Where each starting QB played in high school


The NFL Playoffs will begin on Saturday afternoon when the Seahawks visit the 49ers. You can find the full Wild Card weekend schedule here. At the highest level of football you need a well-rounded team to compete, but the one non-negotiable is always a quality starting quarterback. Some of them have been stars their whole lives, while others have had to grind their way up from the bottom.

Here’s where each of the starting QBs in the playoffs played their high school football and how they were rated and ranked as a recruit.

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Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

High school: Whitehouse (Texas)

Rating: Three stars

Now the most dynamic quarterback on the planet, Mahomes was only a three-star prospect in high school. He was ranked No. 12 among dual-threat quarterbacks and only No. 398 overall in the class of 2014. The crazy numbers were always there, though. As a Senior, he threw for 50 touchdowns and ran for 15 more. Mahomes also excelled in baseball, throwing a no-hitter with 15 strikeouts that year.

Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

High school: Channelview (Texas)

Rating: Four stars

Hurts was highly-ranked compared to Mahomes, but still only No. 192 overall in the class of 2016. 28 other players from Texas were also ranked ahead of him. In his Senior year Hurts posted 26 passing touchdowns and 25 rushing touchdowns. This season, Hurts posted the fourth-highest QBR in the NFL.

Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills

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High school: Firebaugh (Calif.)

Rating: Three stars

Now a regular MVP candidate, Allen was largely an unknown in high school. To be fair, he didn’t blossom into the star he is today until his third season in the NFL. Back in 2015, he was ranked No. 199 overall in his recruiting class and fifth among dual-threat quarterbacks. After mass-emailing every coach in college footall, he only received two scholarship offers: from Eastern Michigan and Wyoming.

Brock Purdy – San Francisco 49ers

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High school: Perry (Ariz.)

Rating: Three stars

The least-experienced QB in this group, Purdy has only started five games in his pro career but has won all of them. Purdy went 27-13 as a starter at Perry and was named high school football player of the year by the Arizona Republic. Still, as a Senior he was ranked No. 839 overall in his class.

Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals

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High school: Athens (Ohio)

Rating: Four stars

Unlike some of the other QBs on this list, it seems Burrow was always expected to achieve great things. In high school he had a four-star rating and a 0.9003 overall score. Burrow had 17 college offers, eventually settling on Ohio State, then transferring to LSU where he won a national title. He led the Bengals to the Super Bowl in just his second season.

Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings

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High school: Holland (Mich.)

Rating: Three stars

Cousins was another relatively unknown recruit. He didn’t even crack the top 1,300 recruits in the class of 2008 and barely made the top-50 among pro style quarterbacks. Cousins only got five college offers and he settled on Michigan State. He has made four Pro Bowl teams in the NFL.

Trevor Lawrence – Jacksonville Jaguars

[Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

High school: Cartersville (Ga.)

Rating: Five stars

Lawrence was seemingly born into this world fully formed as a star quarterback. He was ranked the No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2018 and had a 0.9999 rating as a prospect. Lawrence had 24 college offers and chose Clemson, where he went on to win a national championship. Jacksonville picked him No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL draft.

Tom Brady – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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High school: Junipero Serra (Calif.)

Rating: N/A (1996)

Brady is proof that it’s not how you start but you how finish. At first he couldn’t even start for an 0-8 JV team and ended his high school career with 3,702 yards and 31 touchdown passes. Brady went on to Michigan, where he had to sit behind Brian Griese for two years. Later, the Patriots picked him at No. 199 overall in the NFL draft. He’s gone on to win seven Super Bowls and counting.

Justin Herbert – Los Angeles Chargers

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High school: Sheldon (Oregon)

Rating: Three stars

Herbert also falls into the late bloomer category. Even though he threw 37 touchdowns and rushed for 10 more as a Senior, he was only ranked No. 659 overall in the recruiting class of 2016. When his high school career was over, Herbert only had four college offers. He finished second in the NFL this season behind Mahomes in passing yards.

Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys

(AP Photo/Don Wright)

High school: Haughton (La.)

Rating: Three stars

Prescott had to earn his way, as well. He was ranked outside the top 600 recruits in the class of 2011 and was No. 20 among dual-threat quarterbacks. After leading his team to a 2010 District 1-AAAA Championship he went on to Mississippi State, where he broke numerous record and was named first team All-SEC twice. Once he arrived in Dallas, he posted the highest passer rating (104.9) ever by a rookie NFL quarterback.

Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

High school: Boynton Beach Community (Fla.)

Rating: Three stars

Now arguably the greatest rushing quarterback of all time, Jackson was only ranked No. 12 among dual threat QBs in high school and No. 409 overall in the class of 2015. Jackson’s athleticism shined through, though – he was a track star and once through a football 100 yards. Lamar went on to be a unanimous NFL MVP in just his second season with the Ravens.

Daniel Jones – New York Giants

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

High school: Charlotte Latin School (NC)

Rating: Two stars

Jones posted some remarkable numbers in high school, totaling 6,997 passing yards and 98 touchdowns. However, that didn’t get him any national attention. He was ranked No. 58 among dual-threat QBs in his class. After committing to Princeton he transferred to Duke, where he had to walk on to make the team. The Giants picked him No. 6 overall in the draft and he eventually replaced Eli Manning as their starter.

Tua Tagovailoa – Miami Dolphins

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

High school: St. Louis (Hawaii)

Rating: Five stars

Tagovailoa falls into the instant-star category. In high school he threw 33 passing touchdowns in his first season as a starter. He ended his career as the MVP of the Elite 11 roster and was ranked the No. 1 dual threat QB in his class and No. 32 overall. Tagovailoa had 17 college offers but chose Alabama, where he went on to win the Heisman. Tua has suffered multiple concussions this season though and may not be available in the playoffs.

Geno Smith – Seattle Seahawks

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High school: Miramar (Fla.)

Rating: Four stars

Smith was also a highly-touted high school QB. As a Senior, he threw for 3,089 yards and 30 touchdowns. He made the top 100 overall players in his class and was ranked No. 3 at his position. Smith picked West Virginia over nine other college offers, including Alabama. This season Smith became a Pro Bowler for the first time in his NFL career after nine years.

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