Running a high school football program is about giving players the best chance to succeed at the next level. While it isn’t IMG Academy out of Bradenton, FL, there is a school out of Colorado that has managed to create a few notable names.
Fort Morgan, Colorado might not even be the biggest destination in the state, but it has had its fair share of success. What NFL players from Fort Morgan, Colorado have the program produced? Check out this guide below for those who have reached the peak, including players who are actively on an NFL roster as of the 2023 season.
Current Players from Fort Morgan in the NFL
The list of NFL players from Fort Morgan, Colorado is a short one. There are currently only two players who suit up on an NFL roster in 2023, with one alum to make note of. Let’s take a quick look at those who are currently playing from Fort Morgan, Colorado before we get into their individual achievements in the NFL.
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Top 3 Players in the NFL From Fort Morgan
This won’t be your normal list of players from a particular spot. There have been only three players to suit up in the NFL from Fort Morgan, Colorado, but each has managed to make a mark. In the future, there is no telling how many other NFL players from Fort Morgan, Colorado there will be.
For the time being, let’s put a focus on those who are currently doing it as well as the alum who have been there before. Without further ado, these are the three best players to have come from the Fort Morgan, Colorado program.
While there are two NFL players from Fort Morgan, Colorado currently, there is one who set the stage years ago. Joel Dreesen might not be a name that many NFL fans remember, but Colorado natives definitely know the name.
Attending Colorado State, Dreesen became a standout at tight end. He was first-team All-Conference in 2002 and 2004, second-team All-Conference in 2003, and earned an invite to the 2004 Senior Bowl. Ultimately, he became a sixth round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, going to the New York Jets.
After a less-than-notable run with the Jets, Dreesen signed with the Houston Texans as a free agent. Would have a decent season as a backup, catching a pair of touchdowns in 13 games that season. Following the 2008 season, Dreesen re-signed with the Texans, earning a three-year, $3.6 million deal.
By 2009, he became the starter after Owen Daniels went down with an injury. He finished that year with career-highs in receptions (26) and receiving yards (320) while catching a touchdown. The 2011 season was his best, catching 28 passes for 353 yards and a whopping six touchdowns.
Dreesen signed with the Denver Broncos ahead of the 2012 season for three years and $8.5 million. He had a great 2012, catching 41 passes for 365 yards and five touchdowns. Ultimately, injuries would get the best of him. He was released in 2014 by the Broncos due to a failed physical. It would be the last year of his NFL career.
Offensive linemen don’t often get the credit that they deserve. Because stats are sparse, it is difficult for them to point to anything that more casual fans can really grasp. The position becomes one of reputation, the best of the best being mentioned every year.
Jensen, a CSU Pueblo alum, has managed to carve out a nice place for himself in the NFL. But let’s take a step back and look at what he did in college. As a sophomore, he was named to the All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference second team. In his senior year, he finished fifth in the Gene Upshaw Award voting as a top offensive lineman.
Taken in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, he spent his first four years in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens. He had a very good run in Baltimore, ultimately signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent ahead of the 2018 season. He signed a 4-year, $42 million contract ($22 million guaranteed) to make him the highest-paid center in the league.
He was the starter for the Super Bowl LV champion Buccaneers and managed to be one of the three Bucs named to the Pro Bowl that year. He has since signed a three-year, $39 million extension with the Bucs, but has been battling knee injuries since then. He is currently on injured reserve but his absence is greatly felt by the rebuilding Bucs.
The 24-year-old out of Greely, CO has been a standout at every level. Like other notable high school players, he remained in the state, choosing the Colorado State Rams in 2018. He remained with the program through the 2021 season, ultimately being chosen in the second round (55th overall) in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
A three-star recruit coming out of high school, McBride had offers from Colorado, Kansas State, Cal, Wyoming, Navy, and Northern Colorado. McBride made an impact immediately, suiting up in all 12 games as a Freshman, starting in five of them. He pulled in seven passes for 89 yards and one touchdown. Just as important, he was an Academica All-Mountain West selection during his first year.
Though he briefly entered the transfer portal as a junior, he ultimately stayed with the team. In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he really broke out. In four games, he caught 22 passes for 330 yards and four touchdowns. That effort was good enough to land him on the All-Mountain West second team and even get him All-American honorable mention from Pro Football Focus.
McBride turned in a monster 2021 season for the Rams. He broke the CSU for career receiving yards by a tight end, picking up six 100-yard games out of 12 in 2021. He only turned in one game of 50 yards or less as well. He was named to the All-Mountain West Conference first team and became the first unanimous All-American in the history of Colorado State football. To cap things off, he won the Mackey Award as the best tight end in college football.
McBride has had a solid impact on what has been an abysmal Arizona Cardinals team. He has 48 receptions for 521 yards and a touchdown, slowly becoming a focal point as stalwart Zach Ertz continues to deal with injuries. Given the direction of the team, McBride certainly looks like he is going to be a focal point in the Cardinals offense going forward.
A Little Bit About the Fort Morgan Program
Though the 2023 season hasn’t exactly been a banner campaign, it wasn’t all that long ago that Fort Morgan was challenged for a state championship. As a matter of fact, the 2021 season was a near-perfect one, ending with the Mustangs raising the Class 3A state championship trophy.
The team had a loaded senior class that year, with the younger generation looking to recapture that success. In a surprisingly strong Colorado High School football scene, being able to get back to that level could create future NFL players from Fort Morgan, Colorado.
— Colorado State Rams 🐏 (@CSURams) July 13, 2022