HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) – You might be surprised to discover more than one player you watched line up under Friday night’s lights found his way to playing on the bigger stage of the National Football League on Sunday.

Would you be surprised to know that Greensboro trails only Charlotte for having the most high school players ever to play in the NFL? That would be 38, behind CLT’s 57 but ahead of Raleigh’s 35.

Former Baltimore Ravens safety Marcus Gilchrist is one of 11 graduates of Andrews High School in High Point to have played in the NFL, tying for the most from any high school in North Carolina. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Mac McCain (37) of Dudley High School and NC A&T runs onto the field before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphin. (AP Photo/Doug Murray)

Would you be surprised to know that T.W. Andrews High School in High Point is tied with E.E. Smith in Fayetteville for having had more players in the NFL than any other high school in North Carolina? That would be 11 apiece.

And that Dudley in Greensboro is just behind those in a 5-way tie with nine?

Those are among the findings of BeenVerified, which calls itself a “people search company” and says it has analyzed nearly 30,000 NFL players since 1920. That includes identifying those players’ hometowns and their high schools.

BeenVerified says that North Carolina ranks seventh for having the most players from its hometowns on the 2022 NFL rosters, 95 players, or about 11.17 per 100,000 population. For the record, our state has had 645 natives all-time play in the NFL.

To add to the conversation, Pro Football Reference breaks down those numbers by name and school. So you can see who was counted.

Andrews’ list of 11 ranges from former North Carolina State quarterback/punter Johnny Evans, who played for Cleveland in 1978-80, to Marcus Gilchrist, a defensive back from Clemson who played for six teams from 2011 to 2020.

Dudley’s list includes two active players, one of seven schools in NC who can claim that. No school has more. They are former Tennessee cornerback Emmanuel Moseley of the San Francisco 49ers and former NC A&T defensive back Mac McCain of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Page High School in Greensboro has had seven players, and its arch-rival, Grimsley HS in Greensboro (with one active – defensive tackle D.J. Reader of the Cincinnati Bengals) is tied with Lexington High School and Ben L. Smith in Greensboro with six each.

Numerous high schools from the Piedmont Triad dot the list of those with four or fewer.

How it was done

BeenVerified says its research used NFL rosters that were official as of July 20, so some team moves could have occurred before final rosters were set. Each NFL team carries a maximum of 53 players.

To be included under a specific high school, a player had to play at least one regular-season game at the school. If a player attended more than one high school, the graduation school was used. Birthplaces were current at the time of birth.

Using that info, the top high schools in all of North Carolina were:

  • T.W. Andrews (High Point), 11 players.
  • E.E. Smith (Fayetteville), 11 players.
  • Richmond County High School, 9 players.
  • J.H. Rose (Greenville), 9 players.
  • Dudley (Greensboro), 9 players.
  • Asheville High School, 9 players.

National superlatives

The site also found unsurprisingly that most pro football players from Texas, California and Florida, but if you rate them per 100,000 population, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and (surprisingly) the District of Columbia have more.

Chicago is the city that has produced the most players overall. LA comes up first for having the most quarterbacks and receivers.

No single high school has produced more NFL players than the athletic factory at Fort Union Military Academy in Virginia.

Historically, the hometown that has produced the most players is the largest city in the Midwest: Chicago. Unless they are quarterbacks or wide receivers, then Los Angeles reigns supreme. Meanwhile, no high school has produced more NFL players than Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia.