs and former teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles, are arguably two of the school’s most famous graduates. The two defensive stalwarts were each named to All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams.
18. Glades Central High School- Belle Glade, FL (23)
Although Glades Central doesn’t have the record for most players to reach the NFL, it is arguably the most talent-rich high school in America. Unlike many other schools, whose glory days are long a relic of the past, Glades Central is one of America’s most relevant and dominant NFL-producing football factories.
The Raiders have the second-most state titles and produce more Division-1 and NFL players today than any other school. Here are a few alumni: Kelvin Benjamin, Travis Benjamin, Santonio Holmes and Fred Taylor. Each year, Glades Central battles Pahokee High School in the famed Muck Bowl, Florida’s true proving ground for NFL talent.
17. Miami Central High School- Miami, FL (23)
We’re staying in South Florida for this one. Although Miami Central High School has its colors and logo modeled after the New York Jets, the two teams are distinctly different, and the shared color scheme is the only thing the two have in common.
To be clear, that’s a good thing. Unlike the New York Jets, Miami Central is a dominant program that is actually familiar with the sweet taste of victory. A breeding ground for future NFL players, specifically running backs, the Miami Central High Rockets have produced, to name just a few, Willis McGahee, Devonta Freeman and Dalvin Cook.
16. Evanston Township High School- Evanston, IL (24)
Evanston Township High School clearly borrowed their color scheme from the University of Illinois and is the only high school in America to have its teams called the “Wildkits.” That wasn’t a typo. They are not the Wildcats. They are the Wildkits. With over 3,000 students enrolled, Evanston Township is one of the largest schools in America.
Despite the large enrollment, Evanston hasn’t been producing much NFL talent as of late. Most Wildkits that ascended to the NFL played during the 20s and 30s. Cecil Martin, the most recent Evanston Wildkit graduate to play in the NFL, retired in 2003.
15. Ball High School- Galveston, TX (24)
We’re going back to Texas and checking in at Ball High School, home of the Tornadoes. Yes, the Ball Tornadoes, a name that elicits vivid imagery. Despite a high number of NFL players, Ball High has seen a drastic decline in enrollment.
Thanks to rising housing costs and the devastating aftereffects from multiple hurricanes, Galveston has seen a large percentage of its population migrate to nearby cities. This, in turn, lowers enrollment and shrinks the talent pool. Two notable, recent Ball graduates are Casey Hampton, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Steelers, and Mike Evans, a Pro Bowl receiver.
14. South Oak Cliff High School- Dallas, TX (24)
South Oak Cliff High School lies in the heart of Dallas, Texas, the third largest city in the sprawling state. Although the Golden Bears have yet to win a Texas state championship, South Oak Cliff is still one of the state’s premier football programs.
It’s also the last Texas school on this list, meaning it’s the school in Texas with the most alumni in the NFL. Yet, of those many alumni, virtually all of them are insignificant- except for Harvey Martin, Super Bowl XII champion and MVP. As an aside, Dennis Rodman, one of the NBA’s greatest rebounders, went to South Oak Cliff High.
13. Crenshaw High School- Los Angeles, CA (25)
In the City of Angels lies Crenshaw High School, home of the six-time champion Cougars. This high school is one of the most dominant in the state of California and has a notable, diverse alumni base, but for the sake of this list, we will stick to the football-related stars that emerged from Crenshaw.
Let’s start with Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, a Pro Bowler defensive end who led the NFC in sacks in 2004. Gbaja-Biamila is also Green Bay’s second all-time sack leader with 74.5. There’s also De’Anthony Thomas, a speedy kick returner and receiver who starred at The University of Oregon. Super Bowl champion Brandon Mebane is also a Cougar for life.
12. Abraham Lincoln High School- San Diego, CA (25)
A city more known for its surfing, San Diego’s Abraham Lincoln High School has ridden a wave of excellence on the gridiron for decades. Besides winning multiple state championships, the Hornets have given the NFL the gift of some great players, such as Marcus Allen, Terrell Davis and Akili Smith.
Smith, unlike Allen and Davis, was actually a colossal bust in the NFL. Over the past 10 or so years, Lincoln High has undergone major changes and is currently stuck in an extended talent drought. As San Diego continues to rapidly grow, expect Lincoln High to get back on the map and regain its excellence.
11. Glenville High School- Cleveland, OH (26)
Does Cleveland rock? Depends who you ask. Does Glenville High School, home of the Tarblooders, produce an exorbitant amount of NFL talent? Objectively, yes. Glenville is about as dominant as they come and is a pipeline for Ohio State. From Ohio State, the NFL is just a stone’s throw away, so you can see how this cycle perpetuates itself.
The Tarblooders are coached by Ted Ginn Sr., whose son, Ted Ginn Jr., is also an alum. Other notables include standout defensive back Marshone Lattimore and Troy Smith, a former Heisman winner. Not only does “The Ville” dominate on the gridiron, but it’s had an unprecedented amount of success on the track, winning multiple state championships.
10. DeMatha Catholic High School- Hyattsville, MD (26)
The Northeast is finally getting represented here. Leave it up to DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland to carry the collective weight of an entire region. The DeMatha Stags are a religious school, and their football program is divine. A football powerhouse, DeMatha has produced the Westbrook brothers (Brian and Byron) and pass-rush specialist Cameron Wake, to name a few.
What’s even more impressive about this school is the sheer amount of basketball stars who were also Stags. Markelle Fultz and Victor Oladipo are just two big names. With utter dominance in multiple sports, DeMatha is one of America’s most well-rounded and respected high schools.
