These photos portray NFL stars in a vulnerable time period. This article is 15 photos of NFL superstars when they were in high school. High school was probably a good time for these football stars, as they were most likely the most popular kids in school. Though these guys were studs in sports, some of these photos are a little embarrassing. They might have different hair, or have faces that don't look like their current appearance, nor are they as flattering.
Brady wasn't actually a stud athletically until he got to the NFL. He wasn't great at Michigan, and was picked really late in the NFL Draft. The Patriots were shocked to find out actually how amazing the young QB would end up becoming. In fact, I would put Brady in line as a top 5 quarterback of all time and I'm sure many have him at no.1.
These photos take the readers back to the days of high school for NFL superstars. Times when they were working especially hard to get to the college level. I'm sure they weren't aware they would be noted as some of the best NFL players to ever grace the field. Maybe some of the guys on this list knew their potential, but the majority probably thought that they could play college ball, and see where their career goes from there.
15 Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson looks pretty similar to his current self in this picture. He just looks a lot scrawnier, and obviously younger in general. Russell's face looks a lot skinnier than it does now, which obviously is indicative of weight lifting to get to the professional level and in college. Him and his teammates look happy in this image, as I am sure he led them to high standards in high school football. Wilson grew up in a Cincinnati, Ohio suburb. He was only a two star recruit out of his high school in Richmond, Virginia. (He moved to VA when he got a little older). Wilson wasn't a highly rated athlete, but he sure has proved every doubter wrong astoundingly. Wilson continues to produce high numbers and has his best years ahead of him.
14 Adrian Peterson
AP also ran track in high school. This makes sense because he runs a 4.4, 40-yard dash. Peterson was a five star recruit out of high school. In fact, he was the number one athlete in America in 2004 for high school sports. Peterson had offers from virtually every school and could have chosen any future he wanted. His aspirations led him to Oklahoma, where he teamed up with Sam Bradford. Peterson was excellent in high school and college, and has been a stud in the NFL.
Like the Russell Wilson picture, Peterson just looks scrawnier then he does now. Peterson broke his choices down to Arkansas, Miami, Texas, Texas A&M, and UCLA. He ultimately chose Oklahoma, because he wanted to be the best player and lead a team to a championship.
13 Julian Edelman
Even though he's a star receiver now, Julian Edelman actually played quarterback in high school. He threw 29 touchdowns for the Woodside Wildcats his senior season. He broke many records at the position. Julian has been noted as shy in high school, and a little bit of an introvert. After high school he went to Kent State. He majored in business management there and didn't expect to ever make it to the NFL. He did not get invited to the 2009 NFL Combine. He surprisingly ran a 4.52 40 yard dash. The Patriots took him in the 7th round with an idea that he could be a solid backup. Julian shattered the expectations of ones himself made, and others. He continues to tear up the NFL and it's amazing how successful he became as a wide receiver.
12 Joe Flacco
Joe looks really miserable in this yearbook picture. In the class of 2009, Joe was ranked 39th for quarterbacks. Flacco was a 3 star football recruit. Other than football, he played baseball and basketball. He hails from Haddon Township in New Jersey. Flacco looks somewhat angry or just bored in the picture taken at his school. Picture day truly is boring, and it's tedious work just sitting there. Anyway, Joe graduated and went to Pittsburgh. After he earned just a backup role he transferred to Delaware. At Delaware he really shined in terms of his throwing abilities.
Initially, Joe didn't think he would be drafted in the NFL, and wanted to switch to baseball. He stuck with football, and even became a first round pick. Hey, he even won a Super Bowl. Flacco is still doing pretty solid in the NFL.
11 DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins had an unreal season in 2015. Long before he was dominating on the NFL platform, he was a kid in South Carolina, who wanted to play college football. He was very athletic in school, playing basketball, running track and football (obviously). Hopkins was an excellent point guard for his team. He probably could have played college basketball if he wanted to. Anyway, he decided to go to Clemson. Hopkins led the team in receiving his first year. He played until his junior season, then entered the NFL draft. He went surprisingly high in the 2013 NFL draft. With the 27th pick, the Texans pounced on him.
Hopkins was supposed to be good, and I think his coaches from the pee-wee level to college knew that. The guy is fast, and runs exceptional routes. Hopkins doesn't have a great QB, but Brock Osweiler will have to do for now.
10 Eli Manning
Eli Manning was being trained from the time he was young to go to the NFL. His father played in the NFL, and his brother showed a lot of promise as well. Eli grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended Isidore Newman School. Many other famous athletes attended this school such as Odell Beckham Jr., Peyton Manning, Jeremy Bleich etc... Eli trained very hard to go to the college football level at a young age. He was on a mission, and he succeeded. His career at Ole Miss was astounding. He broke many records, and actually graduated from the college with a 3.44 GPA. Though he did not win the Heisman Trophy, he won other notable accolades, such as the Maxwell Award. Eli Manning has carved out quite a name for himself with two Super Bowls, although no one will ever say he's the better Manning.
9 A.J. Green
Green was a stud in high school. He went to Summerville High, and played three sports. He ran track and played basketball and football. He was named the number one athlete in high school sports by Sports Illustrated. He is actually noted as probably one of the greatest high school athletes ever, and he reached crazy receiving yard marks. With just about every option for college, Green chose Georgia. He was a monster there, and in his first game he had eight receptions.
Green has really been great on the football field ever since he was young. He was the fourth pick in the 2011 draft, which is notably high for receivers. Well, he was worth it. Just ask Bengals fans. Green continues to be a reliable threat in Cincinnati for Andy Dalton.
