In being drafted No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft last week, Kyler Murray did something that no athlete had ever done — he was drafted among the top 10 selections by two different professional sports leagues.
MaxPreps takes a look at the Top 50 greatest high school athletes of all-time. While many “greatest” high school lists tend to focus on performance at the college and professional level and also includes athletes who played just one sport, this list tries to focus on athletes who were “all-around” athletes, participating and excelling in two or more sports.
The former Allen standout is on the list of the 50 greatest high school athletes of all-time.
So some of the “greatest” high school athletes you won’t see on this list include basketball-only greats like Oscar Robertson and Lew Alcindor, or football-only greats like Peyton Manning or Dick Butkus. Instead, you will find names like Dwight Eddleman, Stan Rome and Basil Shabazz — outstanding all-around high school athletes who saw some time at the professional level, but were truly great at the high school level.
This is not to say that professional and college performance is not considered. Excellence at those levels helps give context and confirm greatness at the high school level. However, lack of excellent credentials at the college or professional level don’t preclude the great all-around high school athletes from making this list.
The list begins with one of the iconic athletes of the 20th century — Jim Brown. While known for his accomplishments on the gridiron, Brown was a multi-sport athlete at Manhasset in the 1950s and he went on to excel in those sports at the college level as well.
No athletes who have graduated in the past three years were considered for the list.
Top 50 greatest high school all-around athletes of all-time
1. Jim Brown, Manhasset (N.Y.), 1953
Brown reportedly earned 13 letters while at Manhasset, earning All-American honorable mention honors in football while averaging 14.9 yards per carry. He also played basketball, averaging 38 points per game. Brown ran track and was one of the top lacrosse players in the state. Brown was an All-American in football at Syracuse and he was one of the nation’s top lacrosse players as well. He played two seasons on the Syracuse basketball team and occasionally ran track. He went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns.
2. Jackie Robinson, Muir (Pasadena, Calif.), 1937
Robinson was a five-sport star at Muir Tech, playing football, basketball, baseball, track and field, and tennis. He was an All-Southland honorable mention pick in football and was recognized as one of the top players in the Southland in basketball. He helped Muir to a Southern Section and state championship in track and field as a long jumper in 1936. There were no All-American teams in 1937, but Robinson might have been selected to three or four of them. He went on to Pasadena Junior College and lettered in four sports and was then a standout at UCLA in football and basketball before breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
3. Wilt Chamberlain, Overbrook (Philadelphia), 1955
One of the greatest basketball players in NBA history, Chamberlain was also one of the top high school track and field stars in Pennsylvania. He held the state shot put record and ran the 440-yard dash in under 49 seconds. In basketball at Overbrook, Chamberlain averaged 44 points per game with a high of 90 points while setting the career state scoring record at 2,252 points. He went on to set the NBA all-time scoring record.
4. Vincent “Bo” Jackson, McAdory (McCalla, Ala.), 1982
A three-sport standout at McAdory, Jackson was known more for his exploits as one of the top running backs in the nation, but he was a record-setting athlete in baseball and indoor track and field. As a senior, he set three state records at the indoor track meet, he leaped 6-foot-8, broad jumped 22-6.5, ran the 60-yard hurdles in 7.29 seconds and won the 60-yard dash in 6.28 seconds. He was named the outstanding male performer in the meet. In baseball, Jackson hit a state record 20 home runs. He was drafted in the second round by the Yankees in 1982 and was described by a scout as having “the best raw talent of any player I’ve seen in 21 years.” In football, Jackson was compared to Herschel Walker for his combination of size and speed, rushing for 1,270 yards his senior year and going on to win the Heisman Trophy at Auburn. He played for both the Oakland Raiders in the NFL and the Kansas City Royals in Major League Baseball before a hip injury essentially ended his career.
5. Joe Mauer, Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.), 2001
Only one player in high school history has been named the national Player of the Year in two sports. As a quarterback at Cretin-Derham Hall, he threw for 3,022 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior. In baseball, Mauer reportedly only struck out once in his high school career en route to a .605 average as a senior. He was also All-State in basketball while averaging 20 points per game. He turned down a football scholarship at Florida State to enter the MLB draft and was drafted No. 1 overall by the Twins. The six-time All-Star played 15 years in the Majors.
