v History of High School Kansans in the NFL Draft - Sports in Kansas

History of High School Kansans in the NFL Draft

Bobby Douglass (El Dorado), Mike Bell (Bishop Carroll) & Mark Simoneau (Smith Center). credits below
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Apr 28, 2016

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We decided to look at some of the Kansans drafted in the past, although not a complete list of all Kansans drafted, we look at some of the players drafted and undrafted from our state. Players had to play high school football in the state of Kansas (Example: Will Shields, Jim Everett, Gale Sayers born in Kansas but didn’t play HS in Kansas)

Small town to the NFL

Riley County, which is a 3A school with a current enrollment of 218, has had two 2nd round draft picks: Jordy Nelson (2008), Jon McGraw (2002). McGraw is currently retired after spending 10 years in the NFL, while Nelson is one of the top receivers in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers.

Smith Center's population is less than some 6A KS enrollments (1,665). 4 players born or who played high school there Drafted in NFL: Nolan Cromwell, Steve Tasker, Mark Simoneau, Braden Wilson. Although Cromwell played at Ransom and Tasker at Leoti-Wichita Co. in HS.

Success at Hutch leads to NFL picks

Hutchinson High School, who won seven straight Kansas football titles from 2003-2009, sent two players to the NFL Draft last season including Ben Heeney (Class of 2011) and Geneo Grissom (Class of 2010). Heeney starred at Kansas, while Grissom at Oklahoma. Heeney was a fifth rounder last season and had 38 tackles (2.5 sacks) as a rookie for the Raiders. Grissom was a third rounder last year and had one sack in his rookie season with the Patriots.

Notables Kansas High School Players who went Drafted/Undrafted to NFL

Twins Mike and Mark Bell were both all-state selections for Bishop Carroll back in 1974 before going on to star at Colorado State. Mike, who was the second overall pick for the Chiefs as a defensive end in 1979, spent 1979-1991 with the Chiefs, racking up 40 sacks in 100 starts. Mark, was a fourth round pick as a tight end/defensive end, to the Seahawks in 1979. He spent six seasons in the NFL. Marks son, Blake, went on to star at Oklahoma as a quarterback and tight end from 2011-2014 and is now a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

Terry Beeson of Coffeyville was a second round pick in 1977 by the Seattle Seahawks. Beeson who played collegiately at Kansas, played five seasons in the NFL. He still holds the single season record for most tackles in a season at Seattle with 153. He was inducted in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Monty Beisel of Victoria and later Douglass went on to be an All Big 12 performer at Kansas State. Beisel was a freak athlete in high school as he went over 60 feet in the shot put to win a 3A title and made the finals in the 100 meter dash. He went on to be drafted by the Chiefs in 2001 in the fourth round and spent 10 seasons in the NFL with the Chiefs, Patriots, and Cardinals where he played in a Super Bowl. Beisel had 236 career tackles.

Arthur and Bryce Brown of Wichita East, a year apart in school, went on to both become NFL Draft Picks. Bryce, who signed with Tennessee in 2009 and later transferred to Kansas State, was a seventh round pick at running back by the Eagles in 2012. Arthur, who signed with Miami in 2008 out of high school and later became the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year at Kansas State, was a second round pick by the Ravens in 2013 as a linebacker.

Dale Burnett of Dodge City went on to play nine years for the New York Giants in the NFL after being an all-conference performer at Emporia State University, then Kansas State Teachers College. A running back and defensive back, Burnett won two NFL championships with the Giants.

Don Calhoun, an all-state selection out of Wichita North went on to star at Kansas State before being picked in the 10th round by Buffalo in the 1974 NFL Draft. Calhoun spent 1974-1985 in the NFL/USFL with the Bills, Patriots, Eagles and New Jersey Generals.

Paul Coffman of tiny Chase, now with a population of 477, went on to star at Kansas State University after high school. Although undrafted out of KSU, he went on to play 11 years in the NFL and was a three time Pro Bowl selection at tight end. Coffman racked up 42 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards for the Packers, Chiefs and Vikings. His oldest son, Chase, was an All-American tight end at Mizzou, as his second oldest, Carson, was a starting quarterback at Kansas State.

