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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Long Beach Poly & De La Salle Footballers in NFL

The Magnificent Seven?

When Long Beach Poly played Concord De La Salle in 2001, it was billed as a mythical high school football national championship game. Today, seven players from that contest are in the NFL, which raises the question: Was Poly-DLS the most talent ever arrayed for a non-all-star game?

SEPT. 28, 2007 -- One Great Game (Atria, paperback 2005; hardback 2003) chronicled a modern high school football national championship game that took place in 2001, but the repercussions aren't over yet.

The long tail of a remarkable sporting event continues with the announcement by USA Football that the two schools involved, Long Beach Poly and Concord De La Salle, each have the most players in the NFL this season--six.

*Of the 12 players, 7 played with or against each other in that one "great game," which tested the marketability of televised high school football to a national audience. Today high school games are routinely screened coast-to-coast.

*The odds are this may have been the greatest number of potential pros on a high school field at one time for a non-all-star game. (In addition to the 7, at least one other player in the game has played an NFL season.)

*Two of the stars of the game have endured setbacks and hardships that scouts and fans could never have predicted.

The quarterback of the winning team, Matt Gutierrez, never lost a high school game during four years as a starter at De La Salle. He went to Michigan, where he never started a game or played a significant role. Yet this year he is a member of the New England Patriots, backing up all-pro Tom Brady--whose uncle was Gutierrez's high school principal.

The star of the Poly team, Hershel Dennis, was part of USC's shared national championship team but suffered two knee injuries in succeeding seasons. After the NCAA granted an almost unprecedented sixth year due to hardship, Dennis is a senior at USC and one of a half-dozen all-star tailbacks. This season he has carried 4 times for 15 yards.

*Long Beach Poly, also credited with having the most NFL players from any high school, was selected California's "School of the Century" in 2000 for overall excellence.

*De La Salle owns the record for most consecutive victories by any football team at any level: 151. It was broken by Bellevue High School on Sept. 4, 2004.

Contact: Don Wallace at


Two High Schools Share Lead for Most NFL Players; California Leads All States; Miami Tops Hometowns

USA Football Staff
Two California high schools –– De La Salle in Concord and Long Beach Polytechnic in Long Beach -- top the list of high schools with the most 2007 NFL players with six each.

The totals are based on the 1,693-man 2007 NFL Kickoff Weekend rosters (September 6, 9-10).

NFL players from Kickoff rosters hail from 1,384 high schools in 48 states and the District of Columbia, three foreign countries and one U.S. territory (American Samoa).

Two high schools –– DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland and Dillard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida –– had five players apiece on Kickoff rosters.

De La Salle, Dillard and Long Beach Poly have traditionally been among the annual leaders in NFL alumni. This is the first time that DeMatha Catholic has had players in the top two positions since 1998, when NFL high school rosters were first computed.

The NFL players from the most productive schools have fond memories of their high school days, and respect for how the schools’’ football programs are run:

•• JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS QB QUINN GRAY (Dillard): ““The big thing about going to Dillard was the tradition. It started back when my dad was a coach there from 1979-90. He started a real tradition as far as winning football games and excellence in the classroom. It was a pleasure to go to the school and be a member of the football team at Dillard. You had guys like ISAAC BRUCE, CHRIS GAMBLE and people like that who played there. The tradition continues because you have guys coming out of there now going to college and then to the NFL. They will continue to do that.””

•• CLEVELAND BROWNS LB WILLIE MC GINEST (Long Beach Poly): ““Long Beach Poly means a lot to me. The school is a melting pot of ethnicity, and you not only got a great education, but you also learned about life. The coaches and administrators made sure you focused on your schoolwork. It is not a surprise to me that so many people who went to Poly have gone on to do great things. They prepare you for the next phase of your life.””

