UIL Top 100 Players
In celebration of 100 years of UIL Texas high school football, the UIL and Dave Campbell’s Texas Football have teamed up to honor the best, the brightest and the most unforgettable icons and legends in the sport’s illustrious history. With the help of some of the state’s foremost experts and historians, the UIL and DCTF will honor 100 of the greatest players to ever suit up in Texas.
Each week throughout the 2020 season, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football will announce 10 honorees on each list, an indelible honor to be known as one of the greatest in Texas high school football history. Fans will then have an opportunity to weigh in, voting for the player they think is the best of the best, to be named as a UIL 100 Fan’s Choice.
It all leads up to a celebration as big as Texas, celebrating the UIL’s 100 Players — and the Fan’s Choice Top 10 — at the UIL Texas high school football state championship games at AT&T Stadium in Arlington this December.
UIL 100 YEARS, 100 PLAYERS — WEEK 6
Pampa LB Zach Thomas
After leading 1A White Deer to a State Title, Thomas transferred to Pampa to test himself against the big dogs. The two-time all-state linebacker found out just how legit his skillset was as he rushed for 928 yards and eight touchdowns, and registered 158 tackles (59 solo), six sacks, five forced fumbles, three recoveries and eight deflected passes in his senior season.
Rockwall WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
The 2019 Class 6A Player of the Year ranks 3rd in career touchdown receptions with 63. 35 of them coming from his senior specifically highlighted by leading the Rockwall Yellowjackets to an Area round victory over Allen with 15 receptions for 285 yards adding five touchdown receptions and one on the ground.
Brownwood WR Lawrence Elkins
Elkins starred for Gordon Wood’s program from 1958-60 before going on to become one of Baylor’s all-time greats. He became Baylor’s first two-time consensus All-American before signing with the Houston Oilers after graduation.
Lufkin QB Reggie McNeal
Three-year starter led Lufkin to a 33-8 record with 5,935 passing yards and 64 TDs. He led the Panthers back from a 21-3 deficit to beat Austin Westlake, 38-24, in the Class 5A state championship in 2001; McNeal rushed for 159 yards and threw for 223 yards in the win. He was also a two-time all-state DB.
Palestine RB Adrian Peterson
A legend out of Palestine High School, Peterson ran for over 5,000 yards in two seasons as a starter at PHS and averaged nearly twelve yards per carry. He was the nation’s number one recruit out of high school and went on to be a three-time all-conference back at Oklahoma. Peterson is a 14-year NFL veteran where has over 14,000 career rushing yards and is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time first-team All-Pro.
Plainview OL Jerry Sisemore
Sisemore was a two-time all-district lineman on both sides of the ball at Plainview, but received his greatest acclaim with the Texas Longhorns and Philadelphia Eagles. He was the Longhorns’ first two-time consensus All-American and two-time Pro Bowl selection during a twelve-year NFL career.
Fairfield DL Tony Brackens
After a dominating career at Fairfield High, Brackens became a legend at the University of Texas where he was a first-team All-American in 1995. Brackens was a second round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars where he had an eight-year NFL career and was a 2000 Pro Bowl selection.
Tyler John Tyler DL David Warren
One of the most dominant defensive ends in state history, Warren was a three-time all-state football player who helped JT to the 1994 5A DII state championship. He recorded 31 sacks and blocked 19 kicked in high school.
Houston Worthing LB Mike Singletary
Before he was one of the most feared linebackers in football history at both Baylor and for the Chicago Bears, Singletary was a two-way all-state superstar for the Colts, making his presence felt both as a guard and a linebacker.
Richland Springs SB Tyler Ethridge
One of the most dominant players in six-man football history, Ethridge smashed both state and national records as a lethal passer and sensational runner, guiding Richland Springs to its first three state championships.
Honorees Named to the "UIL 100 Years, 100 Players" List
Robstown OL Gene Upshaw
A force at Robstown, it wasn’t until he got to Texas A&I that he grew to a powerful 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds and began to dominate. He went on to become an All-Pro guard for the Raiders and president of the NFL Players Association.
Killeen Ellison DL Tommie Harris
One of the most dominant defensive tackles in state history, Harris recorded 139 tackles, 21 for loss, 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles as a junior for a 3-7 team. He was named to the Texas Football Super Team and rated as the No. 1 defensive line prospect in the state before going on to star at Oklahoma, where he won the Lombardi Trophy.