Nolan Cromwell, known as the “Ransom Rambler”, is one of the best multi-sport athletes in Kansas history. Born in Smith Center but an alum of tiny Ransom, he was known as a high school track and field star. He went on to star in football and track and field at Kansas. Ransom was an All American in track for the Jayhawks and an All-Big 8 pick as quarterback. He started at defensive back and quarterback while at KU before enjoying an All-Pro career as a defensive back for the Los Angeles Rams from 1977-1987. Cromwell has had several coaching stints since, both in the NFL and college.

Lynn Dickey of Osawatomie was a third round pick out of Kansas State by the Houston Oilers in 1971. Dickey spent 13 years in the NFL with the Oilers and Packers. He was an All-Pro for the Packers in 1983. Dickey had 23,322 passing yards and 141 touchdowns in the NFL.

Bobby Douglass of El Dorado was an All-American quarterback at Kansas in 1968 and would later go on to be selected in the second round by the Chicago Bears in 1969. Douglass spent 1969-1978 in the NFL with the Bears, Chargers, Saints and Packers. He had 6,493 career passing yards and 2,654 rushing yards. His 968 yards rushing with the Bears in 1972 were then second most all-time for a single season by a quarterback.

Mondriel Fulcher was a multiple sport all-state athlete at Coffeyville Field Kindley, graduating in 1995, before going on to star as a tight end/hback at the University of Miami. Fulcher, who stood 6-foot-5 and was a former high school quarterback, was a seventh round pick at tight end in 2000 and spent three years in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders.

Scott Fulhage of Beloit, was undrafted out of Kansas State after being a four year starter at punter, but spend 1987-1992 in the NFL. He spent the majority of his career with the Atlanta falcons where he played from 1989-1992. He averaged 41 yards per punt in 88 career NFL games.

Kendall Gammon of Rose Hill would go on to become an All-American offensive lineman at Pittsburg State where he helped lead them to the national title in 1991. He also doubled as the Gorillas long snapper and would get drafted by the Steelers in the 11th round of 1992. Gammon, who was a pro bowl snapper, spent 1992-2006 in the NFL with three different teams (Steelers, Saints, Chiefs). He retired from the Chiefs in 2006 and currently serves as pre-game host and sideline reporter for the Chiefs. His son Blaise, the 5A basketball player of the year from Sports in Kansas in 2015 out of Blue Valley West, is now a freshman tight end at Kansas State.

Derrel Gofourth of Parsons went on to star at Oklahoma State and was drafted in the seventh round of the 1977 NFL Draft. He spent eight seasons in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers.

Steve Grogan of Ottawa was fifth round pick out of Kansas State in 1975. Grogan spent 16 seasons in the NFL as a quarterback where he had 26,886 passing yards and 217 touchdowns. He also rushed for 2,176 yards and 35 more touchdowns. Grogan played for the Patriots his entire NFL career, where he was on the Super Bowl Runner-Up team in 1985 that lost to the famous 1985 Chicago Bears.

Mark Haynes of Harmon was a first round pick out of Colorado in the 1980 NFL Draft. He spent 1980-1989 in the NFL with the Giants and Broncos. Haynes made three pro bowls with the Giants and had 17 career interceptions as a defensive back.

John Hadl of Lawrence was a first round pick at quarterback out of Kansas in 1962. He spent 1962-1977. Hadl was twiced named to the pro bowl in the NFL and a 4x AFL All-Star. He spent time with the Chargers, Rams, Packers and Oilers. Hadl had 33,503 yards as a quarterback in the NFL.

Shaun Hill of Parsons was more known as a high school basketball player than he was in football, but little did everyone know that he would go on to be one of the better quarterbacks in Kansas history. He went on to play quarterback at Hutchinson Community College after beating out several for the starting job and earned a scholarship after two years to Maryland. Shaun helped lead Maryland to the Orange Bowl in 2001 and has been in the NFL, primarily as a backup and part-time starter, since 2002. Hill has 8,053 passing yards and 49 passing touchdowns in the NFL. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t even get a Division II offer at quarterback out of high school.

Derrick Jensen of Osawatomie helped lead the Trojans to their only state title back in 1973 and would go on to play at UT-Arlington, where he was the Southland Conference player of the year at running back. He was later drafted by the Raiders as a tight end/running back in the third round of the 1978 draft where he played until 1986. He had over 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in the NFL. He won two Super Bowls with the Raiders, served as special teams captain, and blocked a punt in a Super Bowl game.

