Home High School NFL Draft superlatives: Another big year for the Sunshine State

NFL Draft superlatives: Another big year for the Sunshine State

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Mac Jones, QB, Alabama – Jones, who went No. 15 overall to the New England Patriots, joined Lamar Jackson, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater as Sunshine State-based quarterbacks that heard their name called in the first round at some point over the past decade. The one-year starter for the Crimson Tide was a three-star recruit in the class of 2017 that was at one time committed to Kentucky. He took a majority of his snaps under center as a senior and led Jacksonville Bolles to an appearance in the 4A state title game after passing for 1,532 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama – Some draft pundits considered it a reach when the Las Vegas Raiders took Leatherwood with the No. 17 overall pick, but the organization believes that the athletic big man can start Day 1 at right tackle for them. Leatherwood was a highly touted five-star recruit coming out of Pensacola Booker T. Washington that could have played anywhere in the country as the best of the best were all interested. He ended up starting 41 consecutive games for the Crimson Tide to close out his collegiate career and won the Outland Trophy in 2020. 

Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern – A native of Chicago, Newsome enrolled at IMG Acadmey the spring before his senior season where he ended up playing alongside a number of blue-chip recruits. The three-star prospect was graded out as a safety, but got plenty of reps at cornerback. One of the toughest assignments he drew that season was when he went up against Georgia star wide receiver George Pickens, who was a junior at the time. Newsome stuck right by Pickens, but still gave up some big catches in a win on the road. The Cleveland Browns drafted Newsome at No. 26 overall.

Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami – Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season, but was still able to parlay a monster redshirt freshmen campaign into a spot inside the first round as he was selected No. 30 overall by the Buffalo Bills. A former three-star recruit, Rousseau played primarily safety and wide receiver at Hialeah Champagnat Catholic before bulking up and transitioning to defensive end once he arrived in Coral Gables. The 6-foot-7 pass rusher, who for the most part was lightly recruited, is a fresh reminder that at the end of the day you can’t coach up length, and Rousseau has plenty of it. 

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