6. John Elway, Granada Hills Charter (Granada Hills, Calif.), 1979
One of the few high school athletes to be named All-American in football and baseball, Elway was a Parade All-American on the gridiron despite playing only six games due to injury. In baseball, Elway was the winning pitcher in the Los Angeles City Section championship game and batted .491 on the season. He was the LA City Player of the Year and a Rawlings All-American. The Kansas City Royals drafted him in the 18th round, but he chose to play football and baseball at Stanford. Later drafted again by the Yankees, Elway played briefly in the Yankee minor league organization before embarking on a Hall of Fame career with the Denver Broncos.
7. Danny Ainge, North Eugene (Eugene, Ore.), 1977
Ainge was a three-sport star and ranks as one of the greatest athletes ever from the state of Oregon. He was a Scholastic Coach All-American in football while playing quarterback. In basketball, he was Parade Magazine All-American Second Team pick after leading North Eugene to back-to-back state championships. In baseball, Ainge was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and played three seasons with the team while also playing basketball at BYU. He later joined the Boston Celtics in the NBA and went on to a 15-year career.
8. Bob Matthias, Tulare Union (Tulare, Calif.), 1948
Several months after graduating high school, Matthias won the decathlon in the 1948 Olympics. At the tender age of 17, Matthias was deemed the “world’s greatest athlete.” Also a football player at Tulare, Matthias later joined the football team at Stanford and played in the Rose Bowl. He also repeated as the gold medalist in the decathlon in the 1952 Olympics. A basketball player as well, he averaged 17 points for Tulare as a senior.
9. Deion Sanders, North Fort Myers (Fla.), 1985
An All-Southwest Florida first team selection in three sports, Sanders (who went by Dion in high school) was the quarterback on the football team, a 24-point scorer in basketball and a sixth-round MLB draft pick in baseball. He chose to play football and baseball at Florida State and went on to play football and baseball at the professional level, earning a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.
10. Dwight Eddleman, Centralia (Ill.), 1942
Considered the greatest all-around athlete ever produced by the University of Illinois, Eddleman won 11 letters at the college level. In high school, Eddleman set the national record in basketball for career points scored with 2,702 points while leading Centralia to a state title. He was a three-time state champion in the high jump and competed in the 1948 Olympics, finishing in a three-way tie for second. He also played football in high school and was an All-State quarterback. He was one of the top punters in the nation in college and played in the Rose Bowl. He was drafted by both the NFL and the AAFC in 1947. Centralia did not have baseball, but he played for Culver Academy during the summer and won five of his six starts as a pitcher and also hit six home runs. He played in the NBA for six seasons and was twice an All-Star.
11. Randy Moss, DuPont (W.Va.) now Riverside (Belle, W. Va.), 1995
Moss played four sports at DuPont and earned All-State honors in three of them. He was an All-American in football while leading DuPont to back-to-back state championships. He was also the state Player of the Year in basketball two years in a row. In his only year on the track team, he won the 100- and 200-meter events. He went on to a Hall of Fame career as a receiver in the NFL.
12. Mel Renfro, Jefferson (Portland, Ore.), 1960
The Democrats land two players from the same era on this list (Terry Baker is the other) as Renfro was a football All-American by Scholastic Coach Magazine while playing on two Jefferson teams regarded among the best in the nation in 1957 and 1958. He was also the Track and Field News National High School Athlete of the Year in 1960, excelling in the low and high hurdles, the long jump and the relay. He played 14 years in the NFL and was a 10-time Pro Bowl player. He is a member of the National High School, College Football, NFL and Oregon Halls of Fame.
13. John Henry Johnson, Pittsburg (Calif.), 1949
A Hall of Fame football player, Johnson was a three-sport star in high school in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was a Wigwam Wiseman All-American in football after rushing for 870 yards on 96 carries with 90 points. He was also All-Northern California first team in basketball, averaging 15.6 points per game. In the discus at the state meet, Johnson set a new state record with a toss of 145 feet, 2 inches. He played 13 years in the NFL and was a four-time Pro Bowl player.
