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Douglas brothers
the definition of student athletes

After working in this business for 20 years, I have watched hundreds of high school athletes come and go.

Some were great, some were good, while others were just average.

Jonesboro graduate Harry Douglas was in the great category.

Many who watched the wide receiver grow into a top-notch high school athlete shouldn't be surprised he is about to embark on a career with the Atlanta Falcons, signing last week after getting drafted in the third round of this year's NFL draft by the home-town team.

Harry Douglas is an outstanding football player with great hands and enough quickness to have a long and successful career hauling in passes on Sunday.

My first encounter with Douglas was when he was a middle school basketball player. Basketball could have easily been Douglas' way to college and athletic stardom as he teamed with his younger brother Toney to turn Jonesboro into one of the top teams in the state. The Douglas-led Cardinals played against Wheeler for the state title, losing a hard-fought battle Harry's senior year.

A breakout senior year on the football field changed the direction of Douglas' life as he picked the gridiron over the gymnasium.

Perhaps there's a bit of irony in the fact that the multi-sport athlete at Jonesboro signed a football scholarship at Louisville, a "basketball school."

With Douglas' help, the Cardinals elevated their football achievements, becoming one of the best teams in the nation and certainly in the Big East.

During his junior year, he introduced himself to many across the county, hauling in 10 passes as Louisville beat Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl.

But it's not all about football for Harry Douglas. The NFL rookie is the product of a solid family.

His parents, Harry and Stephanie, have always stressed the importance of education, and giving back to the community.

As star high school athletes, both Harry and brother Toney, volunteered their time at area hospitals, giving back to the community.

Even before Harry stepped on the field at Louisiville for his senior year, he was already a college graduate, earning a degree in political science and working in law firms around the Louisville area last summer.

This time next year, little brother Toney, the Florida State point guard, could be getting a taste of what it's like to be a professional athlete too.

Like his brother, he can also display his college diploma. Toney too has graduated before ending his college eligibility.

Not bad for two brothers destined for the NFL and NBA, and definetly the definition of true student-athletes.

(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com)