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Can't Wait For Saturday | McCarthy, Burden adding to the prestige of N-G All-State tradition

Mar. 30—***

Historically, being named News-Gazette All-State Football Player of the Year has not been a predictor of future pro stardom. Sure, there were a handful of guy who made it to the NFL. A few with lengthy careers.

But the profile of the honorees is about to receive a major upgrade. The next two NFL drafts figure to include a former N-G POY among the first 10 or so picks,

It will start in late April, when 2019 honoree J.J. McCarthy goes off the board early. He won't be the first pick by the Chicago Bears, but the one-time Nazareth Academy quarterback is an almost certain first-rounder. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has the Michigan quarterback at No. 14 on his big board. Other draft gurus project him being picked much sooner

Unless I missed someone, which is always possible, McCarthy will become the first N-G POY selected in the first round.

It is a near lock that the number of POY first-rounders will double in 2025, That's when former East St. Louis receiver Luther Burden III, the 2021 honoree, is expected to go in the Top Five.

Burden is currently starring at Missouri, a program with a lot of positive traction. If the team wins nine games or more, which is possible, Burden could be inj the Heisman Trophy conversation.

Good to know that being an N-G POY doesn't slow the guys down.