9. Louisville Male High School- Louisville, KY (28)
Would you be surprised if we told you that Louisville Male High School is not an all-boys academy? Would that little nugget blow you away? Yes, a school that predominately features the word “male” on the front of its jersey is neither a private school nor an all-boys school. What it is is a public school with an incredible football program.
With 15 state championships and 28 NFL players, Male is consistently ranked as one of Kentucky’s best football programs. The Male Bulldogs have a big bite and a bigger list of accomplished alumni, including Hunter S. Thompson (journalism), Louis Brandeis (Supreme Court judge), Michael Bush (NFL running back), and Chris Redman (NFL QB).
8. McKinley Senior High School- Canton, OH (30)
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, so it’s only fitting that one of America’s top football high schools also lies in Canton. McKinley Senior High School has an enrollment of about 2,400 students and is one of the largest schools in Ohio. Not surprisingly, McKinley is also one of the state’s best football programs.
The McKinley Bulldogs, chief rivals with Massillon, play their home games at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, the venue that hosts the NFL’s annual Hall of Fame Game. Recently, McKinley hasn’t seen an alum ascend to the NFL ranks as a player, but Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, class of ’95, is still keeping McKinley represented at the highest level.
7. St. Augustine High School- New Orleans, LA (30)
That man is Leonard Fournette, the former fourth-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Fournette is just one of the many athletes to carry the torch of St. Augustine’s impressive legacy to the pros. The Purple Knights, who share a similar color scheme with Louisiana State University, boast an impressive list of athletes and alumni.
Many Purple Knights, such as Fournette and Tyrann Mathieu, matriculate to LSU before becoming NFL stars. Other alumni, such as ESPN personality Stan Verrett, excel in careers off the field. Despite Louisianna being in the deep south, the football epicenter of America, St. Augustine is the only school from the state to make this list.
6. Hargrave Military Academy- Chatham, VA (31)
Discipline. More discipline. And even more discipline. The all-male boarding school prides itself on molding fine citizens and football players. Hargrave Military Academy isn’t your average private school. It’s like joining the military without the deployment. And the football team is like playing in college but without the exposure.
The Hargrave Tigers have produced legions of NFL stars, and recently, the Tigers have started specializing in defensive output. Seven-time Pro Bowl receiver and Super Bowl champion Torry Holt is arguably the school’s most famous alumn, while Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Floyd (defensive line and linebacker, respectively) are two recent first-round picks who suited up at Hargrave.
5. Susan Miller Dorsey High School- Los Angeles, CA (33)
It’s no surprise that Los Angeles is represented again. It’s America’s second-largest city and the weather, unlike other major cities such as New York and Chicago, is perfect all year round, allowing kids to practice outside and hone their skills in December while other people huddle around the heater.
The Susan Miller Dorsey Dons are one of the city and state’s most dominant teams. The majority of their NFL alumni are from previous generations when Dorsey was even more powerful. Today, the most recognizable Don in the NFL is the notorious Hue Jackson, arguably the worst coach in NFL history.
4. Miami Northwestern Senior High School- Miami FL (34)
Don’t grab these Bulls by the horns, because you will be gouged, beaten, and destroyed. Miami Northwestern Senior High may be Florida’s premier public school when it comes to gridiron excellence. The titles they win and the athletes they produce are second to none.
Current NFL stars, to name just a few, are Amari Cooper, Teddy Bridgewater, and Artie Burns. Miami Northwestern Senior High School has claimed multiple (unofficial) national championships and even more Florida state championships. One big slight against the school was the covering up of a sex scandal that embroiled the entire team in controversy back in 2006.
3. St. Thomas Aquinas High School- Fort Lauderdale, FL (35)
St. Thomas Aquinas is America’s largest Catholic high school by enrollment, and that stat is an absolute blessing for them and a curse for anyone who crosses them. The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders are on a mission to raid and conquer the state of Florida, and they are doing a fine job at that.
The athletic department at this juggernaut of a school is consistently rated as one of America’s best, and its football team is as superior as anyone in the nation. Joey Bosa and Michael Irvin are two of the more famous alumni, and currently St. Thomas Aquinas has the most active players in the NFL.
2. Fork Union Military Academy- Fork Union, VA (46)
Here’s another military academy that marched itself onto this list. Located in rural Virginia, Fork Union is a Christian military boarding school that takes its academics and athletics very seriously. The Blue Devils triumph on every front of athletics, ranging from track and field to wrestling, and, of course, football.
The Blue Devils subscribe to the “take no prisoners philosophy” and offer a post-graduate program that allows high schoolers to get an extra year in of study and football. Notable NFLers include Saints Pro Bowl receiver Michael Thomas, Heisman winners Vinny Testaverde and Eddie George, and first-round pick Kareem Jackson.
1. Long Beach Polytechnic High School- Long Beach, CA (58)
The most accomplished high school in America hails from the LBC- Long Beach, California. With about 4,500 students, Long Beach Poly is bigger than some small universities, and its athletic department is more powerful than many of those colleges too.
Besides being the former home to some legendary rappers (Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, and Warren G), Long Beach Poly has left an indelible mark on the NFL’s landscape. DeSean Jackson, Willie McGinist, and JuJu Smith-Schuster are just three former Jackrabbits to play football at the highest level. The Jackrabbits consistently battle for California state championships and are coached by a slew of former NFL stars.