Posted: 6:00 pm Saturday, May 10th, 2014

6 Georgia high schoolers drafted in NFL’s first three rounds 

By Michael Carvell

Six football players from Georgia high schools were selected in the first three rounds in the NFL Draft.

What’s surprising is that none of them played at UGA or Georgia Tech.

Another interesting fact is that out of the four Georgia kids drafted in the first round, only one was rated high than the state’s No. 60 overall prospect for that year’s class in the recruiting rankings.

Here’s a closer look:

NFL 1st rounders

Miami Dolphins, No. 19, North Gwinnett High School’s Ja’Wuan James (Tennessee): The basketball-turned-football star had a whirlwind finish to his recruitment. He had committed to Tennessee to play for Lane Kiffin, and enrolled early in classes with the Volunteers. However, right after James arrived campus, Kiffin bolted for USC. It was obviously some unsettling news for James, who left Knoxville for a few days to figure things out (and reportedly considered UGA). Ultimately, James decided to stick it out at Tennessee to play for new coach Derek Dooley. He was rated as a 5-star and the state’s No. 3 overall prospect for 2010.

Bradley Roby got overlooked by most colleges out of Peachtree Ridge High School (AP)

Bradley Roby got overlooked by most colleges out of Peachtree Ridge High School (AP)

Cincinnati Bengals, No. 24, Twiggs County High School’s Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State): This is a fascinating recruiting story, per 247sports.com’s Kipp Adams. Dennard got an early scholarship offer from Middle Tennessee State, but another player took the spot before he was ready to commit — which was a heartbreaker for Dennard at the time. Michigan State “discovered” Dennard when the Spartans dispatched an assistant to observe the game of one of its Georgia commitments, Dooly County High School wide receiver Keith Mumphrey. The opponent that week? Twiggs County. Dennard had a touchdown catch, threw for a 2-point conversion, had some dazzling punt returns and did a good job with coverage on Mumphrey. The Michigan State assistant was impressed, but didn’t have any highlights to show the rest of the staff. Dennard sent them a highlight tape a few days later, and the rest is history. Dennard was a 3-star and the state’s No. 126 overall prospect for 2010.

Philadelphia Eagles, No 26, Hardaway High School’s Marcus Smith (Louisville): Smith starred at quarterback at Hardaway and wanted to stay at the position, which may have caused some schools, such as UGA and Georgia Tech, to shy away. You can figure out where this story is going — Smith signed with Louisville specifically to play QB, and he ended up being an NFL first-rounder at outside linebacker. The 3-star was ranked as the state’s No. 94 overall prospect for 2010.

Denver Broncos, No. 31, Peachtree Ridge High School’s Bradley Roby (Ohio State): I watched Peachtree Ridge play several times that year, and Roby was always the best player on the field. But he didn’t get much love from colleges until the final month before signing day. The scouts simply missed the boat here. It happens, I guess, but he was hard to miss playing on the same high school team as Cameron Heyward. Roby was early commitment to Vanderbilt but flipped to Ohio State three weeks before signing day and quickly established himself as one of college football’s top cornerbacks. Roby was a 3-star ranked as the state’s No. 60 overall prospect for 2011.

NFL 2nd rounders

Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 46, Monroe Area High School’s Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame): The defensive tackle was committed to Georgia Tech for one day before switching back to Notre Dame. It was one of the state’s biggest recruiting dramas in 2012. Tuitt was rated as a 4-star and the state’s No. 3 overall prospect. He committed to Notre Dame at the start of his senior season at Monroe Area, but flipped to Georgia Tech only a couple of weeks before signing day. It looked really good for the Yellow Jackets. However (and famously), Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and his staff hopped on a plane the next day for an in-home visit, and convinced Tuitt to switch back to the Irish.

NFL 3rd rounders

Minnesota Vikings, No. 96, Sprayberry High School’s Jerick McKinnon (Georgia Southern): All the big schools missed on McKinnon, probably because he was 5-foot-9 and had his heart set on playing quarterback after an All-State career at Sprayberry. McKinnon was a 3-star and ranked as the state’s No. 98 overall prospect in 2010. For the NFL Draft, he was initially projected to be selected in the sixth or seventh round, but elevated his status after destroying the NFL combine with these measurements: 32 bench press reps of 225 pounds (No. 1 among RBs), vertical jump of 40.5 inches (second best), and a broad jump of 11 feet (second best).

35 comments
SeeRockCity
SeeRockCity

Pretty amazing that out of all the HS players only six from the state of five million people made it to the NFL from the draft.

You think more would try and stay in school and learn something while it was free.

Terry1961
Terry1961

cbssport reporting Tech going to be without DE Jabari Hunt-Days, and RB Travis Custis for 2014.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Since Paul Johnson had all these great players that were drafted (more than UGA), am I the only one who understands that we are underachieving?

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

I hate that 3,4, and 5 star crap, nobody can tell what's inside these athletes minds and hearts. That's what really separates one athlete from another.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Interesting headline - who knew that the NFL was drafting them straight out of high school these days?

