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Alabama’s colleges among nation’s best at producing NFL players

According to data from Pro-Football-Reference.com, the state of Alabama’s colleges are among the nation’s best at producing NFL players — and not just because of the Tide and the Tigers.

Of course, the University of Alabama and Auburn University play a major role in the state’s high standing. Alabama boasts 444 NFL alumni all-time, trailing only Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, and Michigan. The Tide has 81 players on NFL rosters, the most of any college.

Auburn has produced 339 pro players, ranking 24th nationally.

As a collective, Alabama’s universities have sent 1,069 players into the league, the 10th-highest number of any state. Of the top ten states, each has a higher population than Alabama save Louisiana. The Yellowhammer State ranks sixth in the nation in all-time pro players produced per capita.

Alabama’s high ranking is in large part due to contributions from its smaller colleges. Each of the state’s Division 1 football programs — Alabama, Auburn, UAB, Troy, Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Jacksonville State, North Alabama, Samford, and South Alabama — boast at least 15 NFL alumni, with Troy (71) leading the non-SEC schools.

Among the state’s Division II universities, Tuskegee (14) has produced the most NFL players, with West Alabama (13) not far behind. Miles College (2) and Spring Hill (1) also claim big leaguers.

Only two NFL players have attended one of Alabama’s junior colleges: Former Cowboys receiver Bernard Ford, who spent a year at Marion Military Institute before transferring to Central Florida, and former Seattle Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette, who ran track and field for Wallace State Community College in Hanceville in 2007 before transferring to Fort Valley State. Lockette was a 2013 Super Bowl champion with the Seahawks.

Several pros also emerged from the now-defunct programs at Stillman (5), Birmingham-Southern (3), and St. Bernard (1).

Charles Vaughan is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. 

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