Case Keenum and the 10 NFL Starting QBs Who Played High School Football in Texas
Case Keenum and the 10 NFL Starting QBs Who Hail From Texas
If you've heard it (or said it) once, you've heard it 1,000 times: high school football is different in the state of Texas. It's different in that it's like a different level than what's played in the other 49 states -- it's almost a sub-collegiate level in between high school and college football. Want proof? Case Keenum being named the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans in Week 7 of the 2013 NFL season provides more than enough.
With Keenum's promotion to the starter in Houston, there are now 10 quarterbacks from the state of Texas who will have started at least one NFL game this year after Sunday, Oct. 20. Some of them are obvious, but you'll be surprised to know that a few teams -- especially those not liked by most folks in Texas -- field quarterbacks who hail from the Lone Star State.
Perhaps the most bizarre trait that all 10 of these signal-callers share is none of them attended the University of Texas, and only a handful of them even had the opportunity to play for the Longhorns. In fact, only four of them played college ball in their home state. Crazy, huh?
Drew Brees - Austin Westlake
Most folks have no idea that Drew Brees played his high school football near the state capital in Texas. In fact, Brees actually came from a family of elite Texas athletes and he was reportedly named after Cowboys legendary receiver Drew Pearson. He lived up to the name/hype by leading Westlake High School to an undefeated state championship season in 1996, the same year he was selected as the Most Valuable Offensive Player in Class 5A, the largest in the state.
Nick Foles - Austin Westlake
Westlake gets the most love here because it's the only school to feature two players on this list. Nick Foles broke many of Drew Brees' passing records (5,600 yards and 56 touchdowns) at Westlake during two years as a starter while leading his team to a state championship appearance against nationally-ranked Southlake Carroll. Foles was recruited by Georgetown, Baylor and Texas to play basketball, but wasn't offered a scholarship to play football at any college in Texas despite being recruited by Texas Tech and UTEP.
Andrew Luck - Houston Stratford
Most folks don't know that Andrew Luck grew up in Europe before moving to Houston, where he played football at Stratford High School. Naturally, he was a star, throwing for over 7,000 yards and 53 touchdowns while rushing for over 2,000 as well. He was recruited by pretty much every powerhouse college football team in the nation, but he narrowed his list based on the engineering programs of the schools and ultimately chose Stanford. That worked out well for him academically and athletically.
Robert Griffin III - Copperas Cove
A three-star sport at Copperas Cove High School, Robert Griffin III was a world-class hurdler in addition to being a four-star quarterback recruit. He led the Bulldawgs to back-to-back 4A D1 state championship appearances, but lost both times. This came at the same time RG3 broke state and national track and field records. He was recruited by several big-time D1 programs, but chose Houston, one of only two schools in Texas to offer him a scholarship. When Cougars coach Art Briles left for Baylor prior to Griffin's freshman season, he followed Briles to Waco and became the first Heisman Trophy winner in Bears history.
Andy Dalton - Katy
It's hard to believe, but Andy Dalton only started one full season at quarterback for Katy High School, but he made the most of it. After taking over midway through his junior season, Dalton led the Tigers to a 14-1 record and an appearance in the 5A DII state championship game. During that 2005 season, Dalton threw for 2,877 yards and 42 touchdowns. Memphis and UTEP were the only two schools to offer Dalton a scholarship until he made an unannounced visit to TCU, where he won over head coach Gary Patterson and ended up becoming the winningest quarterback in college football history during his Horned Frogs career.
Matt Flynn - Tyler Lee
There are no off-the-charts stats or accomplishments to display from Matt Flynn's career at Robert E. Lee High School (Tyler Lee) in Tyler. He didn't top 1,700 yards or 15 touchdowns in either of his years as a starter and his team never appeared in a state championship game. Of course, that's not something to just shrug off as many teams in Texas that lose in the playoffs could easily win titles in other states. Flynn was recruited by Baylor, Texas A&M and Texas Tech, although only the former two offered him a scholarship. He chose LSU over Alabama, Arizona, Colorado and Purdue.
Christian Ponder - Colleyville Hertiage
Like Matt Flynn, Christian Ponder didn't set records or win state championships during his high school career, but he did enough at Colleyville Heritage High School to garner the attention of Baylor, the only college in Texas to offer him a scholarship. After passing for almost 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns in two years as a starter at Heritage, he ultimately chose to play for his father's alma mater, Florida State.
Matthew Stafford - Highland Park
Everything went perfectly for Matthew Stafford during his childhood as his family moved to Dallas in time for him to attend Highland Park high school. He didn't do well as a starter in his junior season, but he then quit baseball to focus on football and it worked: he threw for over 4,000 yards in his senior season while leading the Scots to an undefeated 15-0 state championship season, including playoff wins over Ryan Mallett's Texarkana Texas High School and Jevan Snead's Stephenville High School. Stafford is the only quarterback on this list to receive a scholarship offer from the University of Texas, but he chose his father's alma mater, Georgia, over Texas and a slew of others.
Ryan Tannehill - Big Spring
Things were a lot different for Ryan Tannehill, whose career at Big Spring High School resembled that of his Texas A&M career. He wasn't a five-star recruit and he didn't always play quarterback -- he switched to signal-caller as a junior and never threw for more than 1,400 yards in a season and never won a state title. But unlike the other players on this list, he received scholarship offers from multiple schools in Texas besides the Aggies: Houston, TCU and UTEP. He was also recruited by Texas Tech and received offers from New Mexico State and Tulsa.
Case Keenum - Abilene Wylie
Case Keenum is responsible for the only state championship at Wylie High School in Abilene. He's the all-time leading passer in NCAA history, among a slew of other records he set at the University of Houston, and he started that trend early by accumulating almost 9,000 total yards and 90 touchdowns during his high school career. Baylor, North Texas and UTEP were the other three schools that recruited Keenum, but Houston was the only one to offer him a scholarship. Needless to say, that turned out well.