Most Touchdowns in Michigan High School Football History
The list of the greatest high school football players in Michigan history reads like a who's who of Pro Bowlers, NFL All-Pros, Super Bowl champions and Pro Football Hall of Famers. Players like Andre Rison, Jerome Bettis, Mark Ingram Jr., Greg Jennings, Braylon Edwards and Tony Dungy all racked up accolades while scoring lots and lots of touchdowns for their respective schools.
But players who were credited with the largest Michigan high school football scores in state history are mostly ones the casual sports fan has never heard of (or heard of just in passing). But their accomplishments are still legendary.
These players found the end zone more than any others in Michigan's storied prep football history.
15. Marcus Woods — 90 Touchdowns
School: Harrison High School (Farmington Hills, Michigan)
Bottom line: Marcus Woods was ranked as the No. 8 all-purpose running back in the nation coming out of Harrison High, where he racked up 4,803 career rushing yards and added 44 receptions for 727 receiving yards.
Woods rushed for over 400 yards each of his first two seasons at the University of Missouri and was named to the Freshman All-Big 12 Team in 2004. He managed just 204 rushing yards over his final two seasons at Missouri.
14. Noah Herron — 92 Touchdowns
School: Mattawan High School (Mattawan, Michigan)
Bottom line: Noah Herron left Mattawan High with just over 5,500 career rushing yards, then became a four-year letterwinner at Northwestern, where he left as the school's No. 5 career rusher with 2,525 yards.
Herron was drafted in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL draft and played four seasons in the NFL for three different teams. In 2008, while playing for the Green Bay Packers, Herron famously thwarted a home invasion when he unscrewed a bedpost from his bed and incapacitated one of the burglars with it.
12. Kirk Elsworth — 94 Touchdowns (Tie)
School: Goodrich High School (Goodrich, Michigan)
Bottom line: Goodrich High's Kirk Elsworth scored a state single-season record 379 points in 2004, racking up 23 touchdowns along with kicking 57 PATs, a pair of two-point conversions and two field goals. It's almost 100 points more than No. 2 on the list.
Elsworth also had 2,867 rushing yards as a senior on the way to being named Flint Journal Player of the Year.
Elsworth lettered three years as a backup running back at Western Michigan.
12. Zurlton Tipton — 94 Touchdowns (Tie)
School: Parkway Christian School (Sterling Heights, Michigan)
Bottom line: After an all-state career at Parkway Christian, running back Zurlton Tipton went on to star at Central Michigan, where he had 2,463 career rushing yards and 34 touchdowns.
Tipton made the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and lasted two seasons with the team until running into legal trouble, when he was charged with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon after he fired an AR-15 into his girlfriend's house on Dec. 25, 2015.
Tipton died in 2018, at 26 years old, when he accidentally shot himself in the stomach while taking his guns out of his car.
11. Phillip Jones-Price — 95 Touchdowns
School: Reed City High School (Reed City, Michigan)
Bottom line: Phillip Jones-Price was a two-time all-state pick at Reed City High. He was also a three-time all-state pick in track and field.
Jones-Price has two of the greatest touchdown-scoring seasons in Michigan history. He scored over 40 touchdowns twice and as a junior in 2017 did it in a lot of different ways, with 37 rushing, two receiving and three kick return touchdowns.
Jones-Price currently plays for NCAA Division III Albion College, where he set the school record with a 98-yard rushing touchdown in 2021.
10. Tom Tyson — 97 Touchdowns
School: Whittemore-Prescott High School (Whittemore, Michigan)
Bottom line: Another small-school superstar to make the list, Whittemore-Prescott's Tom Tyson racked up 6,605 career rushing yards, including 2,659 rushing yards as a junior in 1994, when he had a whopping 323 carries and set the state single-season record with 44 touchdowns.
Tyson stayed in his home state to play college football at NCAA Division II Northwood University.
9. Benny Clark Jr. — 98 Touchdowns
School: Ravenna High School (Ravenna, Michigan)
Bottom line: Checking in at just 5-foot-7 and 180 pounds, Benny Clark Jr. led Ravenna High to a Class C state championship as a sophomore in 1994. Clark went on to play four seasons for Western Michigan, where he had 375 career rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Clark's son, Kobe Clark, became a star running back at Schoolcraft High in the late 2010s — the same school his father took down in the 1994 state championship game.
7. Chris Robinson — 99 Touchdowns (Tie)
School: Ovid-Elsie High School (Elsie, Michigan)
Bottom line: Chris Robinson's junior season at Ovid-Elsie High in 2008 was one of the greatest in state history. He rushed for 2,844 yards and 44 touchdowns while leading his school to a state runner-up finish.
