In 1920, the University Interscholastic League held its first football state championship game. That ended with Houston Heights and Cleburne being declared co-champions after a 0–0 tie.
When this season’s state championship games are held at the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Dec. 18–21, it will mark the 100th year of UIL football state title games. To commemorate that milestone, SportsDay compiled an all-time team for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
That was no easy task.
Of the five D-FW players who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only four made our all-time team. Of the 17 players from the Dallas area who have been selected in the top 10 of the NFL draft, only eight made our all-time team.
Along with UIL players, SportsDay considered players from the Prairie View Interscholastic League — which held its own championship games from 1940 to 1968 — as well as TAPPS and the Southwest Preparatory Conference. The PVIL served as the governing body for extra-curricular activities for Texas’ African-American high schools until it began to merge with the UIL at the start of the 1967–68 school year and disbanded at the end of the 1969–70 school year.
How do you go about selecting the greatest of all time — the true GOATs of D-FW high school football? For this team, just as much emphasis was placed on what they did beyond high school as in high school.
That made for some incredibly tough decisions. Just look at quarterback, where the choices included Hall of Famer and three-time NFL champion Bobby Layne, state champion and Pro Bowler Matthew Stafford and Heisman Trophy winners Kyler Murray and Davey O’Brien.
Murray hasn’t played a regular-season game in the NFL yet. But he was the choice because he was the GOAT while going undefeated as the starter at Allen, he was the best player in America his final season in college and he was the №1 pick in the NFL draft.
The 23 players selected have combined for 87 Pro Bowl selections. There were three Heisman Trophy winners, two Super Bowl MVPs, two players selected №1 overall in the NFL draft and the high school national record holder for career touchdowns.
Woodrow Wilson, Carter and Richardson Berkner were the only schools to have multiple players selected, with two apiece. Dallas ISD schools combined for eight players on the all-time team, while Allen, Highland Park and Aledo — which have combined to win 19 state championships — had one player apiece.
Fans were asked to vote for the best player at each position. They cast more than 1,600 votes, and their choices are noted at each position.
Let the debate begin.
ALL-TIME DALLAS-AREA FOOTBALL TEAM
Kyler Murray, Allen
Murray is perhaps the best high school quarterback to ever play in Texas. With Murray leading the way, Allen became the first school in Texas to win three consecutive state championships in the state’s largest class and division in the current split-division format. Murray was 42–0 as a starter, which included the first two 16–0 seasons in Allen history, in 2013 and 2014. As a senior at Allen, Murray accounted for 79 touchdowns and 6,208 yards of total offense in 2014. Murray won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma in 2018 after accounting for 54 touchdowns (42 passing) and 5,362 total yards (4,361 passing). The Arizona Cardinals selected Murray with the №1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Toughest omission: Hall of Famer Bobby Layne, Highland Park
Fans’ vote as the best: Kyler Murray, Allen
Doak Walker, Highland Park
Walker and Earl Campbell (Tyler John Tyler) are the only running backs from Texas high schools to win the Heisman Trophy and be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Walker was a three-time All-American at SMU and finished in the top three of the Heisman Trophy voting three years in a row, winning in 1948. During his six-year NFL career, all spent with the Detroit Lions, Walker was a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro selection while playing halfback, defensive back and kicker. He twice led the NFL in points scored (1950 and 1955) and won NFL championships in 1952 and 1953. The top running back in college football is presented the Doak Walker Award each year.
Johnathan Gray, Aledo
Gray had arguably the greatest high school career of any running back to ever play in Texas. That’s saying a lot considering the state produced Pro Football Hall of Famers LaDainian Tomlinson, Thurman Thomas, Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell and Doak Walker and Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims. Gray holds the high school national record for most career touchdowns (205) and ranks fifth in national history in career rushing yards (10,889). Aledo won its third consecutive state championship in 2011 as Gray rushed for 3,888 yards — the third-best total in state history, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football — and set a state record for most rushing touchdowns (65) in a season. Gray went on to play at Texas, where he finished his career ranked 12th on UT’s all-time rushing list with 2,607 yards.
Toughest omission: Three-time Pro Bowler Abner Haynes, Lincoln
Fans’ vote as the best: Doak Walker, Highland Park
Tim Brown, Woodrow Wilson
Brown was the first Dallas ISD athlete elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he is the only wide receiver from a Texas high school to win the Heisman Trophy and be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was a first-team selection on the UIL’s All-Century Team in 2009. Brown won the Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame in 1987, beating out Hall of Famers Thurman Thomas and Emmitt Smith in the process. Brown was chosen by the Los Angeles Raiders with the sixth pick in the 1988 draft and played 17 seasons in the NFL. The nine-time Pro Bowler ranks seventh in NFL history in career receptions (1,094) and career receiving yards (14,934) and is tied for ninth in career touchdown catches (100). Brown was in the inaugural class that was inducted into the Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018.
