Before becoming one of the leading rushers in the SEC for Texas A&M, Isaiah Spiller was a star sprinter for Klein Collins (TX). Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
The future of professional football will take center stage April 28-30 as teams add a fresh crop of talent through the 2022 National Football League Draft. Las Vegas will host the 87th annual meeting of franchises to select newly eligible players for the upcoming season.
The Draft highlight packages for each player will showcase the level of athleticism it takes to compete at the highest level of football. For many of the top prospects, those skills were honed on high school tracks and fields across America.
As specialization continues to become more prevalent in sports, many collegiate coaches with proven records of sending athletes to the pros still prefer recruiting multi-sport high school athletes to their programs. The speed, power, and competitive mindset that track athletes bring to the gridiron is reflected in the cream of the crop.
That's why coaches like Alabama's Nick Saban hit track meets on the recruiting trail, and Georgia's Kirby Smart, fresh off winning the national championship, went out and signed Darris Smith a 6-6, 225-pound edge rusher with 11.12/22.07/49.49 speed, and Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher continues to encourage running back Devon Achane and center Bryce Foster to compete for the Aggie track & field team, currently ranked No. 3 in the nation.
A deeper dive into the NFL Draft rankings by Scouts Inc shows that more than half of the top prospects this year have a track and field background. And that background isn't just limited to the skill positions, as one might expect. In comparison to the 2021 NFL Draft class, there is a significant increase in track and field background among the offensive guard, center, defensive end, defensive tackle, inside linebacker, and kicker/punter position groups.
Below is a comparison of the track and field makeup of each position group in Scouts Inc's rankings. You can learn more about the high school track and field careers of the players and follow their high school alma maters by clicking their hyperlinked MileSplit profiles.
|Scouts Inc Ranking Group||Total Athletes||Total Track & Field Athletes||Percentage||2021 Percentage|
|Kickers and Punters||12||4||33.33%||16.67%|