Georgia Native Athletes Who Are Playing Professionally
As the NFL season officially kicked off this past week, Georgia high school football fans were able to watch tons of Peach State products perform at a high level.
According to Pro Football Reference, there are around 100 Georgia natives who have officially played in an NFL game and are still active players. This is not even counting the numerous other reserve players who have yet to touch the field during a regular season game or those developmental players signed to practice squads.
Two quarterbacks from Georgia are currently starters in the league: Westlake’s Cam Newton and Gainesville’s Deshaun Watson. Several Georgia tailbacks are tearing up the league, including Cedartown native Nick Chubb, Norcross star Alvin Kamara, and Hillgrove alum Kenyan Drake. Woodstock’s Bruce Miller is the only Georgia fullback active in the NFL. Rounding out the skill position players, some former GHSA wide receivers now in the league include Tyreek Hill of Douglas, Arabia Mountain’s Breshad Perriman, and former Greater Atlanta Christian standout Darius Slayton. Several offensive linemen from Georgia are professional football players such as Hephzibah’s James Carpenter, Wesleyan School’s David Andrews, Colquitt County’s Cameron Erving, and Orlando Brown Jr. of Peachtree Ridge.
If one tried to build an all-Georgia defense in the NFL, they would have a stacked lineup. It might include defensive linemen like Rockdale County native Grady Jarrett, Hillgrove’s Bradley Chubb, former Wilkinson County star Bud Dupree, and Peachtree Ridge product Cameron Hayward. At linebacker, Georgia products include Statesboro’s Justin Houston, Dodge County’s Leonard Floyd, Liberty County’s Raekwon McMillan, and Macon County’s Roquan Smith. There are also several defensive secondary stars from the Peach State, such as Westside (Macon)’s Kareem Jackson, Ridgeland’s Vonn Bell, A.J. Bouye of Tucker, and Darius Slay of Brunswick.
Georgia has also produced many great special teams players, including kickers in Westminster’s Harrison Butker and Northgate’s Wil Lutz, punters like Coosa’s Chris Jones and Sam Martin of Starr’s Mill, and long snappers such as Carrollton’s Josh Harris and Buford’s Reid Ferguson.
Along with these established veterans, there are many up-and-coming Georgia products in the NFL. On offense, examples of these guys are Elbert County native Mecole Hardman, Monroe Area’s Michael Gallup, Hillgrove’s Evan Engram, and Wayne Gallman of Grayson. Potential stars on defense include Hapeville Charter product Arden Key, Darryl Johnson of Camden County, Brunswick native Tracy Walker, and Northwest Whitfield’s Isaiah Mack.
Twenty-one former Georgia high school football players were selected in April’s NFL Draft. Some of the high-profile draftees include Lanier’s Derrick Brown, Westlake’s A.J. Terrell, Pace Academy’s Andrew Thomas, and Roswell product Xavier McKinney. Players selected later in the draft were Harris County standout Tae Crowder, Houston County’s Jake Fromm, North Clayton’s Kindle Vidor, and Rabun County’s Charlie Woerner.
If you love Georgia high school football and you are a professional football fan as well, chances are the next time you flip the channel to an NFL game you will be watching numerous Georgia products on the field. Conversely, you might want to attend more high school football games in Georgia if you are able to. You never know where the next NFL star might come from.
Written by: Logan Maddox