•• NEW YORK GIANTS WR AMANI TOOMER (De La Salle): ““The thing I learned from high school football was the focus it takes to be successful. We had a very successful run at De La Salle and what I remember most about it was that everybody was really focused about playing every week. It was just a good feeling that you knew the guy next to you was going to try his hardest to be the best and you could trust him. The other thing that was great was working with a coaching staff that consisted of really good people -- people who really wanted you to do well. It’’s just a good feeling to have their support and have people behind you who want to get the best out of you.””

•• PHILADELPHIA EAGLES RB BRIAN WESTBROOK (DeMatha): ““My high school coach (WILLIAM MC GREGOR II, the 2004 NFL High School Coach of the Year) continues to be an inspiration and source of support for me.””


High School, Town, State Number NFL Players
De La Salle, Concord, CA 6 Matt Gutierrez, NE; Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX; Derek Landri, JAX; Amani Toomer, NYG; Demetrius Williams, BLT; D.J. Williams, DEN
Long Beach Polytechnic, Long Beach, CA 6 Winston Justice, PHI; Marcedes Lewis, JAX; Willie McGinest, CLV; Samie Parker, KC; Pago Togafau, PHI; Manuel Wright, NYG

Two high schools have five players each:

High School, Town, State Number NFL Players
DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, MD 5 Jacob Bender, NYJ; Quinn Ojinnaka, ATL; John Owens, NO; Brian Westbrook, PHI; Josh Wilson, SEA
Dillard, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 5 Isaac Bruce, SL; Chris Gamble, CAR; Quinn Gray, JAX; Jovan Haye, TB; Stanley McClover, CAR

Sixteen high schools have four players each in the NFL this year. Twenty-nine high schools boast three NFLers, while 185 schools have two players:

High School, Town, State Number
Angleton, Angelton, TX 4
Aplington-Parkersburg, Parkersburg, IA 4
Blanche Ely, Pompano Beach, FL 4
Crenshaw, Los Angeles, CA 4
Deep Creek, Chesapeake, VA 4
Glades Central, Belle Glade, FL 4
Glenville, Cleveland, OH 4
Hazelwood East, St. Louis, MO 4
Lower Richland, Hopkins, SC 4
Miami, Miami, FL 4
Miami Beach, Miami Beach, FL 4
Norland, Miami, FL 4
Provine, Jackson, MS 4
Ruston, Ruston, LA 4
Tustin, Tustin, CA 4

HOME STATES: California topped the list of states with most NFL players in 2007 (209), followed by Texas (184) and Florida (178):

State NFL Players State NFL Players
California 209 Virginia 53
Texas 184 Alabama 51
Florida 178 Michigan 49
Ohio 92 Pennsylvania 49
Georgia 77 Illinois 43
Louisiana 71 Mississippi 43
South Carolina 53 North Carolina 43

HOMETOWNS: Miami, Florida heads the list of hometowns with the most NFL players (37), followed by Houston (32), Detroit, Los Angeles and San Diego (13 each).

Subject: Long Beach Poly boasts six former players in the NFL
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 11:30:49 -0700 (PDT)

Long Beach Poly boasts six former players in the NFL

School is tied with Concord De La Salle among high schools nationally with the most representatives in the pro league, according to a report by USA Football.

By Lauren Peterson
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 28 2007

Perennial high school football powerhouses Long Beach Poly and Concord De La Salle are making an impact on the sport that reaches well beyond the prep level, according to figures released Thursday by USA Football, the sport's national governing body.

The complete article can be viewed at:,1,3872346.story?coll=la-headlines-sports

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  1. Anonymous6:26 AM

    A fountain of misinformation. Here is just one of four teams you missed with your Cali blinders on which have MORE players in NFL than DLS; Woodland Hills PA. Keep looking dude.

  2. I think you didn't read carefully: the first part of the blog is about the most players in a single game (non-all-star) to make the NFL. It's now up to 9, by the way. The second statement was about LB Poly, not DLS, with the number who've made it in the NFL now up to 61. You may be right about the DLS vs Woodland Hills, but that number is from the LA Times, not me. Thanks.