The two high schools in Valdosta, Georgia are Lowndes High School and Valdosta High School. Both schools have amazing football teams which helped give Valdosta the title “Winnerville.” Both schools’ history of wins and very few losses during multiple seasons makes it very easy to see why so many of their football players have gone on to become famous.
Here are the famous football players that have graduated from Valdosta High Schools:
1. Telvin Smith – Lowndes
Telvin Smith played college football at Florida State before being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Telvin earned his first AFC Defensive Player of the Week during week seven of his first season when he intercepted the ball from Brian Hoyer of the Cleveland Browns and returned it fifteen yards. His first touchdown was, coincidentally, during week seven in his second year when the Jaguars played the Buffalo Bills. He intercepted the football and returned it twenty-six yards for that touchdown.
2. Randall Godfrey – Lowndes
Randall Godfrey went on to play football at the University of Georgia before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1996. He spent four seasons with Dallas and had a record of 438 tackles, two interceptions, and five quarterback sacks. After he left the Cowboys, he went on to play with the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, and the Washington Redskins. He retired after the 2007 season, because he was not re-signed.
3. Malcolm Mitchell – Valdosta (pictured above)
Malcom Mitchell continued to play football during his time at the University of Georgia. From there, he was drafted by the New England Patriots during the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. During the season opener that year, he caught two passes for thirty-three yards. His first touchdown came during a game with the San Francisco 49ers on November 20th, when he caught a fifty-six-yard pass from Tom Brady.
4. Dana Brinson – Valdosta
Dana Brinson went on to play football at Nebraska before being drafted by the San Diego Chargers during the eighth round of the 1989 NFL Draft. He played for the Chargers for a year, before going to the Atlanta Falcons. He only played during the offseason and during practice with the Falcons for a year. After that, he went to play with the London Monarchs for a single season.
5. Jay Ratliff – Lowndes
Jay Ratliff played football at Auburn University before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys during the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Ratliff’s smaller size did not stop him from becoming one of the best tacklers on the team and he eventually earned All-Pro honors. He stayed with the Cowboys until November of 2013, when he signed a deal with the Chicago Bears. Once he went to Chicago, he decided that he wanted to be called Jeremiah instead of Jay, and he played quite well until he was released from the team in October of 2015.
6. Coleman Rudolph – Valdosta
Coleman Rudolph continued his football career as a member of the Georgia Tech football team. He was drafted by the New York Jets during the second round of the 1993 NFL Draft. He injured his knee during his rookie year and ended up going to the New York Giants to play from 1994 through 1996.
7. Vincent Burns – Lowndes
Vincent Burns was also known as Sweet Pea, and he played college football at both Northern Arizona University and the University of Kentucky. During the 2005 NFL Draft, he was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round. Unfortunately, he was never put in to a regular season game and was only with the Colts for one season.
8. Dusty Bonner – Valdosta
Dusty Bonner played football at Valdosta State University where he was a Harlon Hill trophy winner in both 2000 and 2001. Prior to his time at Valdosta State, he spent two years at the University of Kentucky. Dusty was signed to the Atlanta Falcons in March of 2003, but he never played in a regular season game. He then signed to play with the Lexington Horseman, before retiring from the field and joining the front office staff of the team.
These eight famous football players are only some of the people who began their time on the field at one of the Valdosta High Schools. There are many more as well as other alumni who became famous for other accomplishments.