Ryan Lilja of SM Northwest went on to play at Coffeyville CC out of high school before earning a scholarship at Kansas State. Lilja went undrafted in 2004 but went on the start 104 games in the NFL (Colts and Chiefs) from 2004-2012. He won a Super Bowl with Indianapolis in 2006.

Steve Little of Shawnee Mission South was an all-state quarterback in high school before going on to play at Arkansas where he was an All-American placekicker. Little’s 67 yard field goal was an NCAA record at the time in 1977. He was a rare first round draft pick at kicker and punter, being picked 15th overall in the 1978 draft by the Cardinals, where he spent three seasons. He was released by the Cardinals and just hours after was involved in a car accident that left him a quadriplegic. Little died at the age of 43 in 1999 after spending years in a hospice.

Brothers Shad and Kerry Meier of Pittsburg High School were both drafted into the NFL after playing college football in the state of Kansas. Shad (Kansas State), a tight end, was drafted in the third round in 2001 and spent five seasons in the NFL with the Titans and Saints, Kerry, an all-state high school quarterback that transitioned to a WR at KU because of Todd Reesing’s emergence as a star QB, was drafted as a fifth rounder by Atlanta in 2010. Brothers Dylan (Kansas State), who passed away in a hiking accident in 2010, and Adam (Pittsburg State), both played collegiately. All four brothers were all-state selections and Kansas Shrine Bowl selections at Pittsburg High School.

Les Miller of Ark City, who stood 6-foot-7 and weighed 290 pounds, was an all-state selection in high school and would go on to star at Fort Hays State. Miller, who went undrafted, played 11 seasons in the NFL where he logged 20 sacks over 152 games.

Brian Moorman of Sedgwick was a known high school state champion in the hurdles in track and field and would go on to become an NCAA Champion in track at Pittsburg State. That’s where Moorman would also become an All-American punter. Although he went undrafted, the former Gorilla would go on to be an All-Pro punter and spent 1999-2013 in the NFL. He spent the majority of his career with the Buffalo Bills (2001-2012, 2013). Moorman was named to the 2000s All-Decade Team. He retired from the Bills in 2013.

Jordy Nelson of Riley County walked on to Kansas State in the fall of 2003 as a defensive back that played quarterback in high school, before becoming an All American WR. Just how good of an athlete was Jordy? He won four state titles his senior year in track and field in the 100, 200, 400 and long jump. Nelson also was a first team all-state all-classes basketball player and football may have been his fourth best sport at 3A Riley County. Not much more can be said about Jordy, who has went on to become one of the best receivers in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers. Not many walk-ons go on to win a Super Bowl and catch a touchdown in biggest game on the planet, but Nelson did. Look for him and Aaron Rodgers to have many more touchdowns together.

Terence Newman of Salina Central went on to become a first team All American at Kansas State where he won the Jim Thorpe award as the nation’s top defensive back in 2002. He was drafted fifth overall by the Dallas Cowboys in 2003 and has twice been named to the Pro Bowl. He has played for the Cowboys, Bengals and Vikings over his playing career from 2003-present. Newman was also a track and field star for the Mustangs at Salina Central and won a Big 12 title in the 100 meters in track and field. Newman is one of three KSU players from Kansas to earn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, along with Arthur Brown (2012) and Mark Simoneau (1999). He is also the only first rounder, after the 2015 NFL Draft, under Snyder at Kansas State from Kansas.

Rodney Peete may have only spent his senior year at Shawnee Mission South but we will definitely claim him as a high school Kansan. Peete went on to play at USC and was later drafted by the Lions in the sixth round of the 1989 NFL Draft. Peete spent 1989-2004 in the NFL with the Lions, Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins, Raiders and Panthers.

Joseph Randle of Wichita Southeast went on to become a two-time All Big 12 pick at Oklahoma State in 2011 and 2012. Randle became a fifth round pick in 2013 as a running back for the Dallas Cowboys. Randle played two full seasons for the Cowboys and was released during his third season after being named the starting running back due to legal trouble.