Charley Taylor, Grand Prairie Dalworth
Taylor is one of four wide receivers from a Texas high school inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is among six former PVIL players in the Hall of Fame, according to the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association. Taylor was a two-time All-American at Arizona State, where he was used primarily as a running back and defensive back. He was the third pick in the 1964 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, who converted him into a wide receiver. He spent his entire 13-year NFL career with the Redskins and was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-1960s Team. Taylor is tied for 28th in NFL history in career touchdown catches (79), and he ranks 59th in career receiving yards (9,110). Taylor was named to the Houston Chronicle’s all-PVIL team in 1992.
Michael Crabtree, Carter
Crabtree played quarterback in high school at Carter, but he transformed into the nation’s premier wide receiver in college, winning back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards and All-American honors in his only two years at Texas Tech. Crabtree led the nation in receptions (134), receiving yards (1,962) and touchdown catches (22) as a Tech freshman in 2007. He placed fifth in the 2008 Heisman Trophy voting and was taken with the 10th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He has played 10 seasons in the NFL, and among active players he ranks eighth in receptions (633), 15th in receiving yards (7,477) and 13th in touchdown catches (54).
Toughest omission: Four-time Pro Bowler John Jefferson, Roosevelt
Fans’ vote as the best: Tim Brown, Woodrow Wilson
Richmond Webb, Roosevelt
Webb is one of 17 Dallas-area players who have been selected in the top 10 of the NFL Draft during the Super Bowl era, being chosen №9 out of Texas A&M by the Miami Dolphins in 1990. He was selected for seven consecutive Pro Bowls from 1990 to 1996, and he was a first-team All-Pro in 1992 and 1994. Webb was named to Pro Football Reference’s first-team All-1990s Team.
Brian Waters, Waxahachie
Waters played tight end and defensive end at North Texas, but after going undrafted, he played in the NFL from 2000 to 2013. He became one of the best offensive linemen in the league and was a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro.
Louis Vasquez, Corsicana
He was all-state at Corsicana and all-Big 12 and Associated Press third-team All-American at Texas Tech. He played seven years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in the 2015 season. He made the NFL’s All-Rookie Team in 2009 with the San Diego Chargers and in 2013 was a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro selection in his first season with the Broncos.
Jon Gilliam, Hillcrest
He won an AFL title with the Dallas Texans in 1962 and was on the roster for the Kansas City Chiefs when they played in Super Bowl I. He earned his one Pro Bowl selection in 1961.
Luke Joeckel, Arlington
He was an All-American in high school at Arlington and in college at Texas A&M. He was the first A&M player to win the Outland Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman. He was the №2 overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and played five seasons in the NFL.
Toughest omission: Plano East’s Justin Blalock, who was an All-American at Texas and played in the NFL from 2007 to 2014.
Fans’ vote as the best: Louis Vasquez, Corsicana
Matt Stover, Lake Highlands
He enjoyed a long and accomplished NFL career that lasted from 1991 to 2009. He was a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro in 2000. He ranks sixth in NFL history in points scored (2,004) and field goals made (471) in a career. He led the NFL in field goal percentage in 1994 and 2006.
Toughest omission: Lake Highlands’ Phil Dawson, who ranks 11th in NFL history in career points scored.
Fans’ vote as the best: Phil Dawson, Lake Highlands
Harvey Martin, South Oak Cliff
Martin was the 1977 NFL AP Defensive Player of the Year and was named the co-MVP of the Cowboys’ victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII that season. Martin was a four-time Pro Bowler, making it every year from 1976 to 1979. He passed away in 2001 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was inducted posthumously into the Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019. The Houston Chronicle named Martin to its all-time PVIL team in 1992.
Michael Carter, Thomas Jefferson
He was a three-time Super Bowl champion and a three-time Pro Bowler during his nine-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers. He is the only athlete to win an Olympic medal and a Super Bowl ring in the same year, accomplishing that in 1984, when he won silver in the shot put and was an NFL rookie. He still holds the high school national record in the shot put with a throw of 81 feet, 3 1/2 inches in 1979. At SMU, he helped the football team to an 11–0–1 record and №2 final national ranking in 1982 and also won seven NCAA championships in the shot put. He was a second-team selection on the UIL All-Century Team in 2009 and has been inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame and the Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ray Childress, Richardson Pearce
The all-state defensive lineman was the №1 recruit in the state coming out of Richardson Pearce. He became a two-time All-American at Texas A&M and was the №3 overall pick in the 1985 NFL draft by the Houston Oilers. Childress played 12 seasons in the NFL — the first 11 with the Oilers and the final one with the Cowboys. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, was first-team All-Pro in 1992 and had 76.5 career sacks. He is in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and was named first-team All-Century by the UIL in 2009.