Robinson added another 2,696 yards and 40 touchdowns as a senior before going on to star for NCAA Division II Grand Valley State. At GVSU, Robinson set the school's single-game rushing record on Oct. 25, 2014, with 261 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Findlay.
7. Mathew Sexton — 99 Touchdowns (Tie)
School: Clinton High School (Clinton, Michigan)
Bottom line: There aren't many Division I football players who come out of tiny, Clinton, Michigan, estimated pop. 2,336. Former star running back Mathew Sexton is one of them.
Sexton led Clinton High to a 45-4 record and a pair of state runner-up finishes before he signed with Eastern Michigan and converted to wide receiver, a position he played as a freshman in high school.
Sexton finished college ranked No. 13 in EMU history with 1,335 career receiving yards, most notably hauling in a 54-yard touchdown catch in a 34-31 win over Illinois in 2019.
6. Alex Grace — 102 Touchdowns
School: Swan Valley High School (Saginaw, Michigan)
Bottom line: Alex Grace set the Michigan state record with 2,962 rushing yards as a junior in 2013 and ran for over 2,000 rushing yards twice in his career at Swan Valley High. He also set a state record with eight consecutive games over 200 rushing yards.
Grace's college future was on the other side of the ball. He lettered four years as a linebacker at Western Michigan, where he was a team captain and started all 13 games as a junior in 2018.
5. Nick Hill — 104 Touchdowns
School: Chelsea High School (Chelsea, Michigan)
Bottom line: Chelsea High's Nick Hill took a "gladiator or warrior mentality" in becoming one of Michigan's greatest high school running backs of all time — as evidenced by the fact he's No. 9 on the state's career rushing list with 6,910 yards but No. 2 on the career list with 949 carries.
Standing just 5-foot-7, Hill led Chelsea to three district titles before he signed with Michigan State, where he was a four-year letterwinner, rushed for 1,125 career yards, 11 touchdowns and was the team's primary kick returner for two seasons.
4. Blake Dunn — 113 Touchdowns
School: Saugatuck High School (Saugatuck, Michigan)
Bottom line: Blake Dunn was named the Grand Rapids Press Player of the Year and a MaxPreps All-American as a senior at Saugatuck High in 2016, when he scored 42 touchdowns. Dunn was so versatile he scored touchdowns in five different ways — rushing, receiving, interception return, punt return and kick return.
Dunn was all-state in four sports at Saugatuck — football, basketball, baseball and track — but his future was on the baseball diamond. Dunn was an All-MAC outfielder at Western Michigan in 2021 and the 2021 MAC Preseason Player of the Year and on the 2021 Golden Spikes Award watch list.
3. Jared Smith — 124 Touchdowns
School: Pewamo-Westphalia High School (Westphalia, Michigan)
Bottom line: Coming out of a tiny high school, Pewamo-Westphalia's Jared Smith found himself overlooked by college recruiters despite one of the more decorated prep football careers in Michigan history, which included 8,179 career rushing yards.
Smith eventually signed with NCAA Division II Michigan Tech, where he led the team in rushing in 2018 and 2019 and made All-GLIAC second team in 2019 after he rushed for 685 yards and three touchdowns.
2. Tim Shaw — 131 Touchdowns
School: Clarenceville High School (Livonia, Michigan)
Bottom line: Tim Shaw was a three-star running back recruit out of Clarenceville High but switched positions after he signed with Penn State, where he became part of one of the school's greatest linebacker corps of all time alongside two Bednarik Award winners, Dan Connor and Paul Posluszny.
Shaw, who has battled ALS since 2014, was no slouch himself. He was a fifth-round draft pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2007 and played six seasons in the NFL, including two seasons as the special teams captain for the Tennessee Titans.
1. Kevin Grady Jr. — 151 Touchdowns
School: East Grand Rapids High School (East Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Bottom line: Kevin Grady Jr. led East Rapids High to consecutive Division 3 state championships and was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. He not only set Michigan records for touchdowns but for career rushing yards (8,431), rushing attempts (1,154), points (924) and consecutive games with 100 yards rushing (24).
Grady signed with Michigan and finished his career with 783 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, but he became known for his problems with alcohol more than his football skills. He recorded a blood-alcohol level of .281 during a 2008 DUI arrest and .3 during a 2010 DUI arrest, both of which are more than three times the state's legal limit.
Grady played one year for the Chicago Slaughter of the Indoor Football League in 2011.