The Best Player in the NFL From Each of the 120 College Football FBS Schools
Whether it's a family gathering, a business affair, or just old friends meeting up, people like to brag about how their university's football team is doing.
But, along with that concept is the ability for those fans of certain schools to brag about superstars in the NFL that came from their school that are playing great at the next level.
And, it is clear that the great NFL teams not only get players from these schools, but also the smaller schools, and some of the league's best players are not among the 120. I understand and appreciate these schools and players as well.
So, I have listed the best player from each school at the moment. Obviously, a lot of the choices are quite obvious, while others are up to debate (which I not only encourage, but am promoting). Let it be known I most likely do not know more about your school and its recent history of NFL players, unless you are challenging me on the Iowa Hawkeyes...Bring it!
But, enjoy this and put down who you think is the best from your school!
Akron: Jason Taylor
The Zips haven't had a recent player make an impact that comes even close to defensive end Jason Taylor.
His career-defining season was in 2006, when he was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Along his storied career he has also been to six Pro Bowls.
Taylor is most probably a Hall of Fame candidate with his outstanding pass rushing numbers that he produced in Miami. Now with the Jets he has slowed down a step or two, but is still a threat every time he takes the field.
Also, he has become somewhat of a celebrity off of the field with his second-place performance on the hit show Dancing With the Stars.
Other Zips of note:
Alabama: DeMeco Ryans
No doubt DeMeco Ryans has made an impact since coming into the NFL, but he may not be the best 'Bama player in the NFL for long as Nick Saban's players start to develop into NFL stalwarts.
Ryans was a standout in college as he was in the running for nearly every defensive honor that can be given.
As soon as he got into the NFL he made an immediate impact, taking home Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006, and has made two Pro Bowls in his young career. He may not be the biggest linebacker, but he leads a hungry Texans squad that looks to bring the team to its first playoff berth this season.
Other Crimson Tide of note:
Air Force: Chad Hall
The armed forces do our country a great service in the protection of country and freedoms. Obviously one of the branches is the Air Force, which has become a very good football program over the course of the last few years in the Mountain West.
As a Falcon, Chad Hall did it all as a running back, wide receiver and return man. He was named Mountain West Player of the Year in his senior season to his credit. In his limited time in the NFL, Hall has caught one touchdown pass while with the Eagles.
Arizona: Lance Briggs
For a third-round pick, Lance Briggs certainly has shown that he has made it big-time out of Tucson.
Since coming to the NFL, Briggs, along with Brian Urlacher, has formed one of the league's best pairs at the linebacker position.
Lance has matured from being a single-minded pass rusher into being one of the most sound and well-rounded backers in the entire league. He has earned five trips to the Pro Bowl, three of which were All-Pro honors, and has been one of the key players that lead the Bears to a Super Bowl appearance.
Other Wildcats of note:
Arizona St.: Terrell Suggs
No doubt big things were expected from the Sun Devil standout Terrell Suggs when he came to the NFL.
Having the NCAA sack record under his belt, and winning many honors in his collegiate career, put him on target to have a brilliant professional career.
He has certainely done some amazing things in his career including making three Pro Bowls so far. In his time he has moved back and forth from linebacker to defensive end. He has shown a strong aptitude for both positions.
Other Sun Devils of note:
Army: Caleb Campbell
Apart from the Army's "alternative service option plan," Caleb Campbell was allowed to go out for the NFL. Many fans remember him from the ESPN specials where his journey to the league from the armed forces was documented.
The linebacker was taken in the seventh round by the Lions and was given a standing ovation by the fans. He has yet to see action with the Lions, but is still with the organization.
Arkansas: Shawn Andrews
Time will tell if Ryan Mallett, the current quarterback of the Razorbacks, will be the best pro from Fayetteville, but as of now that award has to go to Giants guard Shawn Andrews.
Andrews has become one of the best guards in the NFL in his career in the league, protecting Donavan McNabb and now, with the Giants, Eli Manning.
This former All-American has gotten to three Pro Bowls in his career thus far.
Peyton Hillis, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones all are in contention for this title in the future.
Other Razorbacks of note:
Auburn: Ronnie Brown
Ronnie Brown is certainly coming from good stock as a player from Auburn in the NFL. Coming into the league from college where he had great success with Jason Campbell, and fellow standout tailback Cadillac Williams, Brown had a lot to prove.
In the league he has had his share of injuries, but each time he has overcome them to show that he is a top level talent. He has been to the Pro Bowl and also has averaged 4.4 yards a carry.
He also has been a key part of the Dolphins dangerous "wildcat" attack formation, which is used throughout the league now, alongside Ricky Williams.
Cam Newton could be atop this list in the future for the national champions.
Other Tigers of note:
Arkansas State: Tyrell Johnson
It is very likely that Tyrell Johnson will go down as the greatest defender that the Sun Belt Conference as ever seen.
He finished with the most tackles and interceptions in conference history along with being a third-team All-American nationally out of Arkansas State. He was a second-round pick by the Vikings and has played a great deal at strong safety with them.
Other Red Wolves of note:
Ball State: Brad Maynard
One of the more consistent punters in the NFL, Brad Maynard has already been inducted into his alma mater's Hall of Fame in 2008.
