Decade's best: Our picks for top players on offense
Our selections started with this idea: we should pick the players who had the best high school football careers.
That meant we were not searching for the player with area roots who had the best NFL career. It was simply, "Who did the most in his time playing high school ball here?"
What’s the common link for all our choices? They combined brilliant individual statistics with an ability to lead their team to victories. After all, winning is the object of the game. A championship is the goal for every team. Stats lose a lot of their value if your team doesn’t win.
On offense, we narrowed it down to five players who we thought stood out the most: (they are listed in chronological order):
Vernon Davis (Dunbar, Class of 2003) – It’s hard to imagine a tight end controlling the outcome of a game, but Davis was such an imposing force in high school that he was able to do that. If you think his unique combination of size, strength and speed sets him apart in the NFL, imagine what it did for him in high school. The two-time All-Met caught 96 passes for 2,012 yards and 21 touchdowns while leading the Crimson Tide to two DCIAA titles.
Readers vote*: No. 2 among offensive players
Eddie Royal (Westfield, Class of 2004) – The 2003 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year transferred from Paul VI before his junior year and led the Bulldogs to a 24-1 mark over the next two seasons, including the school’s first state title, the 2003 Virginia AAA Division 6 crown. Along the way, he caught 93 passes for 1,731 yards and scored 35 touchdowns.
Readers vote: No. 3 among offensive players
Evan Royster (Westfield, Class of 2006) – The 2005 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year teamed with Royal and Glennon as a sophomore to lead the Bulldogs to a state title. After they left, Royster took over, rushing for at least 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns in each of the next two seasons. He finished his career with nearly 6,400 yards and 90 touchdowns.
Readers vote: No. 7 among offensive players
Arrelious Benn (Dunbar, Class of 2007) – Much like Davis was unlike any tight end the high school community had seen, Benn was new breed of wide receiver, packing strength and speed into a 6-foot-2 frame that was a good three inches taller than most high school wideouts. A two-time All-Met, Benn caught 134 passes for 2,767 yards and scored 46 touchdowns in his career, which included three DCIAA championships.
Readers vote: No. 6 among offensive players
Joe Haden (Friendly, Class of 2007) – The 2006 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year did everything you could ask of a high school quarterback – he put up staggering statistics (he ended his career as Maryland’s leader in passing yards and tied for the lead in touchdowns), while also directing Friendly to an undefeated season and a state title.
Readers vote: No. 4 among offensive players
Want more? Here's our entire all-decade team on offense. And coming soon, our top teams of the decade.
* -- Readers' totals as of noon on Dec. 16.
December 16, 2009; 1:13 PM ET
Categories: Decade's Best , Football
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