While some states are better known for producing great athletes than others, the truth is that legendary competitors can come from anywhere. That includes schools in the East, where more than a few of the greats played high school football.
As the 2023 high school football season and the opening of the Super 25 approach, we’re looking back on the greatest players of all time, starting with quarterbacks.
To create this list, we selected quarterbacks who played for schools in the following states: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Virginia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. This format follows our breakdown by Super 25 soccer regions: East, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and West.
Joe Namath: Beaver Falls (Pennsylvania) 1960
Namath, a stellar multi-sport athlete, chose soccer and we are all the better for it. In his senior year, he led Beaver Falls to an undefeated season and a state championship. Then he helped Alabama win a national title in 1964. Then the New York Jets took him first in the AFL draft. Namath won two league MVP awards and made five All-Star teams. Namath entered the Hall of Fame in the class of 1985.
Dan Marino: Central Catholic (Pa.) 1979
Considered the best player in the NFL to never win a Super Bowl, Marino started at Central Catholic High School and earned All-American honors from Parade magazine as a senior. Marino then went 33-3 as a starter at Pitt. During his time with the Miami Dolphins, Marino made nine Pro Bowls, earned three All-Pro nominations, and won the league MVP award in 1984. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the class of 2005.
Ronald Curry: Hampton (Virginia) 1997
In high school, Curry threw for 8,212 career passing yards and led Hampton to three state titles and two consecutive national championships (1996 and 1997). Curry later played football and basketball at North Carolina, then was selected by the Raiders in the seventh round of the 2002 draft. He played wide receiver exclusively in the NFL, totaling 193 receptions and 12 touchdowns in 75 games in his career.
Steve Spurrier: Science Hill (Tennessee) 1962
Mostly known as a successful college coach, Spurrier was an all-state athlete in three different sports in his day. In college, he played at Florida and won the Heisman Trophy in 1966. Spurrier also spent a decade in the NFL as a backup quarterback before turning to coaching.
Joe Montana: Ringgold (Pennsylvania) 1973
Before Tom Brady came along, Montana was known as the greatest of all time at the NFL level. In high school, Montana was even better at basketball and led his team to a state championship. In college, Montana won a National Championship with Notre Dame in 1977; then he turned to the professionals. Montana won four Super Bowls and two MVP awards with the San Francisco 49ers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.