Feature, Local News, Sports

H-F grad Schmitz drafted by NFL’s New York Giants

A former Homewood-Flossmoor High School football player is being called one of the steals of the NFL draft.

The New York Giants picked John Michael Schmitz in the second round. He was the first center taken with the 57th overall pick. He’ll report to rookie mini camp May 4. 

“It hasn’t really set in yet,” he said. “When you get around the team, around the coaches, it’ll set in. It still feels unreal. I’m just very honored and blessed to be in the position I’m in, to be a New York Giant.” 

Schmitz, a 2017 H-F graduate, originally committed to Western Michigan out of high school. When then WMU coach PJ Fleck was hired by Minnesota, Schmitz switched his pledge to the Golden Gophers. 

He said former Homewood-Flossmoor coaches like Craig Buzea and Tom Cicero were vital to him being seen by major college football coaches. Schmitz said his development was ahead of most of the other offensive linemen when he got to Minnesota, as well. 

Cicero was with him when he got the call from the Giants.

“I let the phone ring once or twice because I was in shock that it was really happening,” Schmitz said. “I was surrounded by family and friends. It was just breathtaking. There was excitement all around. It was a very special moment.” 

He played in 57 games over five seasons at Minnesota, starting 35. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection in 2020, second-team all-conference as a junior and first team in 2022. He was also an All-American in his final year in Minneapolis. 

“(Minnesota) is a program that prides itself on the run game and as an offensive lineman, there’s no better feeling than running the ball,” Schmitz said. “I have to thank Coach Fleck and (offensive line coach Brian Callahan) for developing me. It didn’t happen overnight. They didn’t only make me a better person on the field but off the field, as well. I’ll be a better husband one day, a better father (because of them).” 

Pro Football Focus gave Schmitz an overall grade of 92.4 during his last collegiate season, the highest mark for any center in the country. He allowed only two sacks and five hurries over 302 pass blocking snaps. PFF ranked him the No. 35 overall player in the draft.

Schmitz is expected to compete for a starting role immediately.

“I’m just excited to be a part of the team,” he said. “I’m just looking to step in the door and connect with my teammates and my coaches.” 

Schmitz is the fifth player in Vikings history to reach the professional ranks. Wes Hamilton was a guard for the Minnesota Vikings from 1976 until 1984. Defensive lineman Nolan Harrison played 107 games for multiple teams from 1991 until 2000. Michael Buchanan was with the New England Patriots for just over one season in 2013 and 2014. Zach Fulton played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans from 2014 until 2020.

News by email

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Free weekly newsletter

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Most read stories this week