He holds the dubious distinction for having the most punts as a rookie when he was with the Giants, and most punts in the Super Bowl, which he also achieved with the Giants in their loss to the Ravens in XXXV.
He continues to be a consistent punter who will get 40 yards a kick with the Bears, and can pin you deep as well.
Baylor: Matt Bryant
From the school that gave football one of the best middle linebackers in history in Mike Singletary also comes kicker Matt Bryant.
Matt Bryant has for the most part been a journeyman kicker who has seen tours in the NFL Europe, Arena League, and many different NFL teams.
Most notably he will be remembered by most Bucs fans for his game-winning 62-yard field goal which he converted against the Eagles in 2006.
Other Bears of note:
Boise State: Ryan Clady
It will come as no shock to many NFL and college fans if many more Boise State players make it to the NFL and have success with the way Chris Peterson is running the team on the blue field these days.
Clearly, tackle Ryan Clady of the Broncos is their best player as he has made the transition from the college Broncos to the pro Broncos look easy.
In college, most remember him as a key blocker on the famous "Statue of Liberty" play that upset the Oklahoma Sooners. Clady was a outstanding player in college, earning All-American honors.
He has already become one of the premeire tackles in the game, earning Pro Bowl trips in both of his seasons in the league.
Other Broncos of note:
Boston College: Matt Ryan
With names like Flutie and Hasselbeck as predecessors, it would be hard for most to have success this early in their careers like "Matty Ice" has had.
Matt Ryan was "the man" as Boston College as he won the Johnny Unitas Award and ACC player of the year in his time there.
Then he was given the task of being the face of the franchise in a woeful situation after the troubles of Michael Vick had become clear in Atlanta. Ryan came in immediately, and to many's suprise he won the Rookie of the Year award among many other distinctions.
He is no doubt one of the most respected young quarterbacks in the league, and is a great ambassoder for the Falcons.
Other Golden Eagles of note:
BYU: Austin Collie
Talk about a guy that gets it done at every level.
Austin Collie is already becoming one of Peyton Manning’s go-to wide receivers in Indy, but before that he was the Sacramento High School Player of the Decade, and later he was the most productive receiver in the country in 2008.
He chose to leave school early, and joined the Colts as a fourth-round pick. In his rookie season he caught the most touchdowns of any receiver on the team, and became a starter for the Colts alongside Reggie Wayne. This season he is already having a Pro Bowl year, and is considered to be one of the most productive fantasy receivers in the entire NFL.
Other Cougars of note:
Buffalo: James Starks
One of the great rushers in the history of the MAC conference, James Starks was able to do amazing things in Buffalo even though he didn't even play in his senior season because of a shoulder injury.
But, in one season in the NFL he has worked his way to the top of the Packers running back depth chart, and surely will not let the spot go anytime soon.
California: Aaron Rodgers
It is extremely hard not to select the future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez as being the best NFL player going right now from Cal, but Aaron Rodgers is among the top five elite quarterbacks in the entire world.
At Cal he was a Pac-10 All-Conference player in his two seasons as a starter before he went on to back up Brett Favre in Green Bay. But since he has gotten the chance to prove himself as the starter in the past two seasons, Rodgers has not disappointed.
He has thrown for 4,000 yards in each of these seasons, and threw 30 touchdowns last season along with being named to the Pro Bowl.
Other Golden Bears of note:
Central Florida: Brandon Marshall
Central Florida also has produced Asanti Samuel, who was one of the vital pieces of the defenses that won Super Bowls in New England.
But, Brandon Marshall is a wide receiver that has quickly become a prime-time player.
The top cornerbacks in the game have said that he is a defensive lineman playing receiver, and is the hardest player to bring down. He holds the record for most receptions in one game with 21. He has also made the Pro Bowl in both of the last two seasons.
Other Golden Knights of note:
Central Michigan: Cullen Jenkins
The defending MAC champion Central Michigan Chippewas have made it clear that they can produce solid football players over the years.
Cullen Jenkins, defensive tackle for the Packers, is no exception.
He is the younger brother of perennial Jets Pro Bowler Kris Jenkins, and has the size and strength to prove it. He is now a starter on the line, and is a key to a pass rushing defense looking to become one of the league’s best.
Cincinnati: Trent Cole
It was a tough decision between two Bearcats that now play with the Eagles, but Trent Cole has achieved more in career to this point than tight end Brent Celek.
In college, Cole was twice named to the All-Big East team before being taken in the fifth round by the Eagles.
“The Hunter,” as he is nicknamed, is a outstanding tackler in the open field, and has been known to has a high-level in the pass rushing category as well. He has twice been named to the Pro Bowl in his career.
Other Bearcats of note:
Clemson: Brian Dawkins
Another player that has already been put in his college's Hall of Fame before the end of his playing career. Brian Dawkins has been one of the best safeties of his generation with his hard hitting demeanor, and knack for the interception.
He has played in eight Pro Bowls in his career, and was named as being on the All-Decade team in the NFL.
Other Tigers of note:
Colorado: Mason Crosby
Former Colorado coach Gary Barnett was once highly criticized for speaking harshly about a former kicker in his program, referring to the kicker, who was a young woman, as being "terrible."