14. Kyler Murray, Allen (Texas), 2015
Murray is the first athlete ever chosen in the first round of both the NFL and MLB drafts. Murray was the ninth overall selection in the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s and was an All-State baseball player in high school. A standout quarterback in high school, Murray, was the MaxPreps National Player of the Year after leading Allen to a 42-0 record in games he played. He won the Heisman Trophy with Oklahoma in 2018 and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
15. Terry Baker, Jefferson (Portland, Ore.), 1959
Baker was a three-sport athlete at Jefferson, leading the Democrats to state titles in football and baseball and a Portland city title in basketball. An All-American in football, Baker led Jefferson to a 23-0 record over two seasons in which the Democrats were regarded as one of the top teams in the nation. He was the leading scorer on the basketball team as well and played both football and basketball in college at Oregon State. He also pitched on the baseball team, striking out 14 in the state championship game. Ambidextrous, Baker threw a football left-handed, but he pitched right-handed. He won the Heisman Trophy while at Oregon State and played briefly in the NFL and Canadian Football League before becoming a lawyer.
16. Milt Campbell, Plainfield (N.J.), 1952
As an 18-year old, Campbell finished second to Bob Matthias in the decathlon at the Olympics. He was also the Track and Field News High School Male Athlete of the Year in 1952. Four years later he won the gold medal in the event at Melbourne. He scored 140 points in football as a senior and also won events at the state meet in swimming. Played briefly with the Cleveland Browns in the NFL. He’s a member of the National High School Hall of Fame.
17. Quinn Buckner, Thornridge (Dolton, Ill.), 1972
Buckner holds the distinction of winning a high school basketball state title, an Olympic Gold Medal, an NCAA championship and an NBA championship. He played on back-to-back state championship teams at Thornridge, including an unbeaten 1972 team that is generally considered the greatest in Illinois history. Buckner was also a high school All-American in football by Parade Magazine and Wigwam Wiseman. He played at Indiana and was a member of the last team to finish an NCAA season undefeated (1976). He played 11 seasons in the NBA.
18. Chris Weinke, Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.), 1990
Weinke played professionally in both baseball and football and was All-American in both sports as well. He was a Parade All-American in football after earning state MVP honors in Minnesota. He was also a Rawlings All-American in baseball after hitting 11 home runs. He was drafted in the second round of the MLB draft by the Blue Jays. He was also captain of the hockey team. Professionally, Weinke played baseball for seven seasons before returning to play quarterback at Florida State. There, he won the Heisman Trophy. He went on to play seven seasons in the NFL.
19. George McGinnis, Washington (Ind.), 1969
Named Mr. Basketball for the state of Indiana as a senior after leading the Continentals to a 31-0 record, McGinnis was also a Parade Magazine first team All-American. He also earned All-American honors from Parade as a junior. In football, McGinnis earned All-American honors as a receiver by four different publications. McGinnis starred in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers.
20. Willie Wilson, Summit (N.J.), 1974
A two-sport All-American, Wilson made first team Parade All-American in football and was a Rawlings All-American in baseball. Meanwhile in basketball, Wilson scored over 1,000 points in his basketball career, averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds his senior year. In baseball, Wilson batted .436 as a catcher, but he was taken by the Kansas City Royals in the first round of the MLB draft as an outfielder. Wilson received a football scholarship to the University of Maryland. He scored 24 touchdowns as a senior while rushing for 1,084 yards. He ultimately chose a baseball career and played 18 years in the league while making two All-Star games.
21. Dave DeBusschere, Austin Catholic (Chesterfield, Mich.), 1958
One of the few athletes to play professional baseball and basketball, DeBusschere was a Hall of Fame player in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks. He was a Parade Magazine All-American in basketball and he was given many offers straight out of high school to play professional baseball (there was no draft in 1965). He eventually played for the Chicago White Sox in 1962.
