When the NFL Draft takes place April 27-29, dreams will become reality for many former Florida high school stars. Following are 10 Florida products who are likely to hear their names called in the early rounds.
Jalen Carter (Apopka)
We begin with Carter, the first of two likely Top-10 picks on this list. Carter, a former five-star prospect from Apopka in the 2020 class, is coming off a three-year career at Georgia that included 83 tackles, 18.5 TFL, 6 sacks, and two national championships. He has a legitimate case to be made as the No. 1 overall defensive lineman in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Anthony Richardson (Eastside)
The second of those two projected Top 10 picks is Richardson, the Florida signal caller who is in the conversation to be one of the first overall players selected Thursday night. One of the most intriguing prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, Richardson is a former four-star prospect from the 2020 class out of Eastside High School in Gainesville. He concluded his Florida career by passing for 3,105 yards and a 24:15 TD:INT ratio, as well as rushing for 1,116 yards with 12 more scores.
Nolan Smith (IMG Academy)
There are at least four or five more former Florida high school stars to watch for in the first round of the NFL Draft, with Smith arguably the biggest in that group. The nation’s No. 1 overall prospect in the 2019 class from IMG Academy, the Georgia edge rusher is coming off a four-year span in Athens that included 110 tackles, 20 TFL, 12.5 sacks, and two national championships.
Zay Flowers (NSU University)
A player who has continued to rise up draft boards in recent weeks is Flowers, a former three-star prospect in the 2019 class from NSU University. Squarely in the WR1 conversation in this year’s draft, Flowers has emerged as a likely first-round pick after a three-year career at Boston College in which he had 200 receptions for 3,056 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Devon Witherspoon (Pine Forest)
One of the top cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft is Witherspoon, a Pine Forest product from the 2019 Florida high school class who has continued to rise up draft boards in recent weeks. A consensus All-American last season, Witherspoon is coming off a four-year career at Illinois in which he had 157 tackles, 11.5 TFL, and 5 interceptions.
Calijah Kancey (Miami Northwestern)
Another fast-rising prospect to keep an eye on is Kancey, a defensive lineman from Pittsburgh who was a three-star prospect in the 2019 class out of Miami Northwestern. Kancey is coming off a collegiate career in which he made 91 total tackles with 34.5 TFL and 16 sacks, and he received honors including 2022 consensus All-American and 2022 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Gervon Dexter (Lake Wales)
One of the more prominent names as a Florida high school football product likely to be selected early in this NFL Draft is Dexter, who was the state’s No. 1 overall player out of Lake Wales in the 2020 class. Dexter has spent his last three seasons at Florida, compiling 125 tackles with 10.5 TFL and 5 sacks.
Jartavius “Quan” Martin (Lehigh)
Martin, an Illinois product and a former three-star prospect from the 2018 class out of Lehigh, is yet another name who could come off the board in the early rounds. The defensive back is coming off a five-year career with the Fighting Illini that included 225 tackles, 10.5 TFL, and 7 interceptions.
Sydney Brown (Saint Stephen’s Episcopal)
The third member of Illinois’ secondary on this list, Brown could also come off the board very early in the 2023 NFL Draft. A former three-star prospect in the 2018 class from Saint Stephen’s Episcopal, Brown has also spent the past five seasons at Illinois, where he collected 320 tackles, 10 TFL, and 10 interceptions.
Jordan Battle (St. Thomas Aquinas)
One of the more popular names on this list who could go in the early rounds is Battle, a multi-year starter at Alabama who is also a former four-star prospect out of St. Thomas Aquinas in the 2019 class. Battle made 252 total tackles during his Crimson Tide career, along with 6.5 TFL and 6 interceptions, and he won a national championship.
In addition to those 10, here are a few additional Florida high school products you should be watching for in the early rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft:
- DJ Turner II (Michigan, IMG Academy)
- Tyrique Stevenson (Miami, Miami Southridge)
- Kenny McIntosh (Georgia, NSU University)
- Eli Ricks (Alabama, IMG Academy)
- Tyler Steen (Alabama, St. Thomas Aquinas)
It appears the NFL Draft will be loaded with a significant amount of former Florida high school football talent again this spring. The only question left to answer: How many former Florida prep greats will be selected in 2023?