By David Fong
Regional Sports Content Manager
TROY — In the 118-years of of Troy High School football, thousands of players have passed through the program.
Hundreds more have gone on to play college football.
In more than a century, however, only seven have made it to the highest level and played in at least one NFL regular season game.
“You are talking about the best football players in the world when you get to that level,” Troy High School coach Scot Brewer said. “It’s the best of the best. Just being able to play at the college level is a huge honor — but then to play in the NFL is something else entirely.”
A number of players have come close — the late Randy Walker played in preseason games with the Cincinnati Bengals following his career as a running back at Miami University, while Brewer’s younger brother Ryan made it to the final cut with the Baltimore Ravens following his career as a running back at South Carolina, just to name two — but according to the website pro-football-reference.com, a database of every NFL player, only seven Troy High School graduates have played in an NFL regular season game.
How elite is that club?
The fact that Troy has had seven players go on to the NFL puts it amongst the state leaders. Canton McKinley has had 30 players go on to the NFL, more than any high school in Ohio. Massillon Washington is second with 20 NFL players. In the Miami Valley area, Troy has had more than any school — including traditional area powerhouses such as Wayne, Centerville and Northmont — with the exception of Dayton Steele (11), the University of Dayton Prep School (nine) and (nine).
It bears mentioning, however, that Dayton Steele and the University of Dayton Prep School no longer exist. And of the 11 Dayton Steele players to play in the NFL, all of them played in the 1920s for the now-defunct Dayton Triangles of the American Professional Football Association, the forerunner of the NFL. Meanwhile, seven of the nine University of Dayton Prep School players also played in the 1920s for the Dayton Triangles.
Of the nine Springfield High School graduated to play in the NFL, four played for either Springfield North or Springfield South High Schools, after Springfield was split into two schools in 1960, but before North and South merged in 2008.
Troy’s seven NFL players matches the total of all other Miami County schools combined. Piqua had five players go on to play in the NFL (Craig Clemons, Dave Gallagher, Matt Finkes, Quinn Pitcock and Brandon Saine), while Covington (Tim Vogler) and Milton-Union (Charlie Green) each had one.
With all of that being said, here’s a look at the seven Trojans who went on to play in the NFL:
Bob Ferguson (1962-1963)
Following his record-setting career as a fullback at Troy High School, Ferguson went on to become a two-time All-American at The Ohio State University. As a senior in 1961, Ferguson won the Maxwell Award, while finishing second behind Syracuse’s Ernie Davis in the Heisman Trophy voting.
After his career at Ohio State, in the spring of 1962, Ferguson actually was a first-round draft by both the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers (fifth overall) and the AFL’s San Diego Chargers (eighth overall) before those two leagues merged. His rookie year, Ferguson played in 13 games with the Steelers, carrying the ball 20 times for 37 yards, while catching one pass for 6 yards. He also returned a pair of kickoffs for 30 yards.
His second season in the NFL, Ferguson played for both the Minnesota Vikings, carrying the ball twice for 3 yards and the Steelers, where he carried the ball 43 times for 171 yards and a touchdown, while catching three passes for 7 yards.
Ultimately, a devastating knee injury cut short Ferguson’s season and his NFL career.
Tommy Myers (1965-1966)
Myers still holds nearly every passing record at Troy. Following his graduation, Myers went on to play quarterback at Northwestern University, where he earned All-American honors as a sophomore.
Like Ferguson, Myers was taken in both the NFL and AFL drafts following his college career. He was taken by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round (46th overall) of the NFL Draft and the Denver Broncos in the 12th round (89th overall) of the NFL Draft.
Myers elected to sign with the Lions. He played in just two games over the course of two seasons with the Lions, completed 3 of 6 passes for 16 yards.
Tommy Vaughn (1965-1971)
Myers’ favorite target at Troy was Tommy Vaughn, who still holds nearly every receiving record at Troy.
After graduating from Troy, Vaughn went to Iowa State University, where he earned All-Big 8 honors on both offense and defense during his career. He also was named an All-American while playing for the Cyclones.
Like both Myers and Ferguson, Vaughn was drafted by both NFL and AFL teams following his graduation. He was taken in the fifth round (57th overall) by the Lions in the NFL Draft and in the 11th round (81st overall) by the Broncos.
Vaughn signed with the Lions, where he would enjoy a seven-year career as a defensive back and kick returner. During his career with the Lions, he recorded nine interceptions and recovered three fumbles. He also returned 33 punts for a 9.0-yard average and 63 kickoffs for a 25.7-yard average.
Elmo Boyd (1978)
Boyd — whose mother feared he would get injured playing football — did not play high school football until his senior season at Troy. That one year was all it took, however, to earn a scholarship offer from Eastern Kentucky University.
He continued to turn heads with his blazing speed while in college, and eventually was selected in the third round (65th overall) of the 1977 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
In his lone NFL season, Boyd played for both the 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. He started seven games with the 49ers, catching nine passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. He played in two games with the Packers, where he did not record a catch.
Gordon Bell (1976-1978)
Bell, a teammate of Boyd’s, was a two-time, first-team All-Ohio selection at halfback for the Trojans. He still is amongst the school leaders in a number of rushing categories.
Bell played collegiately at the University of Michigan under legendary coach Bo Schembechler, earning All-Big Ten and All-American honors. Following his graduation from the University of Michigan, he was taken by the New York Giants in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 1976 NFL Draft.
Bell played two years with the Giants and one year with the Saint Louis Cardinals. Bell played in 30 games in his NFL career and finished with 90 carries for 319 yards and two touchdowns, 32 catches for 259 yards, 16 punts returns (6.4-yard average) and 38 kickoff returns (20.1-yard average).
Jon Dumbauld (1986-1987)
A star player on a series of relatively unheralded Troy teams — of the seven Troy players that went on to the NFL, Dumbauld is the only one to never play on a team that won at least one league championship — Dumbauld went on to play defensive end at the University of Kentucky.
Following his college career, Dumbauld was taken in the 10th round (253rd overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. Dumbauld played for the Saints in nine games his rookie season, then played in six games with the Philadelphia Eagles the following season.
Kris Dielman (2003-2011)
The only one of Troy’s seven players to go undrafted also had the most successful NFL career.
An All-Ohio linebacker and tight end at Troy, Dielman — an Indiana native — played collegiately at Indiana University, where he earned All-Big Ten honors as both a tight end and defensive tackle. Dielman got overlooked in the 2003 NFL Draft.
He signed on as a rookie free agent with the San Diego Chargers, however, and made the move to guard, a position he had never played before. Not that it mattered, as Dielman quickly worked his way into the starting line-up his third year in the league and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection with the Chargers.
A series of concussions prematurely ended Dielman’s NFL career.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong