The two high schools in Valdosta, Georgia are Lowndes High School and Valdosta High School. Both schools have amazing football teams that have continued to grow and improve in recent years. Both schools’ history of wins and very few losses during multiple seasons makes it very easy to see why so many of their football players have gone on to become famous. Here are the famous football players that have graduated from Valdosta High Schools:
Telvin Smith played college football at Florida State before being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Telvin earned his first AFC Defensive Player of the Week during week seven of his first season when he intercepted the ball from Brian Hoyer of the Cleveland Browns and returned it fifteen yards. His first touchdown was, coincidentally, during week seven in his second year when the Jaguars played the Buffalo Bills. He intercepted the football and returned it twenty-six yards for that touchdown.
Randall Godfrey went on to play football at the University of Georgia before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1996. He spent four seasons with Dallas and had a record of 438 tackles, two interceptions, and five quarterback sacks. After he left the Cowboys, he went on to play with the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, and the Washington Redskins. He retired after the 2007 season, because he was not re-signed.
Malcolm Mitchell continued to play football during his time at the University of Georgia. From there, he was drafted by the New England Patriots during the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. During the season opener that year, he caught two passes for thirty-three yards. His first touchdown came during a game with the San Francisco 49ers on November 20th, when he caught a fifty-six-yard pass from Tom Brady.
Dana Brinson went on to play football at Nebraska before being drafted by the San Diego Chargers during the eighth round of the 1989 NFL Draft. He played for the Chargers for a year, before going to the Atlanta Falcons. He only played during the off-season and during practice with the Falcons for a year. After that, he went to play with the London Monarchs for a single season.
Jay Ratliff played football at Auburn University before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys during the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Ratliff’s smaller size did not stop him from becoming one of the best tacklers on the team and he eventually earned All-Pro honors. He stayed with the Cowboys until November of 2013, when he signed a deal with the Chicago Bears. Once he went to Chicago, he decided that he wanted to be called Jeremiah instead of Jay, and he played quite well until he was released from the team in October of 2015.
Coleman Rudolph continued his football career as a member of the Georgia Tech football team. He was drafted by the New York Jets during the second round of the 1993 NFL Draft. He injured his knee during his rookie year and ended up going to the New York Giants to play from 1994 through 1996.
Vincent Burns was also known as Sweet Pea, and he played college football at both Northern Arizona University and the University of Kentucky. During the 2005 NFL Draft, he was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round. Unfortunately, he was never put in to a regular season game and was only with the Colts for one season.
Dusty Bonner played football at Valdosta State University where he was a Harlon Hill trophy winner in both 2000 and 2001. Prior to his time at Valdosta State, he spent two years at the University of Kentucky. Dusty was signed to the Atlanta Falcons in March of 2003, but he never played in a regular season game. He then signed to play with the Lexington Horseman, before retiring from the field and joining the front office staff of the team.
After graduating from Lowndes, Josh Harvey-Clemons began the next leg of his football career at the University of Georgia, before transferring to Louisville for the rest of his college years. This year, 2017, he was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the seventh round.
Greg Reid began his football career on the fields of the Lowndes High School, where he rushed for more than 1,200 yards, scored eighteen touchdowns, and had nine interceptions in his senior year. He was offered numerous scholarships for colleges, but eventually chose Florida State. He ended up finishing college at Valdosta State University before turning pro in 2014. His professional career began with the NFL and the St. Louis Rams, but then he turned to the AFL in 2015. Since then he has been with the New Orleans VooDoo, Jacksonville Sharks, Tampa Bay Storm, and the Monterrey Steel.
Willie Gary spent his high school years on the fields of Valdosta High School before graduating in 1997 and continuing his education and playing time at the University of Kentucky. At the University of Kentucky, he earned the title of freshman All-American and started as a defensive back all four seasons. He played for the St. Louis Rams for two seasons, and went to the Super Bowl once with that team. Although, they did lose to the Patriots. After that, he spent six years playing with the AFL’s Georgia Force before turning his focus to coaching. Since that time, he has been an assistant coach at North Gwinnett, a defensive coach for the Georgia Force, a coach at Shiloh, a defensive coach for Clark Atlanta, and most recently, a coach at Berkmar.
Stan Rome was one of the more amazing football athletes in Valdosta, because not only was he fabulous out on the football field, he could also play basketball. By the end of his senior year, he was Parade All-American for both sports and chose to continue both sports at Clemson. When he was drafted by the NBA, it was in the fourth round by the Cavaliers, but they dropped him prior to the start of the season. He played semi-pro for a year, and then switched sports and signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as a wide receiver. After four years with the Chiefs, they released him from his contract, and his sports career was over. He chose to switch career paths and now helps others who need it the most.
Dexter Daniels began his football career at Valdosta High School, and he earned the USA Today Defensive High School Player of the Year in 1991. He accepted a scholarship to the University of Florida, and helped them win the Southeastern Conference Championships in both 1993 and 1994. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens during the sixth round in 1996, but only played during four of their games that season.
Michael Wakefield earned Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2010, plus he was a three-year starter at defensive end while he was in high school. He continued playing at Florida International, from 2012 until 2015, where he had 118 tackles, seventeen sacks, and eight forced fumbles. During his twelve games as a senior, he started eleven times and had forty-three tackles in all. In 2016, he entered the NFL as a free agent with the Washington Redskins.
Brice Hunter started playing football at Valdosta High School and while not many believed that he would go too far, he began his season at Georgia in 1993 with 76 catches, 979 yards, and nine touchdowns. During the 1996 draft, the Miami Dolphins picked him up during the seventh round, and he left there in 1997 to go to Tampa Bay for two seasons. He retired from the NFL after that.
Doug Belk has football in his blood and that will never change. He started playing on the fields in Lowndes, and that continued as he continued his education at Carson-Newman. All that playing experience is going to help his in his next endeavor, which is the cornerback coach for West Virginia. He was recently the defensive graduate assistant at Alabama, but will be tackling his new role head on as he helps lead his new team to better things. All these famous football players began their time on the field at one of the Valdosta High Schools. There are many more as well as other alumni who became famous for other accomplishments.