The city of Las Vegas has produced some great football talent, whose dreams may be manifested in late April.
With the 2023 NFL Draft a little under a month away, we're spotlighting a few top prospects that call Southern Nevada home. All of these players have left Clark County to find success in the SEC and the Pac-12, and it's not impossible that one of them may return home to play in the Silver and Black.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Quarterback, UCLA
High School: Bishop Gorman
Before arriving to UCLA, Dorian Thompson-Robinson was perhaps the most electric quarterback in NIAA football history.
Thompson-Robinson was the No. 2 ranked dual-threat quarterback in the nation by ESPN and Rivals. The four-star prospect was an Under Armor All-American, who threw for 3,275 yards and 38 touchdowns his senior high school season, while also rushing for 426 yards and seven touchdowns. Bishop Gorman won the 4A state championship each of his four years.
His family is deeply rooted in the city of Las Vegas, as his mother is a professor at UNLV. He's fond of his experience of growing up in Las Vegas, and has been to Allegiant Stadium multiple times to watch his friends play at UNLV, and has taken the field himself, playing in the East-West Shrine Bowl earlier this year.
"Everyone outside of Las Vegas thinks you go to The Strip all the time. I would say I grew up very chill in comparison to what a lot of other people think," Thompson-Robinson told Raiders.com. "I definitely enjoyed my time in Vegas. It was super fun, we had a ton of success and that's always fun when you're winning. My high school really taught me how to be selfless, I switched positions there to try and help the team out and we ended up winning a bunch of games with me playing receiver as well. It was definitely a fun ride, I definitely enjoyed it."
The former Bishop Gorman quarterback's success translated over well in the Pac-12. In five seasons as Bruin, he threw for nearly 11,000 passing yards and 88 touchdowns, adding 28 touchdowns on the ground. He leaves UCLA as their all-time leader in total offense, completions, total touchdowns, touchdown passes and passing yards. He said he met with the Raiders at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash and the fastest 10-yard split (1.51 seconds) of all quarterbacks in attendance.
"I think my experience will help me early on. I think it will equate to less road bumps in the process to start out with," Thompson-Robinson said of what he could bring to an NFL team. "Obviously when you come in as a rookie, the game speed is little different. The type of football you're playing is a little different. I think all of my experiences I had in college will help me early on."
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Kyu Blu Kelly, Cornerback, Stanford
High School: Bishop Gorman
Another standout from Bishop Gorman High School is Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly.
He was a top-tier defensive back in the state of Nevada, named to First Team All-State defense, an All-League First Team cornerback and Defensive MVP his senior season. He was also a two-sport in Las Vegas, earning MVP honors in track and field his junior year.
"Playing football for Bishop Gorman is one of the best college preps you could ever get," Kelly said at the Reese's Senior Bowl in February. "I've been used to the grind and how serious a business this is since high school. It was great coaching and they get to play some of the best competition those first four games against national talent. I think it's one of the best college prep high school football programs in the country, and it still is to this day."
At Stanford University, Kelly became an immediate contributor as a freshman. He compiled 111 solo tackles, 23 passes defended and three interceptions in his four-year career. He was also a two-time All-Pac-12 Second Team selection.
He has a clear picture of what it'll take to be successful in the NFL as his father, Brian Kelly, played cornerback for 11 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Detroit Lions.
"It's the biggest blessing in my whole entire life just having him in my corner since Day 1," Kelly said of his dad. "He was my weight trainer before college and my mentor. He watches film with me. He's going over technique with me and also being a father at the same time. Teaching me how to be a man and grow up in this world. It's the biggest blessing anyone could have."
At the Scouting Combine, Kelly ran a 4.52 40-yard dash, and recorded a 36-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-11 broad jump. He also recorded five total tackles in the Reese's Senior Bowl, coached by Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
Darnell Washington, Tight End, GeorgiaHigh School: Desert Pines
Born and bred in the city of Las Vegas, Darnell Washington is looking to make an immediate impact in the NFL.
The 6-foot-7, 265-pound tight end has the physical traits and college resume ready to jump on the scene. Washington attended Desert Pines High School, where he was a football and basketball star.
"Darnell is a very unusual athlete," said Tico Rodriguez, head coach of Desert Pines football team. "In my 26 years of coaching, 22 in Las Vegas, I've never coached an athlete like that, and I've coached some great athletes. But his size, speed and skill - there was a reason he was a five-star [recruit] coming out of high school. He was a natural, gifted, big athlete that comes around once in a lifetime."
The five-star prospect committed to the University of Georgia where he won two straight national championships. In those two seasons, Washington caught 38 passes for 608 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He took the Combine by storm in Indianapolis, recording the fastest 20-yard shuttle of all tight ends (4.08 seconds), 21 reps on bench press and a 4.64 40-yard dash.
Cedric Tillman, Wide Receiver, TennesseeHigh School: Bishop Gorman
One of Dorian Thompson-Robinson's main targets at Bishop Gorman was Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Cedric Tillman.
Tillman was apart of a Gaels squad that won multiple state championships alongside Thompson-Robinson and Kelly. The Las Vegas native was a three-star prospect by 247 Sports before going to Knoxville, Tennessee, to play in the SEC. He caught 37 passes for 774 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior at Bishop Gorman.
Going from one potential NFL-bound quarterback to another, Tillman flourished with Hendon Hooker under center for the Volunteers. Tillman caught 101 passes for nearly 1,500 receiving yards and a whooping 15 touchdowns in his last two seasons. It's also notable he comes from a NFL bloodline as his father, Cedric Tillman Sr., played four seasons as a receiver for the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars.
At the Scouting Combine, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver ran a 4.54 40-yard dash with a 37-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-8 broad jump.