San Antonio Jefferson LB Tommy Nobis
An all-state linebacker at San Antonio Jefferson, Nobis’ legend continued to the University of Texas where he was a two-time all-american linebacker and guard. As a senior, Nobis won the Outland Award and Maxwell Trophy. An NFL Rookie of the year in 1960, Nobis enjoyed a ten-year professional career with the Atlanta Falcons.
Stamford WR James Washington
A four-sport star at Stamford, Washington played on back to back state title teams in 2012 and 2013 and as a sophomore was a member of a state runner-up team. At Oklahoma State, Washington was a three-year starter and was the 2017 Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top WR. In 2018 he was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he’s currently playing in his third NFL season.
Big Sandy RB David Overstreet
One of the state’s all-time small-school legends, Overstreet set a Texas state record for Class B (now 1A) with 7,652 yards and 620 points while adding two state titles during his four-year tenure.
Hooks RB Billy Sims
The two-time all-state selection holds the Texas state record of 38 consecutive 100-yard rushing games, is tied for third in state history having 441 single season rushing carries in 1973 and ranks fourth all-time in having 1128 career rushing carries from 1972-1974.
Temple Dunbar DL Joe Greene
Known as "Mean Joe", Greene was immediately a force for the PVIL's Dunbar Panthers, but gained widespread acclaim during his time at North Texas State and eventually for the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he earned spots in both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
Port Arthur Lincoln RB Joe Washington
A dynamo for Port Arthur Lincoln, "Little Joe" Washington played for his father and helped lead the Bumble Bees to new heights, earning Parade All-Ameircan honors and quickly becoming one of the most sought-after stars in the state before landing at Oklahoma and, eventually, the Washington Redskins.
Richardson Pearce DL Ray Childress
An all-state pick for the Mustangs, Childress dominated opponents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area en route to an All-American career at Texas A&M and a lengthy NFL stint.
Amherst RB/LB DeWayne Miles
Perhaps six-man football's all-time greatest player, Miles led Amherst to back-to-back state championships and smashes records along the way, including single-season rushing touchdowns, 540 points and many, many others.
Beaumont Charlton-Pollard DL Bubba Smith
Playing under his father, legendary Beaumont coach Willie Ray Smith, Bubba came to be known as one of the most dynamic defensive ends to play high school and college ball before becoming the first pick of the 1967 NFL draft.
Highland Park RB Doak Walker
You know the trophy given to the best college football running back each year? Known as “the man who built the Cotton Bowl,” the five-sport athlete out of Highland Park lead the Scots to two consecutive state championship appearances in 1944 and 1945 for the first time in school history.
Sweetwater QB Sammy Baugh
Arguably football’s first prolific passer and holder of one of greatest nicknames in sports, “Slingin” Sammy Baugh moved to Sweetwater after playing for Temple as a junior. There he led the Mustangs to an 8-1 bi-district record as a senior in 1932 before going on to star at TCU before eventually the NFL where he became a charter member of the Hall of Fame.
Refugio QB Travis Quintanilla
It’s hard to find a passing record that Refugio’s Travis Quintanilla wasn’t at the top of or near the top of by the time he graduated in 2013 after leading the Bobcats to its 2011 state championship. Until 2017, he was the all-time passing touchdowns leader in Texas high school football.
Lubbock OL EJ Holub
A knee injury kept Holub out his senior season, but he still ended up becoming the first athlete to sign a SWC letter of intent with Texas Tech after the Raiders entered the conference. He went on to be a two-time All-American in Lubbock, where his No. 55 is retired.
Beaumont West Brook DL Jerry Ball
The two-way star earned first-team all-state honors as a defensive end and all-district at three different positions. He went on to play at SMU where he was a four-year starter, three-time first-team All-SWC selection and two-time finalist for the Lombardi and Outland Trophies.
Houston Westbury DB Dave Elmendorf
A two-sport star at Houston Westbury, Elemendorf was drafted not once but twice by MLB teams but elected to play both sports at Texas A&M. As an Aggie Elmendorf was a two-time all-SWC selection before going on to a nine-year NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams where he never missed a game in his career.