Karma comes in many forms, but there is a sense of irony in the fact that the best NFL player from this program right now is former kicker Mason Crosby of the Green Bay Packers.
He was named as the best kicker of the decade in college in the 2000s, and in his first two seasons in the NFL he scored more points than any player before him in history. He has one of the most accurate and strong legs in the league, and is perhaps the league’s best overall kicker.
Other Buffalo of note:
Colorado State: Joey Porter
This veteran linebacker has been one of the better in the league for some time, and has proven that taking him in the third round out of Colorado State was a steal.
He has been a good pash rushing linebacker throughout his career with the Steelers, Dolphins, and now the Cardinals, and has shown that he has great ability. He was named to the All-Decade team for the first decade of the century for his play along with four Pro Bowl appearances to his credit.
He was also a member of the Super Bowl-winning Steelers when they defeated the Seahawks.
Other Rams of note:
Conneticut: Donald Brown
The former All-American and Big East Offensive Player of the Year left school early to pursue a career in the NFL after he amassed a 2,000-yard rushing season with 18 touchdowns to go along with them.
His talents were recognized by the Colts who made him the first UConn player to ever be selected in the first round of the draft.
Since than he has been used sporadically and has been an asset in the running game for Peyton Manning along with Joseph Addai.
Duke: Patrick Mannelly
Many people can name countless players that have played for the Duke basketball team over the years for Coach K. But, can you name a single football player that has played in the last 25 years?
You should be able to.
Patrick Mannelly of the Bears is regarded by many to be the best long snapper to ever play in the NFL. He broke into the NFL in 1998 and has been on the Bears since then. He has played in more games with Chicago than any player in the franchise's long and storied history.
East Carolina: Chris Johnson
One of the best and most electrifiying players in the NFL is no doubt Chris Johnson of the Titans.
Since his college days as East Carolina, where he reminded people of Barry Sanders with his blazing speed and agility, he has done it all on the field. He broke into the first round of the draft when he ran a 4.2 at the combine.
He made the Pro Bowl in his second and third seasons of his young career which included his amazing season last year where he broke the all-time yards from scrimmage record. He also joined the 2,000-yard rushing club, which is a very select group to say the least.
Also, he was given the Offensive Player of the Year award and for many fantasy football enthusiasts he was the first selection in the drafts this season.
Other Pirates of note:
Eastern Michigan: Kevin Walter
Kevin Walter is the best wide receiver to ever play at Eastern Michigan as he holds the all-time records for receptions, yards and touchdowns for his efforts.
Since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 draft by the Giants, it has taken him a while to find a spot where his talents would be best suited.
It appears that he has found that place with the Houston Texans. He has become the No. 2 receiver behind Andre Johnson for Matt Schaub, and it appears he is going to have big numbers for this season.
Florida: Fred Taylor
Florida has produced many professional starters over the years, but none have shown the consistency and talent that Fred Taylor has shown. I picked Taylor because of the overwhelming amount of equal choices available, so I went with who has been the best over the last 15 years.
Taylor is a wily veteran running back that has been playing so long that he was a member of the national championship team at Florida when Steve Spurrier was the head coach.
But, since than Fred has been an incredible running back who has run his way up near the top of the list in terms of yards with over 11,000 in his career. For many stagnant years he was the face of poor Jaguars teams.
But, now he is looking to gain the one thing that he lacks in his professional career, and that is a Super Bowl ring.
Other Gators of note:
Florida State: Anquan Boldin
The talented Seminoles have their share of NFL stars but in the end the names such as Anquan Boldin, Darnell Dockett, Antonio Cromotrie and Ernie Sims rank among the best.
Anquan Boldin was a player who was able to play both quarterback and receiver in college, but chose to pursue the latter position full-time as he would get more playing time under Bobby Bowden.
In the pros he has been one of the toughest wide receivers in the league with his time with the Cardinals. Along with Larry Fitzgerald they formed the best one-two punch that could be found anywhere, and he garnered three Pro Bowl appearances in that time.
He is now a member of the Ravens and this season he already became the quickest receiver to reach the 600-catch plateau in his career.
Other Seminoles of note:
Florida Atlantic: Rusty Smith
Rusty was a productive player in his time at Florida Atlantic in which his best season was in his sophomore campaign. Too many people's surprise, the sixth-round pick saw action in his rookie year for the Titans behind disgruntled Vince Young and old and often-injured Kerry Collins.
Fresno State: Bernard Berrian
The eccentric personality of Bernard "B-Twice" Berrian has been shown often on and off the football field in his career.
Whether he is the fleet of foot burner for the Bears or Vikings or the wingman on Chad Ochocinco's dating reality show, Berrian has shown a flair for the dramatic.
Other Bulldogs of note:
Idaho: Mike Iupati
One of the best Vandals in the history of the program, Mike Iupati received first-team All-American honors and was a finalist for many prestigious awards in college before coming to the NFL. He also brought the Vandals to their first winning season in over 10 years.
He was taken in the first round by San Fransisco after being one of the most highly regarded guards coming into the draft in many years. In his rookie year he received alot of praise for his run-blocking abilities for Frank Gore.
Florida International: Antwan Barnes
It is hard to deny that Antwan Barnes is the best player from FIU when he is was the first player to be selected from the school to go to the NFL.
