Texas high school football has produced more NFL talent than any other state. Here are the quarterbacks and running backs that are in the Hall of Fame from Texas.
Bobby Layne: Highland Park High School / Dallas, Texas
The former Texas Longhorn, Bobby Layne played in the NFL for 14 years. He played one year with the Chicago Bears in 1948 then the New York Bulldogs in 1949. He then most notably played for the Detroit Lions from 1950-58 in which he won 3 NFL Championships. He finished his career playing 4 years with the Pittsburgh Stealers. He was First-Team All-Pro 3 times and made 6 Pro Bowls. He was also a kicker, leading the league in field goal accuracy in 1956 and 1957.
Sammy Baugh: Sweetwater High School / Sweetwater, Texas
Baugh was perhaps the first great passing QB in pro football. He was the Washington Redskins quarterback from 1937-52. He also played defensive back and was a punter. As a Punter, he has the all-time single-season yards per punt average at 51.4 yards, perhaps the longest standing NFL record. He led the league in punting yards 5 times, and on defense, he led the NFL in interceptions with 11 in 1943. As a QB, he has the all-time record for most passer rating titles with 6. He was first-team All-Pro 6 times and won 2 NFL Championships. Also worth noting, in college, at TCU, Baugh was the start of the Football, Basketball and Baseball team. He got his nickname, “Slingin’ Sammy,” while playing baseball, not football.
Y.A. Tittle: Marshall High School / Marshall, Texas
Yelberton Abraham Tittle Jr., known as “Y.A.” held every passing record in the books when he retired in 1964. He was a 7-time Pro-Bowler, 4-time all-pro first-team, one-time AP Player of the Year, and one-tine NFL Player of the year (the last two are an equivalent of him being a 2-time NFL MVP). He is tied for the record for most passing touchdowns in one game with 7. He led the NY Giants to three straight NFL Championships games but was never able to win one. He led several of the most prolific offensive teams in NFL history. Little known fact, he coined the phrase, “alley-oop,” a play in which the QB throws the ball to a player who jumps up in the air to catch it. The phrase later became more popular in basketball.
Doak Walker: Highland Park High School / University Park, Texas
Walker played high school ball at Highland Park with Bobby Layne. Together they made it to the state championship. Walker was a 5 sport star in high school. After some time in the Marines, he went on to play college ball. He then went on to SMU where he had a stellar career and won the 1948 Heisman Trophy. He is considered by some as the best college running back ever to play.
Walker was drafted third in the 1949 NFL Draft by the Boston Yanks but was traded to the Detroit Lions. He was reunited with fellow Texan Bobby Layne. He put up over 1,200 total yards as a rookie and was First-Team All-Pro. He was all-pro in his second season too. In his third and fourth seasons, he helped lead Detroit to back-to-back NFL Championships. Walker played only 5 seasons in the NFL because he had multiple business interests that paid significantly more. He made the pro-bowl in all 5 seasons and was first-team all-pro 4 times. When he retired, he was third all-time in points scored, despite only playing 5 years.
Earl Campbell: John Tyler High School / Tyler, Texas
Nicknamed “the Tyler rose,” Campbell played high school football for John Tyler. He led them to the 4A Texas State Championship, which was then the largest classification in Texas. He was named, “Mr. Football USA,” making him the best high school player in the nation. He had a legendary career for the Texas Longhorns in which he won the 1977 Heisman Trophy.
Campbell was drafted #1 overall in the 1978 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. He was given a rookie record-breaking (at the time) 6-year 1.4 million dollar contract. He led the NFL in rushing as a rookie and won the NFL MVP. He won the AP NFL Player of the Year in his second season, a year in which he rushed for over 100 yards 11 times. His best season came in 1980 in which he rushed for 1,934 yards in 15 games. Injuries limited Campbell to playing 10 or more games just 6 times in his career, but he rushed for over 1,000 yards in 5 of them. He was a 5 time Pro Bowl selection and 3-time First-Team All-Pro. He led the league in rushing 3 times and was AP Offensive Player of the Year 3 times.
Eric Dickerson: Sealy High School / Sealy, Texas
Dickerson played at Sealy. He led them to a 15-0 record and the State Championship in 1978. In the title game, he ran for 296 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also won state titles in the 100 and 200 yards in track. He played college football at Southern Methodist University in which he broke all of Earl Campbells conference rushing records and led the “Pony Express,” with Craig James.
Dickerson was selected second overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He rushed for 1,808 yards as a rookie, breaking all rookie records. He was All-Pro, a Pro Bowler, Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year. He rushed for over 2,000 yards in his second season. He set the all-time single-season rushing record with 2,105 yards (though he played 2 more games than O.J. Simpson) and ran for over 100 yards 12 times. He ran for over 1,200 yards his first 7 seasons. He was a 5 time First-Team All-Pro and made 6 Pro Bowls. He led the NFL in rushing 4 times. He reached 10,000 rushing yards the fastest in NFL history, 91 games. It took Emmit Smith 106 games, Barry Sanders 103 games and Jim Brown 98 games.
Thurman Thomas: Willowridge High School / Houston, Texas
Thurman Thomas played high school football at Willowridge and led them to a state championship. He then went to Oklahoma State in which he played with Barry Sanders his last two seasons. He got plenty of carries and led the Big 8 in rushing twice. After an injury his junior season, he started his Senior year and carried the ball 897 times for 1,613 yards.
Thurman Thomas had a second knee injury which caused him to slip to the second round of the NFL Draft in which he was selected by the Buffalo Bills. Though often overshadowed by Barry Sanders and Emmit Smith, Thomas had an outstanding career. He helped lead the Bills to the Super Bowl 4 times. He was the 1991 NFL MVP. He is the only running back in NFL history to lead the league in all-purpose yards four consecutive seasons. He made 5 All-Pro teams and 5 Pro Bowls.
LaDainian Tomlinson: University High School / Waco Texas
LaDainian Tomlinson, aka “LT” played high school football at University High School. In his senior season, he rushed for 2,554 yards and 39 touchdowns. He then went on to start at TCU. In 1999 at TCU against UTEP, he ran for 406 yards.
Tomlinson was drafted fifth in the 2001 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. In each of his first 7 seasons, he ran for over 1,200 yards and had over 50 receptions. In 2003, he became the first player ever to have over 100 receptions and rush for over 1,000 yards. He is the fastest ever player to reach 100 touchdowns, passing Jim Brown. He was the 2006 NFL MVP, made 5 Pro Bowl teams, and 6 All-Pro teams. He is 7th all-time in rushing yards and second in rushing touchdowns.