Former Highland Park High School star quarterback Matthew Stafford will have his No.7 high school jersey retired on Friday at halftime of Highland Park’s game against Lake Highlands.
Stafford is expected to attend the ceremony, the school said, just one day after he plays in the NFL regular season opener with the Los Angeles Rams against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night.
Stafford, who won his first Super Bowl with the Rams earlier this year, led Highland Park to a 15-0 record in 2005 — its first undefeated season — en route to the Class 4A Division I state championship.
Stafford, a five-star recruit and the class of 2006′s top quarterback prospect, threw for 4,108 yards and 38 touchdowns his senior year with Highland Park despite missing the first three games of the season due to injury.
A plaque listing Stafford’s accomplishments will be unveiled to be placed on permanent display at the entrance to the stadium alongside other notable Highland Park athletes; Doak Walker, Bobby Layne, and Billy Gannon, the school said.
“From the first time I saw Matthew Stafford throw a football in middle school, I could tell he was really special,” said Highland Park Head Coach Randy Allen. “Matthew has taken to heart the phrase, ‘Once a Scot, Always a Scot,’ and has remained in contact with his ‘Band of Brothers’ from that magical 2005 championship season. We are just so proud of him and are thrilled to get a chance to honor him on the same playing field where he began his successful football career.”
After high school, Stafford attended the University of Georgia and became the first true freshman since 1998 to start at quarterback for the Bulldogs. He was named to the All-SEC team and All-American team during his time in college before being drafted No.1 overall by the Detroit Lions in 2009.
Stafford played for the Lions for 12 seasons before being traded to the Rams in 2021. Stafford led the Rams to a comeback 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI this February.
To commemorate Stafford’s jersey retirement, the school is selling limited-edition “Matthew Stafford Jersey Retirement” shirts in both blue and white and a limited number of DVDs highlighting Highland Park’s 2005 championship-winning season.
Besides the ceremony, it should be a great game as Highland Park (2–0) begins district play against a formidable opponent in Lake Highlands (2–0). Tickets for Friday’s game are sold out.