Also, he has the record for most sacks in a career for his alma mater. Since then he has played linebacker for several teams including Baltimore, Philadelphia and San Diego.
Georgia: Champ Bailey
Truly one of the supreme talents that college football, and the NFL for that matter, has seen.
Champ Bailey has been electric and dominating on every level he has played on. He was extremely versatile at Georgia, playing multiple positions and winning the Nagurski Award. In his NFL career he has been the premiere shutdown corner of his time.
He has made nine Pro Bowls and was selected to the All-Decade team.
Other Bulldogs of note:
Alabama-Birmingham: Roddy White
You would have been hard-pressed to find anyone who would have thought the late first-round pick out of UAB would go on to be one of the best wide receivers the NFL has seen in a long time.
That is exactly what the Falcons have in Roddy White, who is as complete a wide receiver as you could create if you wanted to. He has made three Pro Bowls in his young career, but this season he became elite. He set numerous Falcon receiving records and by many accounts was the best in the league.
Georgia Tech: Calvin Johnson
College football had seen few better in its history than "Megatron" Calvin Johnson. Winner of the Biletinkoff Award and ACC Player of the Year along with his All-American honors, Johnson was an unstoppable force at GT before being drafted by Detroit.
While the Lions had struck out with Charles Rogers, Mike Willams, Bryant Johnson, and too a certain extent Roy Williams, Megatron has shown that he is not like the others and is an elite talent. The Pro Bowler is looking to be a leader on a Lions team that could be a contender next season.
Other Yellow Jackets of note:
Middle Tennessee: Erik Walden
An All-Sun Belt player twice in his collegiate career, defensive lineman Erik Walden has proven to a solid NFL player out of Middle Tennessee.
He has been around the league on a couple different teams, and is now a good player for the Green Bay Packers.
Hawaii: Isaac Sopoaga
An extremely strong and intimidating player, Isaac Sopoaga has proven to a key piece of a tough-nosed 49ers defensive front.
In his six-year career, Sopoaga has shown that he is a very capable defensive end, but has also shown some abilities at fullback, clearing the way for Frank Gore and company.
Other Warriors of note:
Bowling Green: Shaun Suisham
Oh, the life of an NFL kicker.
Despite being the only kicker to have a game in which he kicked four field goals over 40 yards, and having done the feat twice, Suisham has been on eight different stints of duty in his six-year NFL career. He has shown himself to be a reliable kicker, but has been unable to hold on to a job for any extended period of time.
Houston: Kevin Kolb
Houston has a knack for producing good college quarterbacks, and boy was Kevin Kolb one of them.
He has an amazing freshman season and would go on to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and one of the best that Conference USA has ever seen.
He would be drafted by the Eagles in the second round and he has waited his chance patiently behind Donovan McNabb and this season behind Michael Vick. He could be on another team next season—stay tuned.
Illinois: Rashard Mendenhall
Rashard Mendenhall has become of the better backs in the NFL in his short career after an amazing career at Illinois.
He was the Offensive Player of the Year at Illinois in the season the Illini made it to the Rose Bowl, and was selected in the first round by the Steelers. Since then he has been a tough back the Steelers have needed, and has become a Super Bowl champion for his efforts.
Other Fighting Illini of note:
Indiana: Tracy Porter
One of the names that will never be forgotten in Bloomington, Indiana, and in New Orleans, Louisiana, is Tracy Porter.
Perhaps the best player to ever line up in a Hoosier secondary, Porter set numerous records as a corner for the team before graduating. He went on to the combine, where he recorded one of the fastest 40-yard dash times in history.
He is best remembered, though, as the man who made the interception of off Brett Favre to lead to the end of the Vikings season in the NFC Championship Game, and later make the pick-six heard 'round the world in the Super Bowl.
Other Hoosiers of note:
Iowa: Chad Greenway
Kirk Ferentz is known to take the afterthoughts of the recruiting game and turn them into bonified NFL prospects. Just look at the likes of Bob Sanders, Nate Kaeding, Dallas Clark, Shonn Greene and, of course, linebacker Chad Greenway.
In college, he was named to many All-American teams in different publications, and was the anchor of the tough Iowa defenses that included a Big Ten title in his time there.
He was drafted in the first round to the Vikings, where he has been the heart and soul of the defense ever since. His impressive tackling and pursuit abilities have made him among the league's best.
Other Hawkeyes of note:
Iowa State: Seneca Wallace
The former Cyclone, Seneca Wallace was one of the better players to come out of Ames in along time, along with cornerback Ellis Hobbs.
Wallace was a dangerous player in college as he had a big-time arm to match his quick feet. It was best shown in his legendary 12-yard touchdown run against Texas Tech, where it is estimated that he avoided the Red Raider defense for a total of 130 yards of field.
In Seattle he always was a dependable backup for the often-injured Matt Hasselbeck, and this season he may get most of the snaps with his new team, the Browns, who are in a constant state of awfulness.
Kansas: Aqib Talib
A product of the Mark Mangino Era, Aqib Talib was a talent that made everyone know who he was when he returned an interception for a touchdown in the Orange Bowl in his junior season.
That play, along with All-American honors of that season, launched him to forgo his senior season. He was drafted in the first round of the draft, and has been moderately successful thus far in his caree despite some legal issues that have plagued him.