Grand Prairie Dalworth WR Charley Taylor
Taylor’s exploits in multiple sports were well known in Grand Prairie in the 1950’s as Dalworth games were must attend events in the PVIL. A two-time all-american at Arizona State, Taylor also played baseball for the Sun Devils. An eight time Pro Bowler for the Washington Redskins, Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
Daingerfield OL Willie Everett
A two-time all-state pick and two-time district MVP, the ferocious offensive lineman was a menacing part of three consecutive state championship squads for the Tigers.
Hawkins DB Stanley Richard
Before he was an NFL standout and an All-American at Texas, Richard earned all-state and All-East Texas honors at tiny Hawkins, where he quickly developed a reputation as one of the state’s most feared defensive backs.
Austin Westlake QB Drew Brees
Before he was the NFL’s all-time leading passer, Brees was carving up defenses all over Texas, capping his career by throwing for 3,529 yards and guiding Westlake to its first state championship his senior year.
Groveton RB Rodney Thomas
One of small school football’s most unstoppable forces, Thomas racked up 8,439 yards rushing — including 3,701 yards during his senior year — and 115 total touchdowns while leading the Indians to back-to-back 2A titles in 1989 and 1990.
Sugar Land RB Ken Hall
Nicknamed “The Sugar Land Express”, Hall set Texas high school football records during his legendary career from 1950-53 that still stand to this day, including career rushing yards (11,232) and single-season rushing yards (4,045).
Lake Travis QB Garrett Gilbert
The spark of the Lake Travis dynasty, Gilbert led the Cavs to their first state title in 2007 — and their second the next — leaving as the state’s all-time leading passer with 12,534 yards.
Sulphur Springs OL Forrest Gregg
Prior to his Hall of Fame NFL career, Gregg was a menace in the trenches for the Wildcats, dominating opponents and earning a reputation as the state’s most fearsome lineman.
Throckmorton DL Bob Lilly
Now known as a TCU and Dallas Cowboys legend, Lilly got his start at tiny Throckmorton, where he was an instant star, earning all-district honors as a junior before moving to Oregon for his senior season.
Southlake Carroll DB Dane Johnson
A two-way star for the back-to-back state champions in 1992 and 1993, Johnson was the 3A Defensive Player of the Year in 1993 and a two-time two-way all-state player as the Dragons’ bruising running back.
Austin Anderson LB Dick Lane
On the long list of standouts produced by the PVIL, “Night Train” Lane stands tall, earning a reputation as a ferocious defender while leading Anderson to the PVIL state championship in 1945.
Longview OL Trent Williams
The future Pro Football Hall of Fame tackle got his start in Longview, where he was a unanimous all-district pick up front for the Lobos and a menacing figure up front.
Lewisville DB Shannon Brazzell
The heartbeat of the Fighting Farmers’ defense during their 90s dominance, Brazzell was a four-year starter and fearsome defender before moving on to a standout career at TCU and in the NFL.
Sealy RB Eric Dickerson
The NFL Hall of Famer got his start as a star running back for Sealy High School where he capped off a stellar career running for nearly 300 yards in the 1978 state title game before being a pivotal player for SMU’s vaunted Pony Express of the 1980s.
Port Arthur Jefferson QB Todd Dodge
Before Todd Dodge was a state-title winning head coach with Southlake Carroll and Westlake, he was the first Texan high school quarterback to break the 3,000-yard mark his senior season. He finished his career at Jefferson with over 5,500 yards through the air before taking his talents to the University of Texas.
San Antonio Lee WR Richard Osborne
A dynamic pass-catcher, Osborne earned All-State and All-American honors in his senior season in 1971, leading San Antonio Lee to the 4A state championship game where he hauled in the game-winning touchdown catch.
Orange DL Ernie Ladd
The late-great superstar athlete known as “The Big Cat” proved himself as one of the most dynamic multi-sport athletes that Southeast Texas has ever seen. Standing at 6-9, the defensive tackle's size caught people's eye, but it was his dominating play that left a legacy.
