With the retirement of the GOAT Tom Brady, one might think that California’s group of quarterbacks starting in the NFL will be greatly diminished. It will be because of just him, but the number of starters will be up by two and two other QBs from the state will be playing for new teams. The other big news is that Mater Dei of Santa Ana is about to move up to the top as the school in the state with the most NFL QBs who have started at least one game.
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When No. 1 overall NFL Draft choice Bryce Young steps onto the field for the first time as a starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers in September, he also will be creating some history for high school alma mater.
Young, of course, hails from Mater Dei of Santa Ana and he will become the fourth QB from the school to start a game in NFL. That will move the Monarchs to first place among all schools in California for having the most starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
None of the other three were primary starters like Bryce is projected to be with the Texans. Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte was a back-up in the NFL but started a game in 1968 for the Philadelphia Eagles. Heisman winner Matt Leinart (whose son, Cole, will be a QB for the Monarchs this upcoming season) also was a No. 2 QB for most of his NFL career. He started games in 2006, 2007 and 2009 for the Arizona Cardinals and then had some starts in 2011 with the Texans. Matt Barkley is the other Mater Dei grad on the list. He didn’t win the Heisman at USC, but started games in 2016 with the Chicago Bears and again in 2018 with the Buffalo Bills.
The school that the Monarchs will be breaking a tie with when they have their fourth NFL starting QB is Hart of Newhall.
The first from Hart to get to the NFL is a QB who just passed away and that would be Joe Kapp. He played for the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV and later became a head coach at the University of California. Kapp also was an MVP in the Canadian Football League before he came to the Vikings. He died last week at age 85.
Hart’s other two NFL QBs who got in at least one start in their careers are Kyle Boller and Matt Moore. Boller was a first-round pick in 2003 coming out of Cal and started for the Baltimore Ravens in 2003, 2004 and 2005. He was a back-up after that and started games in 2007 for the Ravens, in 2009 for the St. Louis Rams and in 2011 for the Oakland Raiders. Moore last started for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 due to an injury to superstar Patrick Mahomes. He also started games in six other seasons in a very long career as a professional QB. Moore played for the Carolina Panthers in 2007, 2009 and 2010 and later started games for the Miami Dolphins 2011, 2016 and 2017.
Young is projected to be one of eight starting QBs in the NFL from California high schools. The mainstream media seems to always make a big deal when Texas has seven or eight, but seven or eight is actually about average for recent seasons for California. Eight isn’t even close to the California record of 13 for 1986. There also was 11 in 1987.
There were six last season, but one of those six is retiring legend Tom Brady from Serra of San Mateo. He was the No. 1 QB of the New England Patriots from 2001 through 2019 and started for the last three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady leaving, though, is going to be followed by Bryce Young’s arrival as well as No. 2 overall NFL Draft pick QB C.J. Stroud (Rancho Cucamonga) taking over the reigns for the Houston Texans. Then there’s also the ascent of Jordan Love moving up to the No. 1 position for the Green Bay Packers. Love, a graduate of Liberty High (Bakersfield), didn’t start a game last season as a back-up to the Packers behind Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers, regarded as one of the five greatest QBs in NFL history by most in the media, will continue to be an NFL starter, but will be doing it during the 2023 season for the New York Jets. He is from Pleasant Valley High (Chico).
The other QB from the state who will be starting for a new team will be Derek Carr of the New Orleans Saints. Carr, who is from Bakersfield Christian (where his brother, Darren, is the school’s current head coach), previously started for the Raiders when they were in Oakland and then again after the team moved to Las Vegas.
Rounding out the state’s group of eight starting QBs in the league will be former No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff of the Detroit Lions (Marin Catholic of Kentfield) and MVP candidate Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills (Firebaugh).
Sam Darnold (San Clemente) started several games last season for the Carolina Panthers and if he gets starts this season it will be for the San Francisco 49ers and will be because the team’s other two QBs — Brock Purdy and Trey Lance — are sidelined with injuries.
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