Three Long Beach Poly alums have been added to the long list of Jackrabbits to make it to the NFL after this weekend’s draft, which saw two Poly alums drafted and another sign as an undrafted free agent after the draft’s conclusion. The trio brings Poly’s NFL total to almost 80, still the most of any high school in America, and highlights the school’s enduring success in getting kids to the pros–only one other high school in California had multiple players drafted this season.
Quarterback Matt Corral was drafted out of Ole Miss in the third round by the Carolina Panthers, defensive back Jack Jones was drafted in the fourth round out of Arizona State by the New England Patriots, and running back Aaron Shampklin (who recently graduated from Harvard) was signed undrafted by the Cowboys shortly after the draft’s conclusion.
“We’re always happy and proud to add new members to the Poly NFL tradition,” said current Poly coach Stephen Barbee. “All three of them are good guys who’ve given back and who’ve shared words of wisdom with our program.”
That Poly NFL tradition runs strong with six players already in the league; Pro Bowl receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had been with the Steelers since being drafted, and recently signed as a free agent with the Chiefs. Smith-Schuster announced Tuesday that he’s hosting a free football camp at Poly for Long Beach middle schoolers on the evening of Friday, May 20.
In addition to the three Poly players who were drafted, two other Long Beach natives recently made the NFL. Elijah Hicks, a La Mirada alum who played at Cal, was drafted by the Chicago Bears, and wore a “Long Beach Certified” hoodie in his introductory video to the Chicago fans. Chris Steele, a Long Beach native who played at St. John Bosco and USC signed undrafted with the Steelers.
Corral made Poly history on the second day of the draft when he was selected by the Panthers, becoming the first Jackrabbit alum to be selected in the NFL Draft. Poly products have played the position before, but not much in the modern pass-happy NFL, as only 83 pass attempts have been made by a Jackrabbit in the NFL, a total Corral could eclipse in a few games if he’s able to earn a starting spot in Carolina away from Sam Darnold.
There is considerably more history of Poly success at the DB spot, where Jones joins a lengthy list of Jackrabbit alums to make the NFL (including current Ravens cornerback Iman “Biggie” Marshall, a high school teammate of Jones’.
Shampklin completes a dream career, after becoming just the second Jackrabbit ever to play for Harvard. He earned all-conference honors galore for the Crimson, and was a quick signee to the Cowboys after the draft was over, meaning that the team had him in mind throughout the process.
This year’s Poly team is likely to be the school’s most talented in a decade, with a Spring Showcase scheduled for May 10.