Five former Georgia high school football standouts were selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft last Thursday. Three were among the top 15 picks. Following is a look at those first-rounders from the Peach State.
LB Will Anderson (Alabama)
The former Dutchtown Bulldog was selected with the third overall pick of the NFL Draft after the Texans traded up with the Cardinals. Anderson was a highly touted prospect out of high school; in fact, he was rated as the best player in Georgia and the best defensive end in the nation.
That hype translated to the field, as Anderson helped lead the Bulldogs to an undefeated regular season his junior year and an 11-2 record as a senior. He chose Alabama over 38 other high-profile offers, including SEC foes LSU and Auburn.
RB Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama)
Gibbs became the third Crimson Tide player chosen after the Lions selected him with the 12th overall pick. The Georgia Tech transfer began his football career in Dalton, where he shattered school and state records.
An impressive 2019 campaign featured 2,554 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns. That included a 420-yard, eight-touchdown night against Ringgold, which tied for second place for most rushing scores in a game. The four-star prospect committed to the Yellow Jackets, where he would lead the nation in all-purpose yards in 2021.
OL Broderick Jones (Georgia)
Just two picks after Gibbs, Broderick Jones was drafted by the Steelers. Jones played high school football at Lithonia, where he quickly became the star on a relatively subpar Bulldogs squad.
Jones paved the way for over 1,500 rushing yards his senior year and more than justified his status as the second-best lineman nationwide. He committed to Georgia early in his career as a sophomore, but that decision proved to be the correct one.
DE Myles Murphy (Clemson)
With the 28th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bengals chose this former Georgia high school standout from Hillgrove. Murphy notched 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss during Hillgrove’s historic 2018 campaign, just the second undefeated regular season in school history.
Despite the team’s worse record the following year, Murphy’s production remained consistent. His versatility and athleticism drew the attention of the nation’s best football programs, but America’s top-rated defensive end chose Dabo Swinney and Clemson.
LB Nolan Smith (Georgia)
Smith was taken with the second-to-last pick in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, who have built a roster full of players with Georgia ties. While he spent his final two high school years at IMG Academy, Smith is originally from Savannah, where he broke out at Calvary Day. As a sophomore, he led the 10-1 Cavaliers in sacks (12.0) and tackles (75), raking in 16 tackles for loss in the process.
Those totals influenced the entire Calvary Day defense, as they allowed fewer than 9.5 points per game that season. With a 0.9994 rating, the country’s best player chose to return to his home state to play for Georgia.