Rico Gafford

2014 Graduate
Football, Track & Field
During his time at DCHS Rico’s impact was significant. A receiver and defensive back, he was named to the Des Moines Register All-State football team and helped the Maroons win the first of what would become seven consecutive state championships. In track he won the 100m dash at the Drake Relays as well as the Class 4A state title in both the 200m and 100m dash with a state record time of 10.61. 

Rico went on to play football for two years at Iowa Western Community College and then two years at the University of Wyoming where he was named second-team All-Mountain West Conference. He has been a regular participant in NFL preseason training camps and on practice squad rosters as either a defensive back or wide receiver. He made the Oakland Raiders’ roster in 2019 and caught a 49-yard touchdown pass for his first career reception. He is currently on the practice squad of the Green Bay Packers. 

Rico and partners have opened two restaurants in Des Moines — Rico’s at Drake and Vibes Kitchen and Bar downtown — and is often a visitor at the restaurants. He enjoys sharing his story with kids and strives to be someone people can talk to and learn from. In 2019, he launched the Gafford Foundation in 2019 to provide financial and meal support to families in need. 

Dowling Catholic High School

Dowling Catholic High School is committed to serving the Greater Des Moines Catholic community and embracing learners of all faiths. In an environment that is faithful, caring and dedicated, Dowling Catholic forms each student to become a Christ-centered leader.