High school football is huge in many communities across the country, but it hits differently in Texas. It’s safe to say that Texas high school football games draw as many fans as some college football games. A handful of NFL talents got their start in the Lone Star State, proving to be the most legendary high school football players from Texas.
There were very few players as intimidating as John Randle in the NFL. By covering his face in eye black like a wrestler, Randle was a dominant force for the Minnesota Vikings, eventually earning Hall of Fame honors. Although he was an elite interior defensive lineman as a professional, Randle didn’t receive the recognition as a high school player in Texas.
Due to his smaller size and inconsistent academic history, Randle had to begin at Trinity Valley Community College. After two years, Randle received a scholarship from Texas A&I Kingsville, accumulating 34 sacks and two conference titles in his two seasons.
Adrian Peterson is the subject of a few NFL fun facts, such as the single-game rushing record of 296 yards and becoming the last non-quarterback to win the MVP award in 2013 after surpassing the illustrious 2,000-yard mark. But those numbers look pedestrian compared to his high school totals. The fifth all-time leading rusher was a three-sport superstar at Palestine High School, achieving great acclaim in track, basketball, and on the gridiron.
In his junior year, Peterson had 2,051 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging an astonishing 8.3 yards per carry. Peterson didn’t suffer from senioritis because the numbers in his swan song were an unfathomable 2,960 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 11.7 yards per carry.
LaDainian Tomlinson will forever be a fantasy football legend for his 2006 campaign that saw him eclipse 2,300 yards from scrimmage and an NFL record of 31 scores. But he began his football career at University High School in Waco. Like Peterson, LT was an all-star athlete in various sports, including track, baseball, and basketball. Yet, nothing holds a candle to what he did on the football field.
In his final year, Tomlinson had 2,554 yards and reached paydirt 39 times. LT could have gone to any school in the country, but he settled on going to TCU, elevating their program from a laughingstock to a good squad.
Unfortunately, football statistics weren’t prominent in the 1950s, so there’s no numerical evidence of Forrest Gregg’s greatness. However, we have tales from the past that encompass how dominating the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame lineman was at Sulphur Springs. The best evidence we can offer is that Gregg’s opponents all had the same game plan of running away from him.
If you look at the passing records in any NFL record book, you’ll find Brees’ name near the top of every category. Therefore, it makes sense that the state-champion quarterback from Westlake would have the pick of the litter to play college football. Brees only received two offers from Purdue and Kentucky because he was smaller than typical quarterbacks. Brees ultimately settled on the Boilermakers, becoming their most decorated signal caller.
The most legendary high school football players from Texas range in positions and eras. The one thing they do have in common is that they were some of the best to lace up their cleats and strut their stuff underneath the Friday night lights.