Shane Ray of Miege was a first team All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year for Mizzou in 2014 after an all-state playing career in high school. Ray, who was a first rounder in 2015, went on to win a Super Bowl in his first season with the Denver Broncos.

John Riggins of Centralia was a first round pick in 1971 out of the University of Kansas. Riggins went on to win a Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP with the Redskins and racked up over 11,000 career rushing yards in the NFL and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame back in 1992. Riggins was also a track and field stud in high school as he won two state titles in the sprints.

Barry Sanders was a first round pick (third overall) in the 1989 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State. Sanders, who won the Heisman at Okie State, didn’t start at running back until the fourth game of his senior year at Wichita North. Sanders, who is regarded as one of if not the best running backs ever, is the third all-time leading rusher in NFL history despite only playing from 1989-1998.

Ryan Schraeder of Maize didn't play high school football and this is where it gets even crazier. After a few years out of organized sports and hitting a growth spurt after high school he enrolled to play football at Butler Community College. Two years later he was an All-American and went on to be an All-American at Valdosta State. Schraeder, now 6-foot-7 and 310 pounds, is a starting offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being undrafted in 2013.

Mark Simoneau of Smith Center was a third round pick by Atlanta in the 2000 NFL Draft. The Smith Center product and Kansas State All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year spent 2000-2010 in the NFL where he racked up 370 career tackles with the Falcons, Eagles, Saints and Chiefs. Simoneau was a multiple sport star in high school and once had 3A record in the shot put at over 60 feet and finished second in the state in the 100 meters. The College Football Hall of Famer is now the owner of Simoneau Sports Performance in Overland Park and will coach the linebackers at St. Thomas Aquinas High School this fall.

Gary Spani of Manhattan went on to star at Kansas State University before being picked as a third round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1976. He holds the Kansas City Chiefs career tackle record at 999 and is in the Chiefs Hall of Fame. Spani is also in the college football hall of fame.

Darren Sproles of Olathe North is regarded as maybe the best ever football player to come out of the Kansas City metro. Sproles, who rushed for over 2,400 yards (49 TD) in 2000 in leading the Eagles to the 6A state title, went on to be an All-American at Kansas State before being drafted by the Chargers in the fourth round of 2005. Sproles, who stands only 5-foot-6, has played with three NFL teams including the Chargers, Eagles and now the Saints, where he has made the last two pro bowls. He has an NFL record for most all-purpose yards in a season with 2,696 in 2011.

Darrell Stuckey of KC Washington went on to star at Kansas where he helped the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl victory in 2007. Stuckey was a fourth round pick in 2010 and made the Pro Bowl for the Chargers in 2014.

Veryl Switzer of Nicodemus went on to star at Kansas State where he became a first round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1954. Switzer played two seasons with the Pakcers before serving two years in the US Air Force as a first lieutenant. He came back to play CFL football in 1958 where he played until 1960. He is a member of the K-State Hall of Fame, KSHSAA Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Jerame Tuman of Liberal went on to play college football at Michigan where he won a national championship in 1997. The 6-foot-4 and 250 pound tight end was a fifth round pick by the Steeler in 1999. He spent 1999-2007 with the Steelers and finished as an Arizona Cardinal in 2008. Tuman won a Super Bowl with Pittsburgh in 2005 as they defeated the Seahawks 21-10. He was also an outstanding jumper, sprinter and thrower in track and field for the Redskins, then a 90s powerhouse in track and field in Kansas.

Steve Tasker, born in Smith Center but an alum of Leoti-Wichita County HS, was a seven time pro bowl selection for the Bufalo Bills. Tasker, a special teams expert that stood 5-foot-9 and weighed 185 pounds, was drafted in the ninth round out of Northwestern in 1985. Tasker began his career at Dodge City Community College. He is regarded by many to be one of the best special teams players of all-time and several have pushed for him to have a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Rashad Washington of Wichita Southeast was a multiple sport all-state selection as a basketball and football player in high school. He went on to be an All Big 12 performer at Kansas State, with 195 tackles in his career, before being drafted by the Jets in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons in the NFL with the Jets. Washington also played one season of basketball at Kansas State.

Cody Whitehair of Abliene (Class of 2011) is expected to be the first Kansas State player from Kansas drafted in the first round in 2016 under Bill Snyder since 2003, when Terence Newman of Salina Central was taken in the first round. Whitehair is rated as high as the #1 offensive guard in this years NFL Draft.