Kansas State: Terrence Newman
One of the best to ever lace them up at Kansas State, former Jim Thorpe and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year winner Terrance Newman has definitely shown that he was not a flash in the pan being selected in the top five in the draft.
In his time with the Cowboys he has recorded 23 interceptions in his career, and has made it twice to the Pro Bowl with the team.
Other Wildcats of note:
Kent State: Antonio Gates
Maybe he didn't play any football for them, but Kent State surely will claim their former basketball player Antonio Gates as being their own.
Since he didn't make it in the NBA, Antonio has made quite the career for himself, becoming perhaps the best tight end of his generation along with Tony Gonzalez. He has played his entire career thus far in San Diego, where he has been recognized with six Pro Bowl appearance over that time.
Josh Cribbs has also become a top-level return man out of Kent State with the Browns, and another outstanding player from Kent State is linebacker James Harrison of the Steelers
Other Golden Flashes of note:
Kentucky: Wesley Woodyard
Though the Wildcats are known as a basketball school, they still have been known to turn out some good players in football as well. One player that is making an immediate impact from UK is Hard Knocks star fullback John "The Terminator" Connor, whose hard-hitting style is impressing many with the Jets.
The best in the league has to be Wesley Woodyard from Kentucky. In college he was an All-SEC player in an always-competitive conference at that position. He was undrafted out of college but since filling in for the Broncos in 2008 he has become a reliable starter who also has been named the defensive captain in his short tenure with Denver.
Other Wildcats of note:
Louisiana Tech: Josh Scobee
It is quite the accomplishment for any kicker to not only make an NFL roster, but is an even bigger honor if they are worthy of being a draft day selection. For the long-range kicking Josh Scobee, that occured in the fifth round in 2005.
In college he broke many records set by long-tenured NFL kicker Matt Stover, and ranks among the best kickers in the history of the WAC conference. Since joining up with the Jaguars, which has been his only team of his career, he has made many clutch kicks to win games, and made a 59-yard field goal last season to beat the Colts.
Other Bulldogs of note:
Louisiana-Lafayette: Jake Delhomme
In terms of careers, many would consider Jake Delhomme's time in the NFL to be the poor man's Kurt Warner. This is by no means an insult to Jake Delhomme, who during the course of the last 10 years has been one of the league's best, including leading the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance.
The alum was inducted into his school's Hall of Fame after a brilliant collegiate career in which he broke almost every record at the school. In the NFL, he worked on his craft in NFL Europe before going to the Carolina Panthers. His time with the Panthers is amazing as he became the greatest quarterback in franchise history.
He has all the major records for quarterbacks in Carolina, and led his team to a Super Bowl, which was a losing effort despite Delhomme throwing the longest TD pass in Super Bowl history.
Charles Tillman has also become a standout player in the NFL with the Chicago Bears as a cornerback.
Other Ragin' Cajuns of note:
Lousiana-Monroe: Chris Harris
Coming into the NFL as a free safety is an adjustment that some are able to make, while others deeply struggle with.
Chris Harris did not have any of these problems when he came into the league out of Louisiana-Monroe. Upon coming into the league with the Bears as a sixth-round pick, he quickly made a name for himself as a big hitter.
Eventually, he was traded to the Panthers, where he further made an impact, and for a couple of seasons he was one of the better safeties in the NFC. He now has returned to the Bears, where he hopes to regain his form.
Louisville: Elvis Dumervil
Despite suffering a season-ending torn pectoral injury which knocked him out of this season, Elvis Dumervil has been outstanding for the Broncos since coming to the NFL out of Louisville. In college he was amazing, winning Big East Player of the Year and the Bronco Nagurski Award.
Since Josh McDaniels took over the team and moved Elvis to the outside at linebacker, he has made the other teams that let him go all the way to the fourth round feel like idiots.
He recorded 17 sacks last season, which was a league best, and was expected to have another Pro Bowl season this year before he got hurt. When he returns next year he will no doubt be hungry to regain this form.
David Akers and Michael Bush have both proved to be good NFL players as well. Akers as the Eagles' longtime kicker is a top-five player at his position for Andy Reid. Michael Bush has moved ahead of Darren McFadden in most situations as the starting tailback in Oakland.
Other Cardinals of note:
Louisiana State: Joseph Addai
Winners are winners. And no one can say that Joseph Addai has not been a winner over the years, even dating back to his days at LSU.
In Baton Rouge, Joseph was apart of the national championship team under present Alabama coach Nick Saban. He was drafted in the first round by the Colts in 2006, where he was picked to be the man to replace longtime incumbent Edgerrin James.
He was a key contributor to the championship won by the Colts in 2007 with Peyton Manning. He broke the record for receptions for a running back in a Super Bowl, and proved that he was one of the best receiving backs in the league.
High draft picks have been a common occurence in the last 10 years for the Bayou Bengals under Les Miles and Nick Saban. LaRon Landry and Glenn Dorsey have been two of these standouts and are trying to excel in the NFL.
Other Tigers of note:
Maryland: Vernon Davis
By now we all know the tirade that 49ers coach Mike Singletary went on regarding tight end Vernon Davis. Early in his NFL career it would seem ludicrious to have him labeled the best NFL player from Maryland, but a few short years later he is in fact that.
