JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - According to a report by the National Federation of State High School Associations football had the highest number of participants with 1,086,748 in the 2016-17 school year. Out of that group less 5 percent are likely to go on and play division one football. That number gets even smaller when it comes to playing in the NFL.
This year Trinity Christian is shattering all of those numbers. Later this month there could be as many as five former Conquerors selected in the 2018 NFL draft. Jeff Holand, Kevin Toliver, Kendrick Norton and Andre Smith all graduated from Trinity in 2015. When they were sophomores Nick Washington, who went on to play at Florida, was their senior teammate.
By the end of this month all five former Trinity Christians stars could be playing in the NFL.
“When you think back on it you have to say that it’s impressive because it says a lot about the young men that left here and went on to play college football,” said Trinity Christian head coach Verlon Dorminey. “Not only where they great here [in high school] but they were great at the next level. A lot of times that doesn’t happen. You see kids leave high school and then once they get to college they get lost in the shuffle and don’t make it. It says a lot about them that they were able to carry over that work ethic to just be able to get this opportunity to play in the NFL.”
Of the group several have come back to Trinity’s campus to speak with the current football team. Having them around makes Dorminey’s job that much easier.
“It gives them a glimpse of what has to happen in order for them to achieve that same level of success, said Dorminey. “It’s also great for our tradition. Kids really understand what they have to do in order from them to get there.”
Holland made his return to Trinity on Wednesday. After leaving Auburn following his junior season Holland has been working out in Miami to prepare for the draft. As an edge rusher Holland is projected to be selected anywhere from the end of the first round to the third or fourth round.
“I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for Trinity,” said Holland who won back to back state championships with the Conquerors in 2013 and 2014. “Me and these guys worked hard to get here and this isn’t a hand out. We made it a rule that we were going to come in here and it was time to get to work and get the job done. It’s a blessing for us to be in the position we’re in.”
All five players competed on the practice fields at Trinity and Holland says that will carry over to the NFL as well.
“I told KT [Kevin Toliver] I bet a have a sack before he gets his first interception. It’s all love, we’re all brothers but at the same time we compete in everything we do.”
News4Jax reached out to the NFL to find out what's the record for most players from a high school taken in a single draft. Going back the last couple of years St. Thomas Aquninas (Fort Lauderdale) had the most players with four selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.
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