LOS ANGELES – When the NFL Network announced the top 100 players in NFL history, three of the top 25 players hailed from the Los Angeles metro area, including No. 11 Ronnie Lott, No. 12 Anthony Munoz and No. 23 John Elway.
That trio heads our list of the greatest football players to ever play high school football in the Los Angeles metro area. Lott played his high school football in San Bernardino County at Eisenhower (Rialto). Meanwhile Munoz played at Chaffey (Ontario) and Elway played at Granada Hills.
The Los Angeles metro area stretches over a large portion of Southern California, ranging from Ventura County to the west, Orange County to the south and Riverside/San Bernardino counties to the east.
Our list includes eight Hall of Famers, a Heisman Trophy winner and a future Hall of Famer. The players were selected not solely on their high school exploits but on their complete body of work.
Tony Gonzalez, Huntington Beach
Gonzalez was a multi-sport star in high school, earning league MVP honors in basketball and also playing baseball. However he starred on the football field, where he earned All-American honors as a tight end and linebacker. He caught 62 passes for 945 yards and 13 touchdowns his senior season at Huntington Beach. Gonzalez went on to All-American honors at Cal-Berkeley and has been named to 13 Pro Bowls while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs and currently the Atlanta Falcons. Following the 2012 season, Gonzalez held NFL records for career yards (14,268), receptions (1,242) and touchdowns (104) by a tight end.
Warren Moon, Hamilton (Los Angeles)
An All-City player as a senior, Moon was not necessarily viewed as a quarterback coming out of high school. He attended West Los Angeles College and set school records there before heading to Washington and leading the Huskies to a Rose Bowl victory over Michigan in 1978. Undrafted by the NFL, Moon spent six seasons in the Canadian Football League before finally joining the Houston Oilers in 1984. He threw for 49,325 yards in a 17-year NFL career and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2006. He had 70,553 yards passing as a professional football player.
Anthony Munoz, Chaffey (Ontario)
Munoz was a Parade All-American at Chaffey in 1975 and went on to earn All-American honors at USC. He’s considered one of the greatest offensive tackles in NFL history, making 11 Pro Bowls and earning nine All-Pro selections. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1998.
Ron Mix, Hawthorne
Although he didn’t earn all-section honors in high school, Mix was a standout at Southern California, earning All-American honors in 1959. Drafted by both the NFL and the fledgling AFL, Mix chose to join the San Diego Chargers. He went on to become a member of the All-Time AFL team, earning Pro Bowl honors nine straight seasons. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1979.
Glenn Davis, Bonita (La Verne)
The CIF Player of the Year in 1942, Davis scored 464 points in three seasons at Bonita, including 236 points as a senior when Bonita went 11-0 and won the CIF championship. He went on to win the Heisman Trophy while playing at Army and he played in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams. However a knee injury sustained while filming a movie cut down his speed and curtailed his professional career. The award for the best high school player in Los Angeles, given by the Los Angeles Times, is called the Glenn Davis Award.
John Elway, Granada Hills
Elway played three years on the Granada Hills varsity and threw for 5,711 yards and 49 touchdowns while earning Parade All-American Honors. He earned Pac-10 Player of the Year honors in 1980 and 1982 while at Stanford and was the No. 1 overall draft pick in the NFL in 1983. He played his entire 16-year NFL career with the Denver Broncos, winning two Super Bowls and earning nine Pro Bowl selections. He was named to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2004.
Ronnie Lott, Eisenhower (Rialto)
A first-team All-Southern Section player out of Eisenhower, Lott had an All-American career at Southern California, playing for the Trojans’ 1978 national championship team. He was the No. 8 overall player picked in the 1981 draft and played on four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers. He was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and an eight-time All-Pro. He entered the NFL Hall of Fame in 2000.
Bruce Matthews, Arcadia
No NFL player has been selected to the Pro Bowl more than the 14 times Matthews was named to the game. He was also a 10-time All-Pro during a career spent with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans. He was named to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2007. He also played at Southern California and earned All-American honors. He began his career at Arcadia where he was a standout on both sides of the line and earned third team All-Southern Section offense as a junior and first team All-Southern Section defense as a senior.
James Lofton, George Washington Prep (Los Angeles)
Lofton ranks as one of the all-time great receivers in the NFL, earning induction into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2003. He made the Pro Bowl eight times and was All-Pro four times. In college, he earned second team All-American honors during his senior season at Stanford. He played quarterback and safety in high school at George Washington, earning All-Southern League honors as a senior.
Mike Haynes, Marshall (Los Angeles)
Marshall went winless Haynes’ senior year in 1971 when he played quarterback and defensive back, but he went on to play at Arizona State where he earned all-conference honors three times and All-American honors twice. He went on to play for the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders, making the Pro Bowl nine times. He was selected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1999.