Michael Wilhoite of Highland Park in Topeka went on to play linebacker at Washburn and was undrafted after his college career. He joined the Omaha Nighthawks in 2011 before joining the practice squad with the 49ers. Wilhoite would make the team for San Francisco and has been in the NFL since where he has registered 191 tackles.

Troy Wilson of Shawnee Heights, a 6-foot-4 255 pound defensive end, went on to be an All-American at Pittsburg State after being a decorated football player and thrower for the T-Birds in the late 80s. Wilson won a national title at Pittsburg State in 1991 and was drafted in the seventh round by the 49ers in 1994. Wilson, who won a college national title, would also win a Super Bowl w/ 49ers and an Arena Bowl with Tampa Bay Storm.

Kamerion Wimbley of Wichita Northwest spent 2006-2014 in the NFL after being drafted in the first round out of Florida State in 2006. Wimbley who retired after 2014 had 53.5 sacks and 445 tackles in his playing career with the Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans.

Other Notable:

David Arkin (Kapaun/Missouri State) – Cowboys, Dolphins (2011-2013)

Pete Bausch (Garden Plain/ Wichita Cathedral/Kansas)

Blake Bell (Bishop Carroll/Oklahoma) – 49ers (2015-Present)

Lamar Chapman (Liberal/Kansas State) – Browns (2000-2001)

Harry Colon (KC Washington/Missouri) – Patriots, Lions, Jaguars (1991-1997)

Donald Davis (Olathe South/Kansas) – Saints, Buccaneers, Rams, Patriots (1996-2006)

Eldon Danehauer (Clay Center/Pitt State) – Denver (1960-1965)

Keith DeLong (Lawrence/Tennessee) - 49ers (1989-1993)

Tom Dinkel (Shawnee Heights/Kansas) – Bengals (1978-1985)

Sam Francis (Oberlin/Nebraska) – Bears, Pirates, Dodgers (1937-1940)

Elmer Hackney (Oberlin/Kansas State) – Eagles, Steelers, Lions (1940-1946)

Tysyn Hartman (Kapaun/Kansas State) – Chiefs (2012)

Tanner Hawkinson (McPherson/KU) – Bengals, 49ers, Eagles, Jaguars (2013-Present)

Damian Johnson (Great Bend/Kansas State) –Patriots (1986-1990)

Reggie Jones (Wyandotte/Butler/LSU) – Carolina, San Diego (1995, 2000-2001)

Trey Lewis (Washburn Rural/Washburn) – Falcons (2007-2010)

Link Lyman (McDonald/Bird City/Nebraska) – Bears (1926-1934)

Elbert Mack (Wichita North/ButlerCC/Troy) – Buccaneers, Saints, Texans (2008-2014)

Curtis McClinton (Wichita North/Kansas) – Chiefs (1962-1969)

Otto Schnellbache (Sublette/Kansas) – Yankees, Giants (1948-1951)

Bucky Scribner (Lawrence/Kansas) - Packers, Vikings (1983-1989)

Warren Seitz (Topeka West/Missouri) – Steelers (1985)

Jeff Smith (Wichita SE/Nebraska) – Chiefs, Buccaneers (1985-1988)

Justin Swift (Blue Valley/Kansas State) – Eagles, 49ers (1999-2002)

Nelson Toburen (Colby/ Wichita State) - Packers (1961-1962)

David Verser (KC Harmon/ Kansas) – Bengals (1981-1987)

Brett Wallerstedt (Manhattan/Arizona State) – Cardinals, Bengals (1993-1995)

Ron Warner (Independence/ICC/Kansas) – Saints, Buccaneers, Redskins (1998-2004)

Frank Wattelet (Abilene/Kansas) – Saints, Rams (1981-1988)

Jeff Wright (Lawrence/Coffeyville CC/Central Missouri) -  Bills (1988-1994)

John Zook (Larned/Kansas) – Falcons, Cardinals (1969-1979)

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Know someone else we may have left off? chetkuplen@kansas-sports.com

Photo Credit: Bobby Douglass (University of Kansas Sports Information), Mike Bell (Colorado State University), and Mark Simoneau (K-State Sports Information).