When the 2007 Tampa Bay recruiting rankings came out, Jonte Green was nowhere to be found in the top 25. Armwood's Torrey Davis was No. 1 on the list. Plant's Robert Marve was No. 2. Jefferson's Stephen Garcia was No. 3.
Green, who signed with Benedictine College, was one of many "Others".
Now, he's one of the few.
Saturday, Green became the ninth Lakewood Spartan football player to be drafted by the NFL, when the Detroit Lions took the cornerback in the sixth-round after a standout career at New Mexico State.
Green, who excelled at running back his senior season by rushing for 950 yards, could join his former Lakewood teammate Louis Murphy (starting wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders) in the NFL if he can make the Lions squad.
That would be pretty remarkable -- two Spartans off the same team in the NFL. But for Lakewood, it's nothing new. While the Spartans have yet to become Tampa Bay's premier program, when it comes to putting players in the NFL, no one else is close.
Murphy, a second-round pick of Oakland in 2009.
Tim Carter, a wide receiver and second round pick of the New York Giants in 2004.
William Floyd, a fullback and first-round pick of San Francisco in 1994 (and a Super Bowl winner).
Tom Carter, a defensive back and first-round pick of Washington in 1993, who had 27 career interceptions.
Pat Terrell, a defensive back and second-round pick of the Rams in 1990.
Ernest Givens, a wide receiver and second-round pick of the Houston Oilers in 1986, and a two-time Pro Bowler on hsi way to becoming the team's all-time leading receiver (7.935 yards).
Ricky Anderson, a punter who was picked in teh 11th-round by the Cardinals in 1985 and still holds many of Vanderbilt's punting records.
Tron Anderson, a wide receiver who was picked in the fifth round by the New York Jets in 1984, the first Spartan ever picked in the NFL draft.
Who will be No. 10? Keep your eyes on Toledo wide receiver Bernard Reedy.
NOTE: And though they weren't drafted, running back Aveion Cason (nine seasons with St. Louis, Detroit and Dallas), offensive lineman Cornell Green (11 seasons with the Jets, Bucs, Denver Broncos, Raiders and Buffalo Bills) and Rashod Moulton (two seasons on practice squads with Jacksonville and Denver) add to the Spartans impressive professional ledger.
SECOND NOTE: This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of Lakewood players, or Pinellas County players, that have seen some time in the NFL. I used Cason and Green and Moulton (and could have used Thed Watson as well) as examples of OTHERS that also made their way to the league for some period of time. But the original list ONLY includes Lakewood players that were DRAFTED.