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On opening day, Tampa high schools boasted 4th-most NFL players of any U.S. city

Hillsborough, as well as East Lake and Lakewood, had four NFL players each.
Packers rookie wide receiver Christian Watson (9), a Plant High alumnus, was among 15 players from a Tampa public or private high school to appear on an NFL opening-day roster.
Packers rookie wide receiver Christian Watson (9), a Plant High alumnus, was among 15 players from a Tampa public or private high school to appear on an NFL opening-day roster. [ STACY BENGS | AP ]
Published Sep. 17

TAMPA — One of the nation’s foremost purveyors of Cuban sandwiches and cigars now is becoming nearly as synonymous with NFL talent.

Tampa’s public or private high schools produced 15 players on NFL opening-day rosters, fourth-most of any U.S. city, according to the most recent statistics produced by the league. From a state perspective, only Miami produced more (19).

Bradenton (14), Plantation (11) and Fort Lauderdale (10) round out the state cities featuring the most opening-weekend NFL players. However, all of Bradenton’s representatives hail from IMG Academy, a private institution with a global student body.

Another 17 players from bay area high schools (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas counties) appeared on opening-day rosters.

Three bay area schools — Hillsborough, East Lake and Lakewood — were among 24 with four players on opening-day NFL rosters. Excluding IMG Academy, Fort Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas and Plantation’s American Heritage boasted the most of any high school in the country (nine each).

Players from Tampa schools

49ers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III, right, runs past Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson during the Bears' 19-10 victory in Chicago last Sunday. McCloud starred at Sickles High.
49ers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III, right, runs past Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson during the Bears' 19-10 victory in Chicago last Sunday. McCloud starred at Sickles High. [ NAM Y. HUH | AP ]

WR Nelson Agholor, Patriots (Berkeley Prep)

LB Azeez Al-Shaair, 49ers (Hillsborough)

TE Andrew Beck, Broncos (Plant)

DB Dane Belton, Giants (Jesuit)

CB Anthony Brown, Cowboys (Hillsborough)

DT Zach Carter, Bengals (Hillsborough)

LS Charley Hughlett, Browns (Hillsborough)

WR Ray-Ray McCloud, 49ers (Sickles)

LB Micah McFadden, Giants (Plant)

WR Chris Moore, Texans (Jefferson)

CB Amani Oruwariye, Lions (Gaither)

OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Titans (Berkeley Prep)

WR Byron Pringle, Bears (Robinson)

CB Isaiah Rodgers, Colts (Blake)

WR Christian Watson, Packers (Plant)

Other bay area schools

Bucs reserve offensive lineman Brandon Walton (73), who made the team's final 53-man roster out of training camp, played at Seminole High.
Bucs reserve offensive lineman Brandon Walton (73), who made the team's final 53-man roster out of training camp, played at Seminole High. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

LB Jon Bostic, Commanders (Central)

RB Matt Breida, Giants (Nature Coast)

C Mason Cole, Steelers (East Lake)

DT Byron Cowart, Colts (Armwood)

RB Jerome Ford, Browns (Armwood)

LB Dante Fowler, Cowboys (Lakewood)

CB Shaquill Griffin, Jaguars (Lakewood)

LB Jake Hansen, Texans (East Lake)

TE Tyler Higbee, Rams (East Lake)

SS Rayshawn Jenkins, Jaguars (Admiral Farragut)

WR Diontae Johnson, Steelers (Lennard)

WR Jeff Smith, Jets (CCC)

LB Justin Strnad, Broncos (East Lake)

WR Marquez-Valdes Scantling, Chiefs (Lakewood)

OL Brandon Walton, Bucs (Seminole)

TE Mitch Wilcox, Bengals (Tarpon Springs)

OT Isaiah Wynn, Patriots (Lakewood)

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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