22. Dan Marino, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh), 1979
A Parade All-American in football, Marino was good enough to be drafted in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft, but the possibility of losing his football scholarship to Pittsburgh kept him from signing with the Tigers. He went 22-0 on the mound at Central Catholic and batted .513 for his career. He went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Miami Dolphins in the NFL.
23. Bruce Hardy, Bingham (South Jordan, Utah), 1974
As a prep, Hardy graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and was dubbed the “best schoolboy athlete in the country.” He certainly had the resume. He was a Scholastic Magazine All-American quarterback on the football team and earned All-State honors two years in a row. In basketball, he led Bingham to back-to-back state titles and was twice named state Player of the Year while also earning All-American honors. In baseball, the Miner catcher led his team to two state championships and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. He went to Arizona State, where he was an All-American tight end, and eventually played 12 years in the NFL.
24. Rod Woodson, Fort Wayne Snider (Ind.), 1983
A Parade and USA Today All-American in football, the future NFL Hall of Fame defensive back had nine interceptions on defense at Snider. He was also a standout in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, winning the two events at the state meet as a junior and senior. His winning times still rank No. 3 and 4 on the all-time state list.
25. Dave Logan, Wheat Ridge (Colo.), 1972
Logan holds the distinction of being one of the few athletes to be drafted by three different professional leagues. As a receiver at Wheat Ridge he caught 70 passes for 1,130 and 19 touchdowns and earned All-American honors from three organizations. During basketball season, he averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds and earned all-state honors. He also pitched a no-hitter in baseball and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds. He chose to play football and basketball at the University of Colorado. He was drafted by both the Kansas City Kings of the NBA and the Cleveland Browns of the NFL. He went on to an eight-year career as a receiver in the NFL.
26. LeBron James, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio), 2003
A three-time state Player of the Year in basketball and a three-time Parade All-American, James has established himself as an all-time great in basketball where he ranks as the league’s fourth all-time leading scorer. However, James was also a standout in football in high school, earning All-State honors as a wide receiver in football as a sophomore before giving up the sport his final two years of high school.
27. Herschel Walker, Johnson County (Wrightsville, Ga.), 1979
An eight-time state champion in track and field, Walker was most famous for his exploits on the gridiron where he was a Parade All-American. He set state records for career yardage with 6,137 yards and career touchdowns with 86. He had a 15-year career in the USFL and NFL
28. Allen Iverson, Bethel (Hampton, Va.), 1993
As a junior at Bethel, Iverson led his team to a state championship in both football and basketball and earned state player of the year honors in both sports. He was also a Parade Magazine First Team All-American in basketball. After getting in trouble with the law during his junior year, Iverson did not play football or basketball for Bethel as a senior. He went on to become an All-American at Georgetown and he had a Hall of Fame career in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers.
29. Gale Sayers, Omaha Central (Omaha, Neb.), 1961
Sayers earned All-State honors and was All-American honorable mention as a senior at Central. He was also a state champion in track and field, setting a state record in the long jump at 24-10.5. He was an All-American at the University of Kansas before an NFL Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Bears.
30. Steve Spurrier, Science Hill (Johnson City, Tenn.), 1963
Spurrier is best known as a national championship-winning coach while at Florida, but he began his career as a three-sport start a Johnson City. He was All-State and a high school All-American in football in 1962 and he was an All-State selection in basketball. In baseball, Spurrier was undefeated on the mound over three seasons while leading the Hilltoppers to a pair of back-to-back state championships. He was offered a college scholarship in basketball at Tennessee, but he chose a football scholarship to Florida. There, he won the Heisman Trophy as the quarterback of the Gators before going on to a 10-year career in the NFL.
31. Ron Curry, Hampton (Va.), 1996
One of the top quarterbacks in the nation as a senior, Curry was also a Parade All-American in basketball. The Crabber quarterback was a two-time Parade All-American in football while leading Hampton to back-to-back undefeated seasons — a pair of teams that rank among the greatest in prep history. In college, Curry played both football and basketball at North Carolina before moving on to a career in the NFL as a wide receiver.
