Teenage boys can download only so many photos of Sarah Michelle Gellar. The NFL, cognizant of that and of the fact that more than 90% of high school students will have Internet access by next year, last month launched www.nflhs.com. An integral part of the league's $100 million NFL Youth Football Fund campaign, which is intended to increase teen interest in football and breed future generations of NFL fans, nflhs.com may someday be remembered as an early step toward a national (and nationally televised) high school football championship. "It's a way to bring the high school fan from California together with the high school fan from Illinois," says the site's editor, Teddy Werner, who at 22 may still fit into his prom tuxedo. "I want the site to be a source for everyone who's involved in high school football."
The site works best when it shrinks the far-flung high school game. Want to know the top-ranked school in Delaware? Go to "Choose a State" and click on "DE." Scroll down farther to "MS" and learn that Marquez Dupree, the eldest son of enigmatic former Oklahoma rushing legend Marcus Dupree, is averaging 10.9 yards per carry at Philadelphia High. Another link, "National High School Football Records," is a veritable Booty call. Former Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian High quarterback Josh Booty, now at LSU, is the career leader in pass attempts (1,401), while his younger brother Abram, a wide receiver at Evangel Christian—and now, also at LSU—holds the national marks for receiving yardage (5,867), receptions (302) and touchdowns (83).
The site is especially useful for high school coaches and players. Coaches can access an interactive playbook that provides more than 200 plays, or glean articles on the strategies and fundamentals of the game. Players—and their parents—can learn how to obtain scholarships and other forms of financial aid and even get a rundown on the top summer camps. The site does suffer from being a promotional tool of the NFL. Links such as "Players' Corner" and "NFL Community" disrupt the grassroots feel. Consider that a minor quibble, though, like having to take biology lab right after lunch.
The group that may benefit the most from nflhs.com is neither the NFL nor high school athletes but mans the gridiron bridge that separates them, college football. For the road-weary college recruiter, nflhs.com may supplant Rand-McNally as his most valuable tool of the trade.