Allen QB Kyler Murray
Few players in Texas high school football history can count the accolades of Murray, who posted an incredible 42-1 overall record — including 42-0 as a starter — and leading Allen to three straight 6A Division I state titles. Murray then went on to Oklahoma where won the 2018 Heisman Trophy and was the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
Fort Bend Willowridge RB Thurman Thomas
Thomas was the engine of the powerhouse teams at Fort Bend Willowridge in the early 80’s where in three years the Eagles posted a 39-3 record, including a state title his junior season. Willowridge rolled up 27 straight wins at one point during Thomas’ career. He went on to Oklahoma State where he was an All-American in 1987. Thomas spent twelve of his thirteen NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills, making four straight Super Bowl appearances and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1987.
Houston Worthing WR Cliff Branch
One of the most electrifying receivers of his generation, Branch dazzled the PVIL, earning all-district honors twice and honorable mention all-state during his senior season in 1966 before a sensational pro career that included four All-Pro selections and three Super Bowl rings.
Tyler John Tyler DB Aaron Ross
An all-state selection for CUJO, few patrolled an East Texas secondary quite like Ross, who went on to win the Thorpe Award and a national title at Texas before winning two Super Bowls with the New York Giants.
Robstown DL Marvin Upshaw
How can such a menacing figure come from such a small town? Upshaw imposed his will in the trenches during his career at Robstown in the 1960s before moving on to a standout professional career.
Duncanville DB Ray Crockett
Before he was a Baylor Hall of Famer or a two-time Super Bowl champion, Crockett was one of the Dallas-Fort Worth area's most dominating defenders.
Aledo RB Johnathan Gray
One of the greatest running backs in high school football history, Gray left Aledo as the all-time national record for TDs (205) and tied for first in 100-yard games in a season (16). Top RB recruit in the country.
Ennis QB Graham Harrell
As a senior, Harrell passed for 4,825 yards and a state-record 67 touchdowns to earn Gatorade Texas Player of the Year honors while leading Ennis to a state title. One of the original Air Rald legends.
San Antonio Lee QB Tommy Kramer
A two-time all-state selection, Tommy Kramer lead San Antonio Lee to a 4A state championship victory in 1971 as junior. The elite signal-caller ended his senior year being name the Texas High School Player of the Year as the state’s all-time passing leader.
Highland Park QB Matthew Stafford
A five-star quarterback, Matthew Stafford lead the Scots to claim the 4A Division ! state championship in 2005, throwing for more than 4,000 yards on the season and claiming the 2005 EA Sports National Player of the Year award.
Brady OL Scott Appleton
A two-time all-state defensive lineman, Scott Appleton helped lead Brady to three start title game appearances and was one of the best of his generation. By the time he left Texas, he was one of the nation’s most intimidating presences in the trenches.
West Orange-Stark DB Earl Thomas
Probably the best NFL safety of his generation and surefire future Hall of Famer, Earl Thomas made his reputation as a versatile star at West Orange Stark where he flourished at running back and receiver as well as defensive back.
Rockport-Fulton LB Dat Nguyen
A legend at Rockport-Fulton, Nguyen’s exploits are legendary on the Coastal Bend, where he helped the Pirates to their first district title in twenty years as a junior. Nguyen went on to Texas A&M where he was a three-time all-Big 12 performer along with Big 12 defensive player of the year in 1998. Nguyen went on to a seven-year NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys and was second-team All-Pro in 2003.
Houston Wheatley DB Lester Hayes
One of the originators of “bump and run coverage,” Hayes spent his prep days playing in Houston ISD for Wheatley, before moving to the secondary at Texas A&M where he played for Emory Bellard, where he became an All-American safety. He moved to cornerback when drafted by the Oakland Raiders where he became a five-time pro-bowler and in 1980 he recorded an incredible thirteen interceptions in a single season.
Plano DL Billy Ray Smith
One of the most feared defensive linemen of the 1970s, Smith anchored the defensive front for the 1977 state champion Plano Wildcats and got even better as his high school career wore on, earning all-state and All-America honors. He followed his outstanding high school career with a Hall of Fame stint at Arkansas and a ten-year run in the NFL.
Houston Yates LB Melvin Foster
Nicknamed "Ferocious", Foster was the star of the legendary Yates Lions defenses of the mid-1980s, earning Parade All-America honors in 1985 as he racked up 180 tackles, 8 interceptions, 5 sacks and four blocked punts.