32. Josh Booty, Evangel Christian Academy (Shreveport, La.), 1994
The USA Today Offensive Player of the Year in football, Booty threw for 11,700 yards and became the first high school quarterback to throw for over 10,000 yards in a career. Booty was also a baseball All-American by USA Today and Rawlings and was selected No. 5 overall in the 1994 MLB Draft by the Marlins. After a five-year baseball career, Booty went back to Louisiana State to play football, where he was an all-conference selection.
33. Tom Glavine, Billerica Memorial (Billerica, Mass.), 1984
A Rawlings first team All-American in baseball and went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Atlanta Braves. However, he was also a standout in ice hockey, scoring 47 goals and adding 47 assists his senior year in winning conference MVP honors and being drafted in the fourth round of the NHL draft by the Los Angeles Kings.
34. Terrelle Pryor, Jeannette (Pa.), 2008
The Parade National High School football Player of the Year as a senior, Pryor was also a Parade All-American in basketball at Jeannette. He led both the football and basketball teams to state championships and became the first Pennsylvania athlete to rush for over 4,000 career yards and pass for over 4,000 yards. He played quarterback at Ohio State and is currently a receiver in the NFL.
35. Earl “Dutch” Clark, Pueblo Central (Pueblo, Colo.), 1926
One of the first great all-around athletes, Clark excelled in multiple sports, but was best known for his record-setting exploits in football when he set state records for scoring in a season and a career. He also led the basketball team to the state championship and he set state records in track as well. He played seven seasons in the NFL and was a six-time All-Pro. He is a member of the National High School Hall of Fame, College and the NFL Hall of Fame.
36. Ted Ginn Jr., Glenville (Cleveland), 2004
The USA Today Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Glenville, Ginn was also one of the fastest players in the nation. He excelled in track and field, especially the 110-meter hurdles where he had the best times in the nation as a junior and senior. A three-time football All-American in college at Ohio State, Ginn has played 12 seasons in the NFL.
37. Julius Peppers, Southern Nash (Bailey, N.C.), 1998
A Parade All-American his senior year at Southern Nash where he was one of the top defensive lineman in the nation, Peppers also excelled in basketball and track. He was all-conference in basketball and went on to play college at North Carolina while also earning All-American status on the football team. In track, Peppers was a member of a state championship relay team and helped Southern Nash win the state championship. He’s enjoyed a 17-year career in the NFL.
38. Patrick Mahomes, Whitehouse (Texas), 2014
The MaxPreps Athlete of the Year as a senior, Mahomes was a Parade All-American in football, averaged 18 points per game in basketball and was the Class 4A state Player of the Year in baseball before being drafted in the 37th round of the MLB draft. He likely would have been drafted higher, however he was reportedly committed to playing football at Texas Tech. Mahomes went on to be a first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs and was named NFL MVP in his second year in the league.
39. Drew Henson, Brighton (Mich.), 1998
A record-setting athlete in Michigan, Henson was a Parade All-American quarterback and the USA Today and Gatorade National Player of the Year in baseball. He finished second all-time in Michigan history with 5,662 career yards while in baseball he set the national record for career home runs with 70. He was drafted by the Yankees in the third round of the MLB Draft and had a brief career in the minor leagues while seeing a few games at the Major League level. He also played quarterback at Michigan and played for three different teams in the NFL.
40. Pat Richter, Madison East (Madison, Wis.), 1959
One of the longest tenured Athletic Directors in the nation while at Wisconsin, Richter started his athletic career as a three-sport star at Madison East. He was All-State in football and baseball and All-American in basketball. He played all three sports in college, winning nine letters. He was drafted the No. 7 overall pick in the 1963 NFL Draft and played for the Washington Redskins for eight seasons.
41. Stan Rome, Valdosta (Ga.), 1974
The Parade Magazine Athlete of the Year for 1974, Rome was a Parade All-American in both football and basketball as a senior. He still ranks among the nation’s all-time career receiving leaders with 201 catches for 4,447 yards and 45 touchdowns. Valdosta, the winningest high school football team in prep football history, was 41-4 with Rome on the varsity. He also played basketball for four years on the varsity and averaged 32 points per game as a senior. He played both basketball and football at Clemson and was drafted by both the NFL and NBA. He played in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs.
