From 2003 to 2006, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley were key pieces to one of the greatest offenses — and one of the greatest teams — in National Football League history.
But had both Wayne and Stokley not developed their games down in the Pelican State, they might've never ended up being a part of Indianapolis Colts lore.
Perhaps fittingly, both former wide receivers this weekend will be enshrined into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Stokley, Wayne and the rest of the Class of 2018 will be formally inducted in a ceremony early Saturday evening at the Natchitoches Events Center in Natchitoches, La.
» Stokley was a standout three-sport athlete at Comeaux High School in Lafayette, La., and went on to play for his father, Nelson, at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he turned into an absolute star from 1995-98.
According to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame:
"Stokley entered the NCAA football record book while playing for the Ragin' Cajuns from 1995-98, becoming the first Division I player to average 100 receiving yards a game in three different seasons (101.9 in 1995, 105.5 in 1996 and 106.6 in 1998). As a freshman, his 1,121 receiving yards was an all-division NCAA freshman record — even though he didn't start a game that year because his father, head coach Nelson Stokley, didn't want to show favoritism.
With the Ragin' Cajuns, he had 241 catches for 3,702 yards and 25 TDs despite playing in only four games as a junior because of a torn ACL. At the end of his career, he ranked ninth all-time in Division I-A in career yardage (3,702) and 10th in catches (241). At Comeaux High in Lafayette, Stokley was a basketball and baseball standout who only played football in his senior season, but made the Class 5A all-state team after leading the state with 80 receptions for 946 yards."
Stokley would go on to have a very successful 15-year NFL career. In 152 total games with five different teams, he caught 397 passes for 5,339 yards and 39 touchdowns; he was also money in the playoffs, playing in 15 total postseason contests and registering 46 receptions for 647 yards and seven scores.
After entering the NFL as a fourth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 1999, Stokley signed with the Colts in 2003, where he would play four seasons, catching 139 passes for 1,916 yards and 15 touchdowns. A member of the 2006 Colts Super Bowl championship team, Stokley's best season in Indianapolis — and in the NFL — came in 2004, when he caught 68 passes for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns.
» Wayne, meanwhile, is a New Orleans native and starred at John Ehret High School before becoming a record-breaking wide receiver at the University of Miami, where he caught 173 passes for 2,510 yards and 20 touchdowns in four seasons.
A first-round pick of the Colts in 2001, Wayne developed into a Pro Football Hall of Fame-caliber talent during his 14-year NFL career — the entirety of which he spent in Indianapolis.
Learning from the likes of future Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison, Wayne finished his professional career with 1,070 receptions for 14,345 yards and 82 touchdowns. When he retired following the 2014 season, Wayne ranked seventh al-time in NFL history in receptions and eighth in receiving yards.
But, like Stokley, Wayne was even better in postseason play. In 21 playoff games, he caught 93 passes for 1,254 yards and nine touchdowns; he ranks second in league history only to Jerry Rice (151) in postseason receptions, and ranks fourth all-time in postseason receiving yards.
Wayne, whose long touchdown pass from fellow Louisianan Peyton Manning was a key piece to the Colts' victory over the Bears in Super Bowl XLI, was also a member of the 2009 Colts AFC Championship team.
Wayne's 211 games played are the most in Colts franchise history. He is set to be inducted into the Colts' Ring of Honor during halftime of the team's Nov. 18 game against the Tennessee Titans.