ESPNHS Alumnus of the Week: Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford showed all the tools back at the 2005 Elite 11 and six years later has the Detroit Lions tied atop the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers Tom Hauck/ESPNHS

Two weeks into the 2011 NFL season the Detroit Lions are showing signs that they are ready to take the next step and be a contender in the NFC, jumping out to a 2-0 start. One of the main reasons for the Lions' bullish start is that third-year QB Matthew Stafford is healthy and living up to the potential that the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft has always shown. Through the first two games of the 2011 season, Stafford has passed for 599 yards and seven touchdowns (tied for the most in the NFL). Today we take a look back at Stafford when he was in high school with an ESPNHS Alumnus of the Day feature.

From the first time Matthew Stafford took the field at Highland Park (Dallas) High School as a starting sophomore quarterback in 2003, he was ticketed for future stardom, and to this point the now 6-3, 230 pound quarterback has been one of a few anointed high school superstars to actually realize that dream at the highest level. Blessed with gifted arm talent and also the requisite work ethic, Stafford impressed from day one as a Scot, passing for 2,945 yards and 36 touchdowns in '03, earning District 12-4A Sophomore of the Year as well as ESPNHS Sophomore All-American honors.

Graduation hit the Scots hard and while Stafford's numbers slipped a bit as a junior (1,748 yards and 18 TDs), his physical talent and tremendous potential was still undeniable. He chose Georgia from over 50 suitors in May and after attending the Las Vegas Elite 11 regional camp that June, Stafford was selected to the 2005 Elite 11 finals, at which he earned MVP honors over a tremendously talented field that also included eventual NFL first round picks in Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman and Jake Locker.

Stafford went out with a bang as a senior in 2005, completing 209 of 322 for 4,018 yards passing and 38 TDs while also rushing for eight scores as he led his team to the Class 4A championship, its first state title since 1957. He was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year for Texas and finished ranked as the No. 1 QB and fifth player overall in the ESPNU 150 for the Class of 2006.