42. Rafer Johnson, Kingsburg (Calif.), 1954
A four-sport star, Johnson is most famous for winning the decathlon at the 1960 Olympics. He also won the silver medal in the 1956 Olympics and was the California High School decathlon champion as a senior. He also starred on the football field, landing a spot in the California Shrine All-Star Game. He also played basketball and baseball and was good enough on the hardwood to play college basketball at UCLA.
43. Dick Groat, Swissvale (Pa.), currently Woodland Hills (Pittsburgh), 1948
Considered one of the top baseball players on the East Coast, Groat played in a U.S. All-American All-Star game two years in a row at Yankee Stadium. He was also the top scorer in Western Pennsylvania, averaging well over 20 points per game. He went on to play 14 seasons in the Major Leagues and was an All-Star eight times. However, he also played basketball at Duke and was the national player of the year after scoring an NCAA record 839 points. He was drafted No. 3 overall by the Fort Wayne (later Detroit) Pistons and played one year in the NBA. His NBA career was cut short by the Korean War.
44. Curtis Conway, Hawthorne (Calif.), 1989
The California state champion in the 100 meters as a senior, Conway was a Track and Field News All-American in the event. He was also a Parade Magazine All-American as a quarterback. Conway attended Southern Cal as a wide receiver and went on to a 12-year career in the NFL.
45. Dorial Green-Beckham, Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.), 2012
Ranked by Tom Lemming as the best wide receiver prospect since Randy Moss, Green-Beckham was a three-sport athlete like Moss. He was the MaxPreps Athlete of the Year after setting national records in football (6,358 career receiving yards), was the Class 5 state Player of the Year in basketball (as a sophomore and senior) and won the 100 meters and triple jump at the state meet as a freshman. Played in the NFL with several teams.
46. Basil Shabazz, Pine Bluff (Ark.), 1991
A four-sport star at one of the more historic athletic programs in Arkansas, Shabazz was one of the top running back recruits in the nation. He also was an All-State player in basketball, set a state record in the 200 meters (21.04) and was a third-round draft pick by the Cardinals in the 1991 MLB draft. He got as high as the AA level before trying college football. Injuries, however, ended his football career as well.
47. Scott Dierking, West Chicago (Ill.), 1973
One of the few athletes to be both a football All-American and a wrestling All-American. Dierking led West Chicago to a 7-1 conference record in 1972 while rushing for over 1,200 yards. He was also undefeated as a 185-pound wrestler, winning over 30 matches and earning a spot on the USA Wrestling All-American Team. He was an All-Big Ten running back at Purdue and he played eight years in the NFL, mostly with the New York Jets.
48. Tim Couch, Leslie County (Hyden, Ky.), 1996
The list of high school athletes who have scored over 3,000 career points and thrown for over 11,000 career yards has one name — Tim Couch. One of the top athletes in Kentucky prep history, Couch earned Parade All-American honors after setting the national career passing yardage mark with 12,104 yards. He also scored 3,023 points in basketball and averaged over 36 points a game as a junior. He went on to win All-American honors at Kentucky and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft.
49. Craig Landis, Vintage (Napa, Calif.), 1977
Known now as a professional sports agent with Mike Trout as a client, Landis was a two-sport All-American in high school. He was a Rawling All-American in baseball after batting .473 as a senior. He went to the San Francisco Giants with the No. 10 overall pick in the 1977 draft. He had signed with UCLA after earning Parade Magazine All-American honors in football. He rushed for 2,125 yards in his career and passed for 2,048 yards. Landis played six seasons in the minor leagues, including three at Triple AAA, before going back to Stanford to play football as a defensive back.
50. Tony Clark, Christian (El Cajon, Calif.), 1990
One of the highest single-season scorers in California state history, Clark actually had a long career as a professional baseball player. He averaged 43.7 points per game as a senior while leading Christian to the state championship game. He played college basketball at Arizona and San Diego State, but also played minor league baseball after being drafted No. 2 overall by the Detroit Tigers. He was a Rawlings All-American in baseball as a senior at Christian. He played 15 years at the Major League level and was an All-Star in 2001.