DrPhill
DrPhill

It would be nice if someone listed SEC drafted players by team.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

The story is...don't laugh when a team accepts or signs a 3*.  Congrats to all the players going to the NFL.

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

None of these sleepers would have made the NFL with our staff coaching them

Gandolph
Gandolph

Some of these 5* guys will get a chance today with the undrafted free agent selections, but there won't be enough of those opportunities to go around.  Kids, get your education.  Only 4 kids from UGA and Tech combined got drafted, regardless of what you read on these blogs.

SteveinMonroe
SteveinMonroe

Very happy for Stephon Tuitt. We knew he was special several years ago. Congratulations, Hurricane!!!

Caius
Caius

The big story is that out of the thousands of high school players in Georgia only 6 made the 1st 3 rounds of the NFL draft.  One can safely tell every high school player in the state that "you are not going to make the NFL".


More proof that the players need to get their degree.

CHDawg
CHDawg

Isn't it interesting that none of the young men with high draft positions went to Georgia schools, except Georgia Southern?  UGA sure could have used James.  As with the NFL draft, scouts and talent evaluators obviously have very limited visibility. Sometimes they get it right, but usually not--just look at all of the 4 and 5 stars who didn't even get drafted.  Having said that, I think the NFL evaluators messed up on Murray--I think he will end up being a solid, if not great, NFL QB.


ScoreCheck
ScoreCheck

Wow 4 out of 6 were rated as 3 * 

Ja’Wuan James        5 *

Darqueze Dennard   3 *

Marcus Smith           3 *

Bradley Roby            3 *

Stephon Tuitt            4 *

Jerick McKinnon      3 *

bigmacondawg
bigmacondawg

Pathetic.

No clue how to run a football program. Please, stop embarrassing yourselves and the state, and just stick with golf and baseball.

GTBob
GTBob

@Birmingham__Jacket  Most of the time we hear this: CPJ can't recruit, therefore we can't win. We have three players drafted and that turns into: CPJ recruits fine but can't coach them up. Fairly predictable but still humorous.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Funny. I always thought it was bigger, stronger, faster and that's why the combine tested such.

MichaelCarvell
MichaelCarvell moderator

@PaulinNH  Kwame Brown was the last Georgia player drafted straight out of high school by the NBA

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Texas A&M had 3 1st round selections and not another player. All three were recruited by Mike Sherman. The Longhorns had ZERO players drafted. Mack Brown got fat and lazy as the HC but He Gone.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

not what you wanted but still some good info. Les Miles does Les with More. Notre Dame as well.

LSU: 9

Alabama: 8

Notre Dame: 8

Florida State: 7

Ohio State: 6

Stanford: 6

Clemson: 5

Wisconsin: 5

Baylor: 5

North Carolina: 5

UCLA: 5

Most first rounders:

Texas A&M: 3

Louisville: 3

Bama: 2

AU: 2

Ohio St: 2

Gandolph
Gandolph

@AlternativeDawg  Doesn't look like they would have made it with (insert your favorite team's coaching staff) coaching them, either.  What an uninformed statement.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

In 2008 Bama didn't have a player drafted. In these past 4 years Bama leads all teams with 30. No way UGA shouldn't have more players drafted. Congrats to GT.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@Caius  they actually need a GOOD and Valuable Degree not just a piece of paper that will not help them get a JOB.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@CHDawg  Attaochu from TECh was a 2nd round pick.

Murray will get his 3 years but more that we will have to wait to see. I wouldn't bet on him be great that is for sure.

RandyHall
RandyHall

@CHDawg ....Good point....UGA could have used James....OT out of N Gwinnett....also, on that same Team was OT Austin Shepherd, starting OT for AL...UGA would have been set @ OT for their 4 eligible years...another point that CMR does not emphasize the line of scrimmage like he should......definitely would have been an improvement over what UGA had over the last years...none of the OL eligible for the draft were invited to the NFL Combine...a reflection of evaluation, coaching and S&C...IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED IN ALL 3 AREAS!! TIME FOR CMR TO WIN A NC IN THE NEXT 4 YEARS     

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

It's not going to be humorous when we announce how many season tickets are unsold this year, in a few weeks. But it is going to help define a downward trend of support for Tech football under Johnson.

RandyHall
RandyHall

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie..I agree UGA should have more players drafted....it starts with recruiting...UGA has missed out on many of the top in-state and top regional players too many times...then it goes to S&C...for CMR to select CJT as the Head S&C Coach is ludicrous (a video coordinator w/ less S&C credentials than some of his Grad Assistants really showed a lack of concern in that department by CMR and/or plain laziness)..next is Position Coaching...CWF has done one poor job w/ the development of the OL...none of the 3 senior linemen were drafted much less invited to the combine;and look @ the poor development of John Theus, a projected future 1st rounder coming out of high school...Scott Lakatos, former DB Coach was a joke and the beat goes....TIME FOR CMR TO WIN A NC IN THE NEXT 4 YEARS!!!          

aladawg47
aladawg47

@POAD2014 @CHDawg  Look you retard stick with your own team and get the hell of this Georgia blog,  The wind don't blow in Texas it SUCKS.