Myles Garrett, Arlington Martin
Garrett has a chance to be the greatest defensive lineman to ever play in D-FW by the time his career is over. He was a five-star recruit and the №2-ranked player in the nation in the Class of 2014 coming out of Arlington Martin. He had 32.5 sacks and 48.5 tackles for loss in three seasons at Texas A&M and was a two-time All-American. The №1 pick in the 2017 NFL draft made the Pro Bowl in his second NFL season. Garrett ranked sixth in the NFL in sacks last season with 13.5.
Toughest omission: Four-time Super Bowl champion Dwight White, Madison
Fans’ vote as the best: Harvey Martin, South Oak Cliff
Von Miller, DeSoto
Miller has been arguably the best linebacker in the NFL since he came into the league in 2011, earning seven trips to the Pro Bowl and three first-team All-Pro selections. But as a senior at DeSoto, he was only a three-star recruit and was rated by 247Sports.com as the 288th-best player in the nation in the Class of 2007. His stock began to soar at Texas A&M, where he was an All-American and won the 2010 Butkus Award, given to college football’s best linebacker. The Denver Broncos made him the №2 pick in the 2011 NFL draft, and in 120 career games he has 98 sacks, 125 tackles for loss and 352 solo tackles. Miller was named the MVP of Super Bowl 50 after the Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers.
Jessie Armstead, Carter
Armstead was one of the most dominant and flamboyant high school football players in D-FW history. He was named the Texas Class 5A Player of the Year, SuperPrep magazine’s national high school player of the year and a Parade All-American after anchoring a Carter defense that he called the “best ever … in Texas high school and in the nation.” Carter went 14–0–1 on the field in 1988 and beat Converse Judson in the state championship game, only to have the UIL strip the title in 1991 because of a disputed algebra grade for Carter’s star running back. Armstead famously rented a conference room at the Loews Anatole to sign with Miami, a school that he helped win two national titles. Armstead played 11 years in the NFL, ending his career in 2003, and was a five-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro.
Bill Forester, Woodrow Wilson
Forester was all-state at Woodrow Wilson and all-Southwest Conference at SMU. But it was in the pros where Forester established himself as an all-time great. Under Vince Lombardi, he won two NFL titles with the Green Bay Packers and was a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro selection. Forester was inducted into the Packers’ Hall of Fame in 1974.
Toughest omission: Irving MacArthur’s Brian Bosworth, who was a two-time consensus first-team All-American at Oklahoma.
Fans’ vote as the best: Von Miller, DeSoto
Yale Lary, Fort Worth North Side
The former Texas A&M and Detroit Lions star was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after he was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time first-team All-Pro. He won three NFL championships, all with the Lions, during an 11-year NFL career that ended in 1964. Lary missed two seasons because of military service, but had 50 career interceptions — tied for 35th in NFL history. He was named to the All-1950s teams for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Reference. He led the NFL in punting in 1959, 1961 and 1963, and he averaged a career-best 48.9 yards per punt in 1963.
Bobby Boyd, Garland
Boyd was once famously compared to former SMU All-American and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Doak Walker. The Dallas Morning News columnist Kevin Sherrington wrote that the comparison “sprang from everything Boyd did for Garland: Ran, passed, kicked, returned punts and kicks, and played defense, too, earning him All-State honors twice while leading the Owls to the ’55 state finals.” Boyd was a 10th-round draft pick in 1960 after playing at Oklahoma, but he became a two-time Pro Bowler, a three-time first-team All-Pro and won one NFL title with the Baltimore Colts. His 57 career interceptions have him tied for 13th in NFL history.
Aqib Talib, Richardson Berkner
Talib was a two-star recruit at Richardson Berkner but became an All-American at Kansas. He was a first-round draft pick by Tampa Bay in 2008 and has earned five trips to the Pro Bowl and one first-team All-Pro selection in an NFL career that is going into its 12th season. Talib won a Super Bowl title with the Denver Broncos in the 2015 season and played in the Super Bowl last season for the Los Angeles Rams. Talib has 35 career interceptions, second-most among active players.
Everson Walls, Richardson Berkner
Walls played only one year of high school football at Richardson Berkner, but he became an All-American playing for legendary coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling State. The Cowboys signed Walls as an undrafted free agent, and he led the NFL with 11 interceptions and was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 1981. Walls also led the league in interceptions in 1982 (seven) and 1985 (nine), and he is tied for 13th in NFL history with 57 career interceptions. He was a four-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro. He spent nine of his 13 NFL seasons with the Cowboys, but he won his only Super Bowl title with the New York Giants in the 1990 season.
Toughest omission: Four-time Pro Bowler Merton Hanks, Lake Highlands
Fans’ vote as the best: Everson Walls, Richardson Berkner
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Originally published at https://www.dallasnews.com on August 27, 2019.
Four RISD Alums on Morning News All-Time High School Football Team was originally published in Richardson ISD Newsdesk on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.