One day, Texas might be known just as much for its quarterbacks as its running backs.Drew Brees has become a superstar in the NFL, and Robert Griffin III, Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford and Christian Ponder are promising young starters.A group of Texas-bred quarterbacks, at some point, might rival the state's history of great running backs: Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson, Billy Sims, Doak Walker, Thurman Thomas, LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson."Texas has always been a running back/linebacker state, but over the years we have gotten better at throwing the football," longtime Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said. "Seven-on-seven has a little bit to do with that, but I just think it's the fact we've evolved with all of it."The coaches understand it better, so we do a better job of preparing kids for it. We throw the ball 41 percent of the time, but we spend a heck of a lot more time working on that than we do on running it. So imagine teams that throw it a bunch and how much they work on the quarterback fundamentals."The quarterback position has become what franchises and schools build their team around, and Texas has emerged as the top-producing state of them. Nine NFL teams -- more than a quarter of the league -- started quarterbacks in Week 11 who played high school football in Texas.Here's a look at the nine quarterbacks with a history of their high school accomplishments, as well as at the college and professional level:
|1 Drew Brees||Austin Westlake||Purdue||NO||12th|
|2 Matthew Stafford||Highland Park||Georgia||DET||4th|
|3 John Skelton||El Paso Burges||Fordham||ARI||3rd|
|4 Andy Dalton||Katy||TCU||CIN||2nd|
|5 Christian Ponder||Colleyville Heritage||Florida St.||MIN||2nd|
|6 Andrew Luck||Stratford||Stanford||IND||R|
|7 Robert Griffin III||Copperas Cove||Baylor||WAS||R|
|8 Ryan Tannehill||Big Spring||Texas A&M||MIA||R|
|9 Nick Foles||Austin Westlake||Arizona||PHI||R|
Drew Brees, SaintsHigh School (Austin Westlake): As a senior in 1996, Brees was selected the Texas 5A offensive MVP and led his team to a 16-0 record and state title. In his two years as starter, Westlake went 28-0-1. He finished with 5,461 passing yards and 50 TDs.College (Purdue): He ended his career as the Boilermakers' all-time passing leader with 11,792 passing yards, 90 TDs and a .611 completion percentage. Brees was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 1999 and 2000.Pro: Has enjoyed a standout NFL career, winning the 2009 Super Bowl MVP award and being selected to six Pro Bowls. Last season, he set the league record for most passing yards in a season (5,476), which also marked his sixth consecutive season of passing for at least 4,000 yards. Brees also has the NFL record for most consecutive games with a TD pass at 53 and counting.
Matthew Stafford, LionsHigh School (Highland Park): Stafford became one of the most decorated Texas quarterbacks in high school history. He was the 2005 Dave Campbell Texas Football Class 4A player of the year and considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country his senior season. He threw for 4,108 yards and 38 TDs as a senior, leading his team to the state championship. He had 1,748 passing yards and 18 TDs as a junior, and 2,945 passing yards and 36 TDs as a sophomore.College (Georgia): Spent three seasons at Georgia, ranking third on the school's list for passing yards (7,731), pass attempts (987), completions (564) and TD passes (51). He went 27-7 as a starter, and was named the Capital One Bowl MVP in 2008.Pro: Selected No. 1 by the Lions in 2009, he has started every game he has played. He passed for more than 5,000 yards and 41 TDs last season, and was selected the AP comeback player of the year.
John Skelton, CardinalsHigh School (El Paso Burges): At El Paso Burges, he passed for 2,172 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior in 2005. He was selected first-team all-district and all-city.College (Fordham): He left Fordham as the school's all-time passing leader with 9,923 passing yards and 69 TD passes. Led the NCAA FCS with 3,708 passing yards as a senior in 2009 and was a first-team All-Patriot League selection.Pro: Started the past four games for the Cardinals, but was benched on Sunday after completing just 2 of 7 passes for 6 yards against Atlanta. He has a passer rating of 64.4 this year.
Andy Dalton, BengalsHigh School (Katy): Dalton threw for 2,877 yards with 42 touchdowns and 15 interceptions as a senior in 2005. The team went 14-1, losing in the Texas 5A Division II state championship to Southlake Carroll, 34-20. The Houston Chronicle selected him as the greater Houston area offensive player of the year. For his high school career, he threw for 3,555 yards, 52 TDs and 17 INTs and completed 52 percent of his passes.College (TCU): A four-year starter at TCU, he finished his career as the school's passing leader (10,314 yards) and leader in TD passes (71). The team went 42-7 over those four seasons, including 13-0 his senior season that ended with a Rose Bowl victory.Pro: A second-round pick by the Bengals in 2011, Dalton has started every game since joining the team. He was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, throwing for 3,398 yards with 20 TDs and 13 INTs and leading Cincinnati to the postseason. This season, he has passed for 2,559 yards with 20 TDs and 11 INTs.