8 Drew Brees
Drew Brees didn't play competitive football until ninth grade. His parents had athletic pasts, but he wasn't so interested in sports. He played flag football once, and just fell in love with the game. He eventually played tackle football, and tore his ACL in his junior season. This made recruiters drop their intentions of recruiting him. He did not have a sure football future ahead of him. Senior season rolled around and he killed it. He threw 50 touchdowns throughout high school at Westlake. He received honorable mentions along with Tomlinson for high school standouts. He received offers from Kentucky and Purdue. He decided to be a Boilermaker. He was great at Purdue, and got drafted by the Chargers. The rest is history. Brees didn't have the best tenure in San Diego but has become a legend in New Orleans.
7 Patrick Peterson
Peterson went to Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Florida. In his junior year he had 11 touchdowns, nine of which were rushing touchdowns on offense and seven interceptions on defense. He was named to many All American groups, and was the defensive player of the year. He was a five star recruit, an accolade so high that he had many offers. A five star recruit for an athlete is like achieving a 36 on the ACT. The kids with high scores can go virtually anywhere. Peterson could go anywhere with his "athletic score".
He went to LSU, a football powerhouse. With an outstanding career with Les Miles, he was picked high. Patrick was the fifth pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Peterson is now in his prime and is arguably the best corner in the game.
6 Rob Gronkowski
Rob "Gronk" Gronkowski is from Williamsville, New York. He had seven touchdowns in his junior season. He also played basketball in high school, and was recruited for that as well. For his senior season of high school, his family relocated to Pittsburgh. He was named an All-American, having an incredible year. He had various offers for college football scholarships. Syracuse, Ohio State, Kentucky, Arizona, Clemson, and Maryland all wanted him on their rosters. He chose to go to the University of Arizona, a party school. Gronk was named third team All-American there, but missed his junior season at Arizona due to injuries.
He was drafted in the second round by the Patriots, traded from the Raiders who had previously dealt their pick to New England. Interestingly enough, the Raiders thought he was the best player in the draft as reports show that came out this year.
5 Cam Newton
Cam Newton was a four star recruit. At Westlake High in Georgia he was very productive. He had 23 passing touchdowns his junior season and 9 rushing touchdowns. He was ranked the second best quarterback in the country going into his senior season. Newton committed to the University of Florida. Florida wasn't great for Cam. He was a backup, and was often injured. Newton transferred to a small school in Alabama and flourished. The next year, 2010, he went to the University of Auburn. He had an amazing year, winning the National Championship. Cam declared for the 2011 NFL Draft, knowing he would be the no.1 draft pick overall. He was taken by a young and not so great Carolina Panthers team. Newton has since become Carolina's franchise player and is revolutionizing the quarterback position.
4 Ben Roethlisberger
Wow, Ben looks significantly skinnier in his high school portrait. He looks like a completely different person then his appearance now. He attended Findlay High School in Ohio. He was the captain of the baseball, basketball and football team. It's clear he was an impressive athlete at a young age. He played wide receiver until his senior season at Findlay because the head coach wanted to start his son at QB. Little did the coach know his starting wide receiver would end up being a superstar quarterback.
Ben wasn't really a highly touted recruit. He played QB at Miami of Ohio. He broke an unbelievable amount of passing records in his time at Miami. Today, he is killing it for the Steelers as he always has. Roethlisberger is already a legend in Pittsburgh and is still setting his legacy today.
3 J.J. Watt
Watt went to Pewaukee High. He ran track, played basketball, football, and baseball. He earned all-state honors his senior season, and all conference. He played tight end and defensive end. He had five touchdowns his senior season. He broke the state record for shotput his senior season for track and field. He was only a 2-star recruit out of high school. His offers for college weren't from the best football schools, getting offers from Central Michigan, Colorado. and Minnesota. Watt ultimately went to Central Michigan. Watt wasn't a great tight end at Central Michigan. He only had 8 receptions. He then transferred to Wisconsin to play defensive end. He had a killer career at Wisconsin and was selected with the 11th pick by the Texans in 2011. Watt has already won Defensive Player of the Year multiple times and will likely win several more.
2 Tom Brady
Tom Brady went to Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California. He played basketball, football, and baseball in those years. Tom was first a backup for the JV football team. When the QB got injured, he became the starter for the JV squad. By Junior year he had risen up the ranks, and was the starter for the varsity team. He had offers from some solid schools, but he ultimately chose Michigan. He finished his high school career with 31 touchdowns. Tom then flourished at Michigan, racking up solid yards each game. Brady was also very highly recruited for baseball in high school. In fact, he was even drafted by the Montreal Expos as a catcher.
As we know, Brady has gone on to be an elite quarterback and a surefire Hall of Famer.
1 Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers originally lived in California, but his family eventually relocated to Beaverton, Oregon. He attended high school back in California when his family moved once more to Chirco, California. He started for two seasons at QB there, setting a record of 6 touchdowns in a single game. He was not initially recruited out of high school. Rodgers went to a community college to play football. He played very well there, and attracted mass media attention. He received an offer from Cal Berkeley, and accepted it. Rodgers didn't expect to even go to the NFL, but he played exceptional at Cal, which earned him a lot of attention.
In 2005, he entered the NFL Draft. A-Rod was the 24th pick to the Packers, which was one of the most shocking draft slides in NFL history. He spent some seasons as a backup for Brett Favre, until becoming the legend/superstar that he is today.
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