Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Football [Print without images]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Then & Now: McCoy steps into starring role

By Brian Stumpf
ESPN RISE

Each week, ESPNRISE.com's Then & Now features three top performers from the past weekend's college and NFL games and takes a look back at their high school careers.

Philadelphia Eagles
RB LeSean McCoy

Then: "Shady," as he was nicknamed in high school, was a standout at Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.), earning state player of the year honors after rushing for 2,828 yards and 31 TDs as a junior in 2004. McCoy also posted one of the top 40 times ever recorded at a Nike Camp, 4.25 (stopwatch-timed) at the '04 Penn State Nike Camp. A broken ankle cut McCoy's senior season short, but he still finished his high school career with 6,640 yards and scored 75 TDs. McCoy rushed for 2,816 yards in his career and scored 36 TDs in his Pittsburgh career.

Now: McCoy filled in for injured Eagles starter Brian Westbrook on Sunday, rushing for 99 yards and the game-winning touchdown in Philadelphia's 24-20 victory over Chicago.

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford

Then: Stafford was an all-everything quarterback coming out of Highland Park (Dallas, Texas) in the Class of 2006, earning EA SPORTS National Player of the Year honors in 2005 after leading the Scots to a 15-0 record and a state title as a senior, passing for 4,018 yards and 38 TDs with just six interceptions. Stafford also claimed MVP honors at the 2005 Elite 11, outshining a notable group of signal-callers that included Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman and Jake Locker. After finishing his his high school career with over 8,800 yards and 94 TDs passing, Stafford was a three-year starter at Georgia, passing for 7,731 yards and 51 TDs.

Now: The No. 1 pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Stafford led a 38-37 come-from-behind win over Cleveland on Sunday, passing for 422 yards and five touchdowns. Stafford became the youngest QB in NFL history to pass for five scores in a game.

LeSean McCoy
LeSean McCoy overcame a leg injury in his senior year in high school to eventually become a second round draft pick of the Eagles.

Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams

Then: Williams, a 5-11, 200-pounder out of Stonewall Jackson (Manassas, Va.), established himself as one of the nation's top running back recruits in the Class of 2008 with a big junior season (1,574 yards rushing) and a solid outing at the 2006 Penn State Nike Camp.

Now: An afterthought in the preseason until starting running back Darren Evans was lost for the season with a knee injury, the redshirt freshman stepped up in the Hokies' first game against Alabama, rushing for two touchdowns, and he hasn't looked back. Williams rumbled for 120 yards and a season-best four TDs on Saturday in a 38-10 win over NC State, setting the Virginia Tech single-season rushing record in the process with 1,355 yards and counting.