|ESPN.com: Football||[Print without images]|
Arizona Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald has a chance to become one of the most prolific wide receivers in NFL history. Fitzgerald entered the 2008 season with 330 career receptions -- more than the NFL's career receptions leader, Jerry Rice, had at the same point in his career.
|Larry Fitzgerald used a lot of talent and a little bit of luck to become one of the best players in the NFL.|
Of course, Fitzgerald never saw this coming back in high school. As a ball boy for the Minnesota Vikings up through his senior year, Fitzgerald got an inside look at the talent it takes to be one of the league's best by watching Randy Moss and Cris Carter.
Fitzgerald took those lessons to the field at the Academy of Holy Angels (Richfield, Minn.), catching 73 passes for 1,254 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior before spending a post-grad year at Valley Forge Military Academy (Wayne, Pa.) to prepare for college ball at Pittsburgh.
ESPN RISE: What was the Academy of Holy Angels like?
Larry Fitzgerald: It was a phenomenal school. The teachers really cared about you so much. They'd do anything they had to do for you to be successful. The sports were quality. All the coaches really cared about the players. I still talk to my coaches there -- all five of them. They don't just care about you as an athlete. When I lost my mom in college, I can't tell you how many people were at the funeral. To have that outpouring of support from people like that means a lot to me. We had a great bond in my class. We did some good things. We never won a state championship, but I loved playing with those guys. I still talk to those guys. The love and passion the guys in high school play with -- it's not about money or fame. It's just about the love of the sport. That's what makes high school so pure.
Mike Tulumello covers high school sports for ESPN RISE.