Commentary

Then & Now: McCoy returns to form

Updated: October 28, 2009, 12:50 PM ET
By Greg Biggins | ESPNRISE.com

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. This week, we look at Colt McCoy, the Lonestar State's reigning college football hero and Heisman candidate, as well as Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson and a star in the making in Ravens RB Ray Rice.

Who: Texas Longhorns
QB Colt McCoy

Then: McCoy completed 536 passes for 9,344 yards and 116 touchdowns at tiny Jim Ned (Tuscola, Texas) and ranks as the leading passer in state 2A history. He flashed the form that would make him an All-American while attending Nike camps in College Station. McCoy grew up as a Texas A&M fan.

Now: By McCoy's standards, this season started relatively slow, but the senior caught fire in last weekend's 41-7 win over Missouri. He completed 26 of 31 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. The four-year starter was the Heisman Trophy runner-up a year ago.

Who: Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice

Then:Rice was an under-the-radar player out of New Rochelle (N.Y.) until bursting onto the scene with a 4.59 40-yard dash at the Nike camp at Penn State. He led his team to a state championship his junior year and a runner-up finish his senior year.

[+] EnlargeAndre Johnson
Tom HauckAndre Johnson was the nation's top wide receiver coming out of Miami Senior in 1999.

Now: Rice was a second-round pick (55th overall) by the Ravens in 2008. He had a solid rookie season, earned the starting job during the '09 preseason and rushed for 108 yards in the team's opener. He scored his first NFL touchdown in Week 3.

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson

Then: Johnson was the nation's top receiver recruit coming out of Miami (Fla.) Senior in 1999, when he caught 31 passes for 908 yards and 15 touchdowns. At the University of Miami, Johnson was co-MVP (with QB Ken Dorsey) of the 2002 Rose Bowl. He had 199 yards receiving and two scores in the Hurricanes' 37-14 national championship win over Nebraska.

Now: Johnson was the third overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft and is recognized as one of the top five receivers in the league. He's the Texans' all-time leading receiver with 524 receptions for 7,013 yards in six seasons and has made the Pro Bowl three times.

Greg Biggins is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's West recruiting blog and handles player personnel for the Nike Football Training Camps for ESPNRISE.com.