First off, thank you readers! I was blown away by your response to my article yesterday.
In the article I make the case for why the Detroit Lions should draft Aaron Curry with the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft as opposed to Matthew Stafford. The challenge for the Lions appears to be a very interesting story, starting with the Draft and, leading into the upcoming season.
For the most part, most of you (over 50 percent) agree that Curry ought to be the first pick this year; more than 20 percent think Jason Smith should be the guy and about 18 percent think Stafford should be the No. 1 pick. Great stuff!
For the Stafford supporters (“The Heckler” Ron Monk especially) the public has spoken—but do not worry, I have taken the time to compile a profile for your prospect. Here is everything you need to know about Matthew Stafford.
The case and story for Stafford goes some ways back to the factors that played a major role in shaping the sensational prospect—his family, his high school coach (Randy Allen) and, the Highland Park Scots.
Highland Park Scots: Its Successful Athletic Program and, the Detroit Lions Connection:
Long before Stafford was even born, the Scots had two football greats (Doak Walker and Bobby Lane) put the program on the map by leading the school to a State Championship in 1944.
Lane and Walker then went on to the National Football League where they were re-united in 1950 as members of the Detroit Lions football team. These decorated, and probably the best, players to ever come out of Texas proceeded to win three NFL Championships for the Lions in 1952, 1953 and finally in 1957.
The 1957 Championship is well known in Lions-country as the very last title Detroit has won in the NFL; a drought of 51 years and counting. The success of these two men created a legacy which resonates today in a very successful Scots program and elicits feelings of nostalgia from a Detroit Lions fan base that is desperate for another title.
The Coach, Randy Allen: His Successful Career and, the Highland Park Scots Connection:
Randy Allen played high school football at Abilene Cooper (a football powerhouse) in Texas and went to the 1967 State Title game. As an adult, and after a string of successful coaching jobs, Allen returned to Abilene Cooper again in 1991 (this time as a coach) and successfully led the team to another State Title game in 1996.
He lost once again but this time to a future NFL great, Drew Brees, who Quarter-backed the Austin Westlake high school to a 55-15 State Title.
(Those of you who know are aware that Brees later went on to play at Purdue – which runs a Pro-Style, spread offense; the same one Kyle Orton played in and a similar one to the one Stafford would play in at a later date.) In 1999, Allen took a job at Highland Park which had developed one of the most successful athletic programs in all of Texas.
The Stafford Family in Texas and the Georgia Connection
Matt Stafford was born in Tampa, Florida. While Matt was a kid, his family moved to Hinesville, GA where his father (John) completed a Masters program at the University of Georgia.
From there the family relocated to Dallas, Texas where Matt enrolled at Highland Park where he developed into the No. 1 NCAA QB prospect in 2006.
By 2006, Matt’s older sister (Page) had begun attending the University of Georgia and, despite being heavily recruited by the Texas Longhorns (Greg Davis), Stafford chose to sign with the Georgia Bulldogs (Mike Bobo).
Note: Despite the family ties, some claim that Matt chose Georgia because he did not want to compete with (Yes, you guessed it) Colt McCoy for the starting QB position at Texas.
Now that we have the background out of the way, let us delve into the performance resume for Matthew Stafford. While at Highland Park, Stafford went picked up the starting QB reign and did some pretty magical things which culminated in his leading the team to the State Championships in 2005.
The Scots won that game—in Texas which is one of the grass roots football state – by a ridiculous score of 59-0.
His final high school career statistics (as seen on Rivals.com) is detailed below:
3,180 Passing Yards and 35 TDs
55 Rushes for 141 yards;
129-258 Pass Att., 50 percent completion for 1,748 yards and 18 TDs
7 Rushing TDs;
207-321 Pass Att., 64.5 percent completion for 3,991 yards and 38 TDs and 6 picks
The rest is public history. Stafford went on to Georgia and appeared in three Bowl games in his three years with the Bulldogs.
Now here is the sexy part…the reason why the Lions have their pants in a bunch. The fact that Stafford went to Highland Park, the same school Bobby Lane attended, has to feel like providence.
For a Lions team that is coming off a 0-16 season, anything that would make the fans reminisce about the years of old and create some semblance of a buzz in Detroit might just be too sexy for management to pass-up. There is so much tradition with Stafford that can be packaged and sold to fans.
That is it. Now you know the deal, you know the whole story. Do you still think Stafford can actually help the Lions win ball games? Please do not answer that question; let me do it for you.
Your answer should be a big NO. Can Stafford bring the crowd, the excitement and, some optimism back to the Detroit Lions? YES.
The point is the Stafford-for-No.-1 pick choice depends on the Lions’ school of thought or point of view. If they want to create a buzz and fill the seats (i.e. be aggressive), then they should go with Stafford. If they want to take a conservative approach and go for the sure-thing, then they should stay away from Stafford.
(Check out the film and video on Stafford at Rivals.com. These are videos from his Scots days—he throws good Dig, Out, Post and Go routes. I would like to see him throw some Options, Slants, Slow-go, Hooks and Fades though)