Among hardcore College Football fans, few things are guaranteed to start fights more than arguments about which college produces the most and best NFL players.
In order to bring some closure to this debate topic, we are using ESPN’s list of NFL Players by College that lists every player who drew a regular season paycheck in the league in 2012. This means that the list includes those players who were on injured reserve and the Practice Squad. Such a list is too difficult to put together otherwise and it does provide an even playing field with fair criteria.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Not surprisingly, the SEC leads the way with 4 schools in the Top Ten, followed by the Big Ten with 3. What is surprising is the fact that all of this pro talent has not necessarily translated into winning seasons for all of the teams on this list. None of the teams in the Top 7 of this list has won a National Championship in the last five seasons.
Here are the Top Ten schools for producing NFL Football players as of the 2012 season. (There are actually 11 schools listed due to the 3-way tie at the bottom of the list):
10. (Tie) Tennessee 33 NFL Players Top Players: Peyton Manning, Jason Witten, Jerod Mayo, Eric Berry, Donte Stallworth
The Vols have had a rough time since Phillip Fulmer’s departure but the big Orange talent acquisition machine keeps rolling on. Because the state of Tennessee is not a top producer of Division 1 talent, the Vols have to go elsewhere to recruit top talent. Having one of the biggest recruiting budgets in the nation helps with that effort. The 2013 NFL Draft will be yet another in which the Vols make a strong showing.
10. (Tie) Penn State 33 NFL Players Top Players: Cameron Wake, NaVorro Bowman, Sean Lee, Paul Posluszny, Tamba Hali
It does get a little tedious at times to about how Penn State is Linebacker U. The results however, show that the moniker is not unwarranted. It will be interesting to see how much Penn State’s recruiting is going to be affected by the scandal and the sanctions. The state of Pennsylvania is not the talent producing colossus it once was, but it’s still not chopped liver. If Penn State can still get their share of the top players in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, they should be able to remain competitive and continue to produce pro level talent.
10. (Tie) Alabama 33 NFL Players Top Players: Trent Richardson, Andre Smith, Julio Jones, DeMeco Ryans, Evan Mathis
It’s one of the safest bets around to assume that the Crimson Tide is going to be moving up this list with a bullet in the next few years. This year alone, there will be at least 6 Bama alums going in the first two rounds of the draft. You don’t stack up NCAA National Championships like Nick Saban is doing without having NFL caliber talent. The good news for Alabama fans is that the cupboard is brimming with future high draft picks in Tuscaloosa and it won’t be thinning out anytime soon.