He is a big, fast freak of a tight end that creates mismatches for most teams that he plays. Last season, he broke out and had one of the best years a tight end has ever had. He tied the record for most touchdown receptions by a tight end in one season with 13.
Also, other Pro Bowl players have come out of Maryland ,like big Kris Jenkins, who is currently out for the year with the Jets. "Lights Out" Shawne Merriman is also an alumus of the Terraphins.
Other Terrapins of note:
Memphis: DeAngelo Williams
After being one of the best running backs in the history of college football with having the most 100-yard games in a career, and finishing with the most all-purpose yards in history, it was no shock that DeAngelo Williams could make the transition to the NFL game.
The All-American running back set all the records at Memphis, and in his brief NFL career he has already broken almost every record in Carolina Panther rushing history. Last season he rushed for over 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns, and was invited to his second Pro Bowl.
Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots has also established himself as being perhaps the most accurate kicker in the league, and is the most accurate in the franchise's history.
Marshall: Ahmad Bradshaw
For history's sake it is clear that the best is Randy Moss, who will go down as one of the best wide receivers in the history of football. Or Chad Pennington, whose toughness and ability to win no matter the odds have made him a fan favorite for many.
But, Ahmad Bradshaw has proven to be an up-and-coming running back in the NFL who may not have shown people what he is really capable of. He was a two-time all-conference player and already has been on a Super Bowl winner, something that Moss and Pennington have never done. He has also taken over the starting spot from Brandon Jacobs in New York.
Other Thundering Herd of note:
Miami (FL): Andre Johnson
Oh, how difficult it is to select a player from a storied factory of Pro Bowl and Hall of Fame players like "The U."
However, the best in the business at the wideout position right now is none other than Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans. There is no aspect of his game that has any amount of weakness, and it appears that he is going to continue to produce amazing numbers for years to come.
In the NFL, Andre has made it to four Pro Bowls, and last season he caught over 100 passes, and led the league in receiving yards for the second straight season—which had only been done by Jerry Rice before.
Ray Lewis is still playing top-tier football for the Ravens along with Ed Reed—both were Hurricanes. Vince Wilfork, Clinton Portis, Frank Gore and Devin Hester are more players that are making their mark in the NFL.
Other Hurricanes of note:
Miami (OH): Ben Roethlisberger
The best player to come out of Oxford, and most likely the best player to come out of the MAC conference, Ben Roethlisberger has been a force in the NFL from the minute he stepped on the field as a rookie.
After breaking all the school records, and a number of conference passing records, Ben left early for the NFL in a move that shocked some. He quickly silenced the critics winning the Rookie of the Year Award, and in his second season he lead the Steelers to the first of his two Super Bowl victories.
Michigan State: Derrick Mason
One of Sparty's greatest sons, Derrick Mason was an electric return man in college who set many records.
The man who holds the record for most all-purpose yards in a season has had a top-notch career for the Oilers/Titans and Ravens over the years. His consistency over the years has him among the active bests in all the receiving categories, and it is not out of the question that he could join the elusive 1,000-reception club if he chooses to play a few more seasons.
Other Spartans of note:
Michigan: Tom Brady
A tough decision for sure. Charles Woodson was one of the best college football players in history as the only defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy. But, in the pros there have been few better in NFL history than former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady.
He was a backup at Michigan for most of his career, including being seventh string at one point in time. After Brian Greise and Charles Woodson won the national championship in 1997, the highlight of Brady's college career was in his senior year, when he led the Wolverines to the thrilling win over Alabama in the Orange Bowl.
He was a sixth-round draft pick behind Drew Bledsoe, and the everyone knows what happened when he got his chance. He has been to five Pro Bowls, and New England to three Super Bowl wins in which he was MVP twice.
To boot, he has been the NFL MVP as well. He is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, and for many he is the greatest quarterback of his generation.
Other Wolverines of note:
Minnesota: Marion Barber
At one point in time Minnesota Golden Gophers had the two-headed monster of Marion Barber and Laurence Maroney carrying the rock in the Metrodome. Times have changed, but those two running backs are still playing in the NFL.
Marion "The Barbarian" finished his college career second in school history in rushing touchdowns, just ahead of his father, who also was a Gopher. He left school a year early, and was selected in the fourth round. In his second season in the pros he made the Pro Bowl, and has since proved himself to be one of the best power backs in the NFL.
Laurence Maroney, who was in the backfield in college with Barber, was a more prolifec college runner, as he was listed as an All-American in many publications in 2005, and was a first-round selection by New England. He has showed inconsistency in the passing-oriented offense in New England before being traded this season to Denver.
Other Gophers of note:
Ole Miss: Patrick Willis
Ole Miss has certaintly had its share of dandies over the years. And, in the NFL they have proven to produce top-level players at a multitude of positions.
It is hard to argue that Patrick Willis is perhaps the best linebacker in football. In college, all he did was win every coveted award that the country has to offer. He was a two-time All American, and was a winner of the Butkus Award along with winning the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award.
Willis was taken with the 11th pick in the draft by the 49ers. He came into the league making a splash as he lead the league in tackles in his rookie season, and was given the Rookie of the Year award. He has made the Pro Bowl in all the seasons he has been in the league, and is many people's pick to be the MVP in the year's to come.
