The NFL draft took place over the weekend and while many will be diving into their prowess on the football field we want to explore their connection to track and field. Below we'll go over the NFL draft board and look into what these New Jersey athletes accomplished at the high school level in our sport.
You'll see six of the nine athletes drafted on this track and field list. There will be some draftees with New Jersey origins not listed because they had little to no connection to track and field during their high school years.
New Jersey Track and Field in Order of Draft
Cesar Ruiz - Camden HS (NJ) / IMG Academy (FL)
Class of 2017 - Throws
SAINTS - OL
Ruiz was drafted by the Saints in the first round out of Michigan on the o-line. He was a thrower in high school competing at Camden before transferring to the IMG Academy in Florida after his sophomore season.
Through his sophomore year at Camden Ruiz had a best mark in the discus of 143-07 and an outdoor shot put best of 44-04. His sophomore indoor season he threw a PR of 49-01.75 before finishing the season 8th at the Group 2 Championships, his highest finish at the NJSIAA State Championship meet before his move to Florida.
Watch Jonathan Taylor defend his Group 1 State title in 2017 running 10.58.
Class of 2017 - Sprints
COLTS - RB
- 2x Meet of Champions Winner
Taylor was drafted by the Colts in the second round out of Wisconsin. Taylor had a very successful high school track career. A two time Meet of Champions winner and Group 1 State Champion in the 100 meter dash Taylor finished his high school career at Salem with a 100m dash PR of 10.49 (NWI) and a 21.53 (NWI) in the 200m.
Taylor ranked fifth on New Jersey's 2010s all-decade list for the 100m.
Class of 2017 - Sprints
Vikings - DB
Hand was drafted by the Vikings in the fifth round. While he doesn't have any open individual stats recorded we did find he put in some relay work for the sprints at Cherry Hill West during his time there.
Class of 2015 - Sprints
EAGLES - LB
Bradley was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the sixth round. During high school on the track he only competed outdoors and finished with recorded PRs of 11.16 (NWI) for the 100m dash and 22.24 (NWI) over 200m. His highest finish at an NJSIAA State meet was seventh during the 2014 Group 4 Championships when he clocked a wind aided 22.71 (+2.6).
Class of 2016 - Sprints / Jumps
RAMS - DB
Fuller was drafted by the Rams in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. Back in high school he had qualified for the NJSIAA Group 3 State Championships multiple times across the 100m, 200m, and long jump.
As a sophomore in the long jump he finish fifth at Group 3 Champs advancing to a 10th place finish at the Meet of Champions while clearing 21-11.25. As a junior, in 2015, Fuller won a North 1 Group 2 Sectional title with a jump of 21-10.25.
He finished his high school track and field career with recorded PRs of 22-08.75 in the long jump (his only mark his senior year), 11.01 in the 100m, and 22.61 in the 200m.
Class of 2015 - Sprints / Jumps
BUCCANEERS - LB
Russell was taken by the Buccaneers as a linebacker in the seventh round. In high school at Lakewood he competed across multiple disciplines. His recorded PRs are 155-1 in the javelin, 20-06.5 in the long jump, 11.50 in the 100m, and 22.98 in the 200m.
While some weren't drafted they were picked up in free-agency.
Myles Hartsfield - Sayreville HS - Panthers - Hartsfield was an All-American, Meet of Champions winner and New Balance Nationals Champion in the triple jump. He missed out on most of his senior year competition in high school due to the football team's hazing controversy at Sayreville that year, but came back to compete unattached at NBNO to hit a PR of 50-05 for the triple jump national championship. He ranked sixth on New Jersey's 2010s all-decade list for the triple jump.
Juwan Johnson - Glassboro HS - Saints - Johnson was a Group 1 State Champ in the 200m and held multiple Gloucester County Championship titles in varying sprint events. He finished high school with a PR of 10.88 in the 100m, 21.60 in the 200m, and 49.33 in the 400m.
Maurice Ffrench - New Brunswick HS - Chiefs - Ffrench qualified for the NJSIAA Meet of Champions multiple times across the 100m, 200m, and long jump events. His senior year in 2016 he won the Group 4 state title in the 100m and 200m and even led the Meet of Champions field out of prelims before finishing seventh in the final. Long jump PR was 22-7, 100m 10.69, and 200m 21.69.