Now & Then – NFL, Week 5


by Jeff Fisher

Hope everyone has been enjoying Now & Then, which is a weekly look back at the NFL’s Top Performers through the lens of high school football.

We start our Week 5 installment of Now & Then with the Denver Broncos Peyton Manning, who led the NFL with 479 yards passing in Sunday’s 41-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Manning, who played his high school football at Isadore Newman in New Orleans, was 31-of-49 with four touchdowns, including his 500th career TD, which puts him five shy on Brett Favre‘s (Hancock North Central High School, Mississippi) all-time NFL record.

At Isadore Newman, Manning was a three-year starter that led his school to a 34-5 record. He completed 452 of 761 passes (59.4%) for 7,207 yards and 92 touchdowns.  During his senior year, Manning was named the Gatorade Circle of Champions National Player of the Year, plus he was named the Columbus Ohio Touchdown Club Offensive Player of the Year twice.

During his high school days, Manning began wearing Number 18, which was in honor of his older brother Cooper, who had to quit playing football because of spinal stenosis. Peyton’s brother also wore Number 18 during his time at the school.  Number 18 has now been retired by the school.

Manning’s top receiver on Sunday was Demaryius Thomas, who set a franchise record with 226 yards and two touchdowns.

Thomas played his high school football at West Laurens High School in Georgia.  After a junior season that saw Thomas catch 32 balls, he exploded during his senior season with 82 catches for 1,234 yards and ten touchdowns. The Atlanta Journal Constitution named him to its first-team all-state Class AA team after his senior season.

Houston running back Arian Foster was the NFL’s leading rusher with 157 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans 20-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Foster split his high school football between New Mexico and California.  Foster played his freshman and sophomore years at Valley High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After his parents divorced, he finished his career at Mission Bay High School in San Diego.

Foster played running back and linebacker in high school, but didn’t become the Mission Bay’s full-time ball carrier until his senior season when he led the led San Diego County in all-purpose yards with 2,500, with 2,093 coming on the ground with 24 touchdowns.  Foster was also a top kick returner scoring six touchdowns on kickoff returns.

On defense, linebackers Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers and C.J. Mosley of the Baltimore Ravens led the league with 15 tackles.

Kuechly played at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.  Kuechly led St. X to the 2007 Ohio Division I state title with 140 tackles and six sacks.

C.J. Mosley played at Theodore High School in Alabama.  Mosley was a three year starter for the Bobcats, who set the school record for tackles during his junior year and then broke his own record as a senior in 2009.

Mosley’s 186 tackles as a senior topped his junior mark of 176, of which 115 were solo tackles.  He was named Alabama’s Class 6A Lineman of the Year after his senior season.

Below, check-out our Now & Then features for past week’s with plenty of cool high school videos of the NFL’s top players.

Now & Then Week 1

Now & Then Week 2

Now & Then Week 3

Now & Then Week 4

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.