Eli Manning, who was a Rebel in his college years, has already won a Super Bowl as quarterback of the Giants as well. Michael Oher of The Blind Side fame has also proved himself to be a top-quality tackle for the Ravens.
Other Rebels of note:
Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis
Mississippi State: Donald Lee
Donald Lee of the Green Bay Packers has proved to be a consistent tight end that has made himself into being a top target for Aaron Rodgers.
The man who caught the last touchdown pass that Brett Favre ever threw in the green and yellow came out of Mississippi State in 2003 as a fifth-round pick by the Dolphins. He has gradually gotten better in his production over every season in the league, and has proven to be very durable.
Jerious Norwood was the best runner in school history during his tenure at MSU, where he rushed for over 3,000 yards in his career. Since being drafted by the Falcons, Norwood has been a reliable off-beat runner behind Michael Turner.
Missouri: Jeremy Maclin
Fans in Columbia have Jeremy Maclin representing them as the best player in the NFL currently.
Maclin had one of the greatest freshman campaigns in college history when he set the record for most all-purpose yards for a first-year player. He would go onto being one of the best wide receivers in the college game, and was selected to the All-American team twice.
After dropping farther in the first round than he thought he would go, Maclin was taken by the Eagles. In Philadephia he has made himself into being one of the better second options in the NFL, and teams with DeSean Jackson to form one of the fastest combos in the league.
Other Tigers of note:
Navy: Kyle Eckel
The Naval Academy graduate was one of the best runners that has come through the institution. He ranks fourth in the history of the academy in rushing yards, almost reaching the 3,000-yard mark by the end of his career.
Coming into the NFL, Eckel was a top fullback prospect as he went undrafted, and was picked up by the Patriots. Eckel has since bounced around to different teams including the Dolphins, Eagles, Saints and now the Broncos. In his NFL career he has rushed for two touchdowns.
Nebraska: Ndamukong Suh
In what was one of the most accomplished senior seasons in the history of college football, Ndamukong Suh won almost every award that could be given out.
AP Player of the Year, Outland Trophy, Bednarik Award, Bronco Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award—Suh won them all and was a Heisman Trophy finalist among countless other accolades. He was than selected with the second overall pick by the Detroit Lions. In his rookie season he has already changed the culture of the Lions defense, recording sacks, intercepting a pass, and showing an uncanny ability to stuff the run.
Other Cornhuskers of note:
Kyle Vanden Bosch
Nevada: Nate Burleson
It's hard to produce more than Nate Burleson did for the Wolf Pack in his college career. He once caught 138 passes in one season, which is the second-highest total in the history of college football. He would later be drafted by the Minnesota Vikings.
He has become a solid receiver receiver who has also been with Seattle and now with Detroit, where he has been given the nickname "Recepticon" to go along with Calvin Johnson's "Megatron."
UNLV: Eric Wright
It is hard enough to imagine going to school in Las Vegas, but in Eric Wright's college career he spent time at USC and UNLV.
He was drafted by the Browns after one season at UNLV in the second round, and has become a playmaking corner for Cleveland.
New Mexico: Brian Urlacher
For a player that did not get any scholarship offers from any "big-time" programs, and was a tweener linebacker/safety in college, Brian Urlacher has shown that it did not matter as he has been one of the best middle linebackers in the game over the last 10 seasons.
After setting the record for most tackles in one season in New Mexico, Urlacher went on to be selected by the Bears in the first round, where he has spent his entire career. The six-time Pro Bowler was the Rookie of the Year in 2000, and won the defensive MVP award in 2005. He has been known to make plays in many different ways over the years, and has been the backbone of the Bears.
Hank Baskett, also a Lobo, has had a solid NFL career as a receiver and special teams player. He is most known as being the husband of Kenrda from The Girls Next Door, and for having the ball kicked to him on the surprise onside kick in the Super Bowl this year.
New Mexico State: Tony Wragge
Tony Wragge is solid NFL guard who made his way out of the Sun Belt conference and Arena League to become a dependable player for the 49ers.
North Carolina: Julius Peppers
It is fitting that the best player from the Tar Heels also played on the hardwood, which the school is best known for.
Julius Peppers had a marvelous college career in which he finished second in school history in career sacks, and was an All-American before being the second overall pick by the Panthers. He was the Rookie of the Year in his first NFL season, and has been elected to five Pro Bowls in his career.
He is regarded by many to be one of the most athletic defensive linemen in NFL history.
Other Tar Heels of note:
SMU: Emmanuel Sanders
The "Pony Express" has not churned out a great NFL player since before the "death penalty" with Eric Dickerson, but the program continues to get better and it is a matter of time before there are a few in the NFL.
But, one rookie by the name of Emmanuel Sanders for the Steelers is beginning to look like a player who can be able to start a new legacy for SMU. He is a quick wide receiver who is learning under one of the best in Hines Ward.
North Texas: Brian Waters
Truly one of the NFL tales that can inspire people to keep going and not give up on their dream.
Brian Waters was an undrafted player out of North Texas before coming to the Kansas City Cheifs. Since that time he has become one of the best linemen in the game, and has shown teams they need to dig a little bit deeper sometimes.
