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Washington stars led by football greats

We rank the all-time top 10 male athletes to gradate from George Washington High School.

Sharrif Floyd starred at Washington before going on to play for the University of Florida and now he’s on the Minnesota Vikings, who picked him with the 23rd pick in 2013. TIMES FILE PHOTO

Football has always been their thing.

So it makes sense football players dominate the list of best athletes of all time at George Washington High School.

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The Eagles flew off with 12 Public League championships and seemed to flood colleges with quality football players.

Before we get going into our list, let’s set the ground rules.

We’re picking players from the past 30 years. We are picking players from a mix of sports, and the list is very subjective. If you disagree, feel free to share your opinion in the comments section, on the Northeast Times Facebook page or via email. Obviously, our area is loaded with great players, so talented people will be left off.

A special thanks to high school sports website Tedsilary.com, which provided a lot of high school statistics for this series.

Here is our list of top 10 male athletes in the past 30 years at Washington.

1. Sharrif Floyd

The massive lineman graduated in 2010 and stopped by the University of Florida on his way to being selected with the 23rd pick in the 2013 draft by the Minnesota Vikings.

His professional career has been solid, but last year was reduced to one game because of a nagging knee injury.

His best game in high school was in the city championship of his junior year when he willed Washington to a 23–14 victory over La Salle. Floyd blocked a punt and caused all sorts of havoc for the favored Explorers.

In 43 NFL games, Floyd has notched 95 tackles and 9.5 sacks.

2. Jerry Butler

It’s hard to imagine a player having a better season than the speedy tailback had his senior season in 2004.

Butler rushed for nearly 1,800 yards and 22 touchdowns in helping the Eagles finish the season 12–1. The one loss was a historic one. It marked the first time a Public League team competed in the PIAA playoffs, and the heavy underdogs who played Archbishop Ryan in the annual Thanksgiving game three days prior fell to Easton 15–10 in a back-and-forth game at Northeast High School. Butler rushed for 118 yards in that game. For his career, Butler rushed for 3,300 yards

He went on to play at Wisconsin for a year before transferring to Delaware. There, he was in the running back rotation, and was the Blue Hens’ leading kickoff returner.

3. Jameel McClain

The 2002 graduate was talented in high school. That’s why he was awarded a scholarship to Syracuse University, but once he got there, he really came into his own.

McClain notched 11 sacks and 90 tackles during his college career. He didn’t get drafted, but once again he worked his way into contributing at the next level.

He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens, where he went on to see significant playing time with a defense that included Ray Lewis. After a year as a reserve, McClain became a starter in 2009, and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2012.

He later signed with the New York Giants as a free agent before injuries forced him to retire in 2015.

He returned to the Ravens this year, taking a job in the team’s front office working as the assistant director of player development.

4. Bruce Perry

After spending his freshman year at West Catholic and his sophomore and junior years at Cardinal Dougherty, the 1999 graduate came into his own while playing at Washington. He rushed for 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns in helping the Eagles go 12–1 before falling in the Public League semifinals.

Perry then starred at Maryland. He had strong sophomore and junior seasons, but he battled injuries as a senior. Still, he was the fourth all-time leading rusher in school history.

After college, he returned home when he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2004 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Once again, he was plagued by injuries, but he recovered and started the final game of the season.

The following year, during training camp, he was moved to defense, where he worked in at cornerback, but after two games, was released.

He finished his playing days in the Canadian Football League, where he played for the Montreal Allouettes.

5. Dominique Curry

The three-sport star was a teammate of Jerry Butler’s, but he also was a standout on the basketball court and on the track. The two-way end played a huge role in helping the Eagles to the historic season.

While Curry wasn’t a coveted recruit out of high school, he went on to enjoy a great college career.

Curry spent three years at Cheyney, where he caught 134 passes for more than 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also excelled on the basketball team, scoring more than 1,000 points, and was one of the team’s leading rebounders during his junior year. He transferred to California University of Pennsylvania for his senior season, where he was primarily a special teams star.

In 2010, Curry signed with the Carolina Panthers as a rookie free agent and played 16 games for the team in 2011, mostly as a special teams player. During the offseason, he was signed by the Detroit Lions, but didn’t make the team.

He finished his pro career by playing for the San Jose SabreCats and the Philadelphia Soul in the Arena Football League.

6. Aaron Wilmer

This 2010 graduate was a talented baseball player for the Eagles, but he was even better in football, leading the Eagles to consecutive Public League championships during his junior and senior seasons.

After a year at West Chester, he transferred to Delaware Valley University, where he posted monster numbers. He ended his career with 10,157 yards, with 84 passing touchdowns. A cool sidenote, his favorite target was former Philadelphia Eagle Rasheed Bailey, who also got his start in the Public League (Roxborough).

When his college career ended, Wilmer played for the British Columbia Lions and the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, and is now playing for the Spokane Empire in the Indoor Football League.

7. Charles Brown

Brown, a 2015 graduate, is the first member of this list who didn’t star on the football team. This basketball star was one of the top players in the Public League, and was named the MVP of the Public League B Division, averaging 16.5 points in his final season.

After a year at St. Thomas More, a prep school, Brown decided to play at St. Joseph’s University and he didn’t wait long to make an impact.

Last season, he was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team, scoring 12.8 points per game in 30 starts. He led the team in three-point percentage and free throw percentage while chipping in five rebounds a game and 1.1 assists.

8. Kengo Honda

Washington has had many good baseball teams and the Eagles always find themselves in the mix, but their best player may have been this 1987 graduate.

A shortstop, he hit at the top of the lineup and helped Washington to championships in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

In his senior season, he was the Public League MVP.

After a strong high school career, he went on to play college baseball at South Carolina.

9. Shareef Miller

We’re back to football, and this youngster enjoyed a strong senior season in 2014, which earned him a scholarship to Penn State.

He was a redshirt during his first season at Happy Valley and last season he became a player for the Nittany Lions during their run to the Rose Bowl.

Miller saw time in every game during his freshman year, making 22 tackles and registering two sacks for the 11–3 Nittany Lions.

According to preseason depth charts, Miller is slated to be a starter at defensive end when his sophomore year begins.

10. Maurice Bennett

A 2003 grad, Bennett was the sparkplug who helped the Eagles win Public League football championships during his junior and senior seasons.

A linebacker and fullback, he didn’t put up monster numbers on the ground, but he was responsible for opening up holes for running back Ryan Gore.

But his bigger impact was felt on defense, where he led a unit that registered five shutouts.

He went on to star at Lafayette, where he was one of the top linebackers on the team, leading the Leopards in tackles during his junior and senior seasons.

For his efforts, he was named First Team All-American by the Associated Press and the Sports Network.

Upon graduation, he signed with the Chicago Bears, but was cut before the season began. ••

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