Here are five former prep athletes deserving some recognition this week.
Jackson playing at Waldorf
Keylan Jackson, one of the state’s few three-sport student-athletes who excelled during an outstanding prep career at St. Paul Johnson High School, is having quite the football season at Waldorf University (Iowa).
A 6-foot tall, 222-pound defensive lineman for the Warriors, Jackson, who starred in football, basketball, and track during his time with the Governors before graduating in 2018, has 19 tackles (10 solo, 9 assists) and three sacks in six games.
McDonald contributing quickly for the Gophers
Though the University of Minnesota football team lost big to the University of Michigan a couple of weeks ago, there was one recognizable name being called play after play when the Gophers were on defense.
The name was Craig McDonald.
McDonald, a defensive back, who starred in football and basketball at Minnehaha Academy, was playing his first game since being granted eligibility after playing at Iowa State University and Auburn University. While in high school, he led the RedHawks to the Class 4A state football championship.
Hooker making mark in NFL
Former Park Center High School and University of Iowa football standout Amani Hooker is a member of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.
While at Park Center, the 5-foot-11-inch, 210-pounder, currently in his fifth NFL season, was one of 10 finalists for Minnesota’s Mr. Football in 2015.
From there he had an outstanding collegiate career with the Hawkeyes, including being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and All-Big Ten Honors in 2018.
Hooker was a fourth-round NFL draft pick (116th) after forgoing his senior year in 2019.
Hall of Fame inductions
Two of the latest notable inductions into the St. Paul Central Athletics Hall of Fame are track phenoms Elena Swan-Davis and Melvin Carter III.
Swan-Davis, a 1994 graduate who also starred for the basketball team, teamed with Toya Poole, Tia Williams and Ebonie Collins to capture the 400- and 800-meter relays and a share of the state Class AA track and field championship before embarking on a Hall of Fame collegiate career at the University of South Dakota.
Before becoming the first African American mayor of the city of St. Paul in 2018, Carter dominated the high school track scene, capturing the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter races in the 1997 Class AA state track meet.
He then went on to Florida A&M University, graduating with a degree in business administration.