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Area football players made mark in NFL

By Anthony Rhoads

When the NFL Draft rolls around this weekend, one of the players who could be taken is Maryland offensive guard C.J. Brooks.

Brooks, a former Morrow High School standout, has been projected to be chosen in the upcoming draft after a stellar collegiate career.

Brooks earned many awards in his time at Maryland including getting all-ACC honors in 2003-04. He also started more games than any other player in school history with 51.

One of the things pro scouts have liked about Brooks is his sheer strength. In spring testing, he had a 565-pound squat and bench 225 pounds 30 times. In 2003, he recorded a 695-pound squad, the second-best in school history by an offensive lineman.

If Brooks is drafted, he will join a long line of players from Clayton County who have gone on to the National Football League.

Here is a glance at some former area standouts who went on to the National Football League:

Jack Aaron (Forest Park, 1957-59) played college football at Clemson and had a short stint with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Robert Arnaud (Morrow, 1993-94) played football and ran track at Georgia before playing for the Baltimore Ravens. At Morrow, he was a running back/linebacker and was a state champion long jumper.

Earnest Grant (Forest Park, 1993-95) played at Arkansas-Pine Bluff and was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2000. He played for the Dolphins in 2000-01 and the Chicago Bears in 2003.

Grant, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound lineman, is currently on the practice squad with the Georgia Force.

Andre Hastings (Morrow, 1987-89) was one of the top high school football players in the country at Morrow, helping the Mustangs win a state title in 1987. He finished his high school career with 174 catches for 3,197 yards.

He went on to Georgia and played in the NFL from 1993-99 with Pittsburgh and New Orleans. He played in Super XXX for Pittsburgh, catching 10 passes.

Emmanuel McDaniel (Jonesboro, 1988-90) played for the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. At Jonesboro, he played running back and defensive back. He also was a champion hurdler in track.

Mareno Philyaw (North Clayton, 1992-95) was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2000 after playing collegiate football at Troy State.

Dainon Sidney (Riverdale, 1990-92) played in Super Bowl XXXIV for the Tennessee Titans. At Riverdale, he was a quarter, defensive back, return specialist and was a champion hurdler in track.

Hines Ward (Forest Park, 1991-93) has played for the Pittsburgh Steelers since 1998. He is a four-time Pro Bowler and has topped 1,000 receiving yards in the past four seasons. Before going on to the Steelers, he was a standout at Georgia.

At Forest Park, he was the Clayton County Offensive Player of the Year in 1992-93. In 1993, he ran for 1,111 yards and 14 touchdowns while passing for 1,575 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Scott Woerner (Jonesboro, 1974-76) was on Georgia's national championship team in 1980 and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. He was the Falcons' main punt returner during the 1981 season. He also stints with the New Orleans and the USFL. At Jonesboro, he was chosen as the Clayton County Sophomore of the Year in 1975 and the Back of the Year in 1976.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com .