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Tom Brady headlines Junipero Serra’s 5 most notable alumni
Courtesy: All-Pro Reels / CC BY-SA 2.0

Tom Brady headlines Junipero Serra’s 5 most notable alumni

SAN MATEO, Calif. (BVM) – The Junipero Serra Padres have produced a lineage of legendary athletes unlike just about any other school in the country. Situated 21 miles south of downtown San Francisco, the all-boys Catholic institution is the alma mater of some of American sports’ most prominent figures.

From Super Bowl champions to home run leaders and Hall of Famers, the San Mateo high school has a myriad of notable alumni who went on to achieve special things, but here are the top five:

5. David Bakhtiari, Class of 2009

The Green Bay Packers’ All-Pro tackle is the most recent Junipero Serra graduate to appear on this list. Bakhtiari was just a two-star prospect coming out of high school but played in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman at Colorado. He earned second team All-Pac-12 honors twice before being selected by the Packers in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft and having another quick start.

The former Padre became the first Green Bay rookie to start every game at left tackle since 1978 and he did so again in his sophomore season. In November of 2020, the Packers signed Bakhtiari to a four-year, $105.5 million contract extension that made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. From 2016-20, the Junipero Serra alum was named an All-Pro each season, earning first-team honors twice.

4. John Robinson, Class of 1954

Perhaps the most obscure name on this list, John Robinson is well-known among USC and Los Angeles Rams fans. The coaching legend led the Trojans’ football team to four Rose Bowl victories, five Pac-10 titles and a share of the national championship in the 1978 season during two separate stints (1976-82, 1993-97). Robinson coached two Heisman Trophy winners at USC in Charles White and Marcus Allen.

The Junipero Serra alum is also considered one of the most successful coaches in Rams history, leading the franchise to the NFC championship game twice. Robinson’s Rams would lose both contests to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Chicago Bears in 1985 and the San Francisco 49ers in 1989. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009 and is currently a consultant to Ed Orgeron at LSU.

3. Lynn Swann, Class of 1970

Not only was Lynn Swann a football standout at Junipero Serra in the late 60s, but he was also a track star, beating future Olympic gold medalist Randy Williams in the long jump at the 1970 CIF California State championship meet. Following an All-American football career at USC where he was a part of the Trojans’ 1972 national championship, Swann was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 21st pick in the 1974 NFL Draft.

The Steelers great spent his entire career in Pittsburgh and retired after the 1982 season with four Super Bowl rings and one Super Bowl MVP (first ever wide receiver to do so). Swann was named an All-Pro on three occasions, to the NFL 1970s All-Decade team and elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

2. Barry Bonds, Class of 1982

Undoubtedly the most controversial name on this list, Barry Bonds was drafted out of Junipero Serra by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 1982 MLB Draft, but the legendary slugger chose to attend Arizona State University instead. Bonds tied the NCAA record with seven consecutive hits in the College World Series as a sophomore and was named to the All-Time College World Series Team in 1996.

He immediately made an impact in the majors, leading NL rookies with 16 home runs before winning his first MVP Award just a few seasons later in 1990. Bonds would go on to receive a record seven NL MVP awards and 12 Silver Slugger awards. He holds the MLB record for most career home runs (762) and most home runs in a single season (73). Despite being a central figure in baseball’s steroid scandal, Bonds is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

1. Tom Brady, Class of 1995

There isn’t much debate as to who the greatest Junipero Serra alum off all time is, or who the greatest quarterback to ever play is: it’s the same person. Tom Brady was also drafted out of high school in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos, but chose football over baseball after learning of interest from the University of Michigan. He arrived in Ann Arbor as the seventh QB on the Wolverines’ depth chart but ultimately won the job, posting a 20-5 record in two seasons as a starter, including wins at the 1999 Citrus Bowl and the 2000 Orange Bowl.

Following an unimpressive NFL Scouting Combine performance, Brady wasn’t selected until the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots at No. 199 overall. He would go on to play 20 seasons in New England, leading the Patriots to 17 AFC East titles and six Super Bowl victories. Widely regarded as the GOAT (greatest of all-time), Brady has won three MVP awards, been named to 14 Pro Bowls and is a five-time Super Bowl MVP. The NFL’s winningest quarterback continues to defy age as he’s headed into his 22nd season fresh off of claiming his seventh Super Bowl ring in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.