For every Ronald Curry, there's a Lawrence Taylor.
For every Leroy Keyes, there's a Chris Hanburger.
For every Walter Bowser, there's a Kwamie Lassiter.
For every Doug Dickinson, there's a Dwight Stephenson.
And for every Earl Faison, there's a Mel Gray.
The Peninsula has had its share of high school athletic phenoms who attracted nationwide attention.
And the Peninsula has had its share of high school athletes who, while lightly regarded in high school, developed into athletes who played professionally at the highest level.
The story is almost legendary, how Mel Jones recruited Taylor out of the halls at Lafayette
Taylor was a baseball player, a rather large catcher. Jones thought he had enough athletic talent to help the football team.
Taylor played well enough by his senior year in 1976 to make the Eastern Region second team at defensive end, and he earned a scholarship to the University of North Carolina.
At UNC, he bounced around from position to position until coaches finally decided to put him at outside linebacker.
Halfway through his junior year, everything clicked. Taylor became a terror on defense.
Before his senior season in 1980, an assistant coach told an unbelieving sports writer that Taylor would be a first-round draft choice the next spring. Taylor backed up his coach's assessment, feasting on opposing quarterbacks and ball-carriers in an All- American season. The Atlantic Coast Conference named him its Most Valuable Player.
Taylor was a first-round pick. The New York Giants drafted him with the No. 2 selection and his impact was immediate. Before his career ended in 1993, he had played in 10 Pro Bowls, was the NFL Player of the Year in 1986, sacked quarterbacks 142 times and had 1,088 tackles.
The NFL named him to its Hall of Fame in 1999.
Hanburger didn't go to college immediately after high school. He joined the Army, then accepted a scholarship from the University of North Carolina.
Hanburger played both ways for UNC and was the all-Atlantic Coast Conference center as a junior and senior. The Washington Redskins picked him in the 18th round in 1965 and installed him at linebacker.
True greatness came later
Some top athletes don't reach their full athletic potential until after high school.
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