Oregon's Derrick Malone looking to be next NFL player from Colton High School
LOS ANGELES – It’s usually a good year for a college football program when three of its guys get drafted in the NFL. But what about an NFL draft that features three products that came of the same high school?
Welcome to Colton High School, the proving grounds for Oregon linebacker Derrick Malone. In 2011, three former Colton Yellowjackets – Allen Bradford, Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright – were selected in the NFL draft, the most of any high school in the nation that year. As of 2013, five NFL players claim Colton, located about an hour east of Los Angeles, as their alma mater, according to a story by The Oregonian on Malone and fellow Duck and Yellowjacket Rodney Hardrick.
“We grew up trying to pursue excellence,” Malone said Wednesday at Pac-12 Football Media Day. “I’m really happy that my guys are in the league right now, and my goal is to someday join them.”
The Yellowjacket-turned-Duck also credits the strong sense of family within the Colton community to breeding success on the football field.
“I just feel like we have a tight bond. Once you’re from Colton, you’re always from Colton,” he said.
A defensive back and running back in high school, Malone is now one of the leaders on the Oregon defense as a linebacker who is coming off a 2013 campaign that earned him Pac-12 all-conference honorable mention honors. Leading the Ducks with 105 tackles will get you some accolades.
“I’m excited to be in this leadership role,” Malone said. “I know that I really have to step up and I have high expectations for this team to come together as a cohesive team, especially on the defensive side of the ball.”
With his degree in advertising already completed, Malone can focus more on helping the Ducks live up to their preseason expectations and work on improving his chances of becoming the next Colton grad to make it to the NFL.