As is tradition, Thanksgiving Day has a packed NFL slate. A three-game schedule is the perfect TV fodder to help digest your turkey.
Long before today’s players were under the bright lights, though, they were high school football standouts. At least nine of the players suiting up today are former members of the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Football First-Team.
For the largest collection of ALL-USA alums, look no further than the Minnesota Vikings, who face the Detroit Lions to kick off festivities. Minnesota has no less than five active players who were named to the nation’s ultimate prep football team – kicker Kai Forbath (2005, Notre Dame – Sherman Oaks, Calif.), wide receiver Michael Floyd (2007, Cretin-Derham Hall – St. Paul, Minn.), tight end Kyle Rudolph (2007, Elder – Cincinnati, Ohio), wide receiver Stefon Diggs (2011, Good Counsel – Olney, Md.) and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (2012, Crete-Monee – Crete, Ill.). Additionally, Minnesota has two former First-Teamers who are out for this season – defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (2009, Washington – Philadelphia, Pa.) and rookie running back Dalvin Cook (2013, Miami Central).
Meanwhile, the lone member of the Lions who was on the ALL-USA First Team is injured defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who made the team all the way back in 2001 out of Highland (Salt Lake City).
The second game of the day features three former ALL-USA First Team members, with two on the Dallas Cowboys and one on the Los Angeles Chargers. For the Cowboys, offensive tackle La’el Collins made the team in 2010 out of Redemptorist (Baton Rouge, La.) and linebacker Jaylon Smith was a star for Bishop Luers (Fort Wayne, Ind.) in 2012.
As for the Chargers, second-year tight end Hunter Henry made the team for Polaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) in 2012.
Lastly, the final game of the night between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins features one former ALL-USA First Teamer – hard-hitting safety Landon Collins. Before heading to Alabama and then the Giants, Collins shined in 2011 for Dutchtown (Geismar, La.).
Enjoy the games, knowing today’s high school stars could someday be showcasing their skills on NFL gridirons.