Christian Ponder, VikingsHigh School (Colleyville Heritage): At Colleyville Heritage his senior season in 2005, Ponder passed for 2,214 yards and 20 TDs and rushed for 911 yards and 12 TDs. He had a 318-yard, three-TD game against eventual state champion Southlake Carroll that season. As a junior, Ponder threw for 1,500 yards and seven TDs.College (Florida State): Won 22 games in career at Florida State. He left among the school's all-time leaders in completion percentage (second, 61.8 percent), total offense (third, 7,705 yards), passing yards (fourth, 6,872) and passing TDs (fifth, 49).Pro: Selected 12th overall by the Vikings in 2011. He became the starter midway through the season, finishing with 1,853 passing yards with 13 TDs and 13 INTs. This season, Ponder has started all 10 games and has thrown for 2,027 yards with 12 TDs and eight INTs with an 85.2 passer rating.
Andrew Luck, ColtsHigh School (Houston Stratford): Luck passed for 7,139 yards, 53 TDs and a 59.2 percent completion percentage in three seasons. He also had 2,085 career rushing yards. As a senior in 2007, Luck threw for 2,684 yards, 19 TDs and was named District 19-5A MVP.College (Stanford): At Stanford, he passed for 9,430 yards and set the school record for career TD passes (82) and completion percentage (67 percent). He was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist in 2010 and 2011, and won 31 games for the Cardinal.Pro: The first overall pick in 2012, Luck has enjoyed a remarkable rookie campaign. The Colts are 6-4 and Luck has passed for 2,965 yards with 12 TDs and 12 INTs for a 77.2 passer rating.
Robert Griffin III, RedskinsHigh School (Copperas Cove): Griffin went 25-4 in two seasons as the starting quarterback at Copperas Cove. He rushed for 1,285 yards and 24 TDs and passed for 1,356 yards with 16 TDs and seven interceptions as a senior in 2007. As a junior, he passed for 2,001 yards and 25 TDs with only two INTs. Griffin was also a standout on the track, setting state records in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.College (Baylor): Became the first Baylor player to win the Heisman Trophy in 2011, passing for 4,293 yards with 37 TDs and rushed for another 699 yards with 10 TDs. He set school records for passing yards (10,366), TD passes (78) and total offense (12,620 yards).Pro: The Redskins used the second overall pick last year to select Griffin, who became the first NFL starting quarterback to be born in the 1990s in Week 1. Griffin has put together an impressive rookie campaign, throwing for 2,193 yards with 12 TDs and three INTs, along with 613 rushing yards with six TDs. He has a 101 passer rating.
Ryan Tannehill, DolphinsHigh School (Big Spring): Tannehill did it all his senior season in 2006. He passed for 1,258 yards, rushed for 617 yards, had 62 receiving yards and averaged 39.2 yards a punt in leading his team to the playoffs. He missed two games with a shoulder injury. As a junior, he accounted for 2,232 yards of total offense. He was a defensive back as a sophomore.College (Texas A&M): Tannehill became the Texas A&M starting quarterback midway through his junior season in 2010, moving from wide receiver. He passed for 1,638 yards and 13 TDs in eight games, including seven starts, as a junior. He started all 13 games his senior season, passing for 3,744 yards with 29 TDs and 15 INTs and rushing for 306 yards with four TDs.Pro: The Dolphins used the eighth overall pick in April's draft on Tannehill, who has started all 10 games this season. He has thrown for 2,120 yards with six TDs and 11 INTs. He has shown flashes, such as when he passed for 431 yards against Arizona on Sept. 30.
Nick Foles, EaglesHigh School (Austin Westlake): Broke Austin Westlake passing records set by Drew Brees, finishing his career with 5,658 passing yards and 56 passing touchdowns. As a senior in 2006, Foles threw for 3,296 yards, 33 TDs and four INTs while leading the Chaparrals to the 5A Division I state title game against Southlake Carroll, which they lost 43-29. Also a standout basketball player, Foles averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds his senior season in 2006-07.College (Arizona): Started at Michigan State before transferring to Arizona. He left Arizona as the school's all-time passing leader in yards (10,011), touchdowns (67), attempts (1,369) and completions (933). As a senior in 2011, he threw for 4,334 yards and 28 TDs.Pro: Drafted in the third round of last April's draft by the Eagles. He earned the backup job out of training camp, and found himself in a starting role when Michael Vick was ruled out with a concussion. In his first NFL start Sunday against the Redskins, Foles went 21 of 46 for 204 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760; Twitter: @drewdavison