He has been to five Pro Bowls and also won the Walter Payton Award for his off-the-field work.
N.C. State: Mario Williams
Along with Philip Rivers, Mario Williams has shown that the Wolfpack can take a huge bite out of the NFL.
Williams was a standout All-American at N.C. State, and was not surprisingly taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft ahead of Reggie Bush and Vince Young. Some thought he would end up being a bust, but he quickly proved them wrong.
He has been to two Pro Bowls and has already made his mark on the Texans as he has the record for most sacks in a season with the franchise.
Other Pack of note:
Northern Illinois: Michael Turner
In 2003, Michael "The Burner" Turner was one of the most electrifying running backs in the entire country for the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Since than he has had a very respectable journey to become one of the elite runners in the league. Coming into the NFL in the fifth round to the Chargers, Turner had to be patient behind LaDanian Tomlinson until his first crack at free agency when he was swooped up by the Falcons.
He immediately took advantage of the opportunity that was given to him as he rushed for 220 yards in the first game he ever played for Atlanta. He went on to make the Pro Bowl in his first season with the team, and he continues to be a top back in the NFL.
Other Huskies of note:
Northwestern: Luis Castillo
The Northwestern Wildcats have been known to both get it done in the class room and on the field over the last 15 years. No player continues to demonstrate that spirit like defensive tackle Luis Castillo.
Castillo was an All-American selection in many publications in college, while earning that honor academically as well. He was drafted in the first round by the Chargers. He was only the second Domincan player to be drafted, and the first to go in the first round.
He has been a Pro Bowl-caliber player in his career in San Diego, and has proven to be a solid teammate.
Other Wildcats of note:
Notre Dame: Justin Tuck
Coming from perhaps the most storied college football team in the nation, Justin Tuck has shown that he represents the golden domers well.
A dominant defensive end in college, nicknamed "The Freak", Tuck set the single season and career records for sacks for the Fighting Irish.
Upon joining the New York Giants, he learned from one of the best in Michael Strahan, and was a key contributor in the stunning Super Bowl win over the Patriots. He has also been named to a Pro Bowl in his career.
Other Fighting Irish of note:
Ohio State: Nick Mangold
From a school that has produced some top-level talent throughout the years. The Ohio State University is the alma mater of by many accounts the best center in the entire league.
Nick Mangold was a great center while in college as a Buckeye, starting three of the four seasons that he spent in Columbus. He was a first-round selection by the New York Jets and replaced the All-Pro veteran Kevin Mawae. He has become one of the best since, earning trips to the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons.
Other Buckeyes of note:
Ohio: Dave Zastudil
This former All-American punting Bobcat has been a solid punter in the NFL for nearly a decade.
Not many punters get drafted. Many work their way onto a roster after injuries or stints in other football leagues. Dave Zastudil was not one them. He was one of two punters that was selected in the 2002 draft, and was taken in the fourth round. So far in his career he has been steady to kick 40 yards a punt, but has run into season-ending injuries the last two years.
Oklahoma: Adrian Peterson
One of the best players of his generation, Adrian Peterson has already shown he has the ability and attributes to be one of the best to ever lace them up.
As soon as stepped on the football field in Norman, he showed what he was capable of. He had one of the best freshman seasons in the history of collegiate football, finishing second in the Heisman voting. He was an All-American and Doak Walker finalist as well, and would later be named to the All-Decade Team.
His great Sooners years quickly turned into amazing Viking years in the NFL. Like in college, he made an immediate impact, winning the Rookie of the Year award, and in his short career has been voted to three Pro Bowls.
Other Sooners of note:
Oklahoma State: Dez Bryant
It is hard to say that a rookie is the best player from a high-profile school like Oklahoma State, but Dez Bryant's talents for the Cowboys cannot be ignored.
In college he was an All-American and before he was suspended was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. He was still thought to go in the mid-first round of the draft but somehow fell to the Cowboys, who swooped him up. He has since shown his big-play ability on punt returns and as a receiver. He will be the main attraction in Michael Irvin's number for years to come.
Other Cowboys of note:
Oregon: Jonathan Stewart
The Ducks are the cream of the crop in college football these days, but before they were national title contenders every season, they were a talented team with a star running back in Jonathan Stewart.
J-Stew was one of the those few players in college that live up to the blue-chip, 5-star reputation that is put on them. He decided after an All-American junior year to leave behind a possible Heisman year as a senior for the NFL. Since being a first-round pick by the Carolina Panthers, Stewart has set records for Carolina, and proven to a game-changer when he is healthy.
Other Ducks of note:
Oregon State: Steven Jackson
Production, production, production.
That is what Steven Jackson has given the teams that he has played for over the course of his playing days. At Oregon State he became one of the best and most profilic players in the school's history in only three seasons as a Beaver.
In the NFL he has been the one bright spot on some lousy Rams teams, and has made the Pro Bowl in two different seasons.
Other Beavers of note:
Penn State: Robbie Gould
I know what you are thinking. Penn State is "Linebacker U" and a cradle for NFL stars.
In no way do I feel that naming Robbie Gould as being the best in the business from Penn State as an insult. Simply put, Gould is the third-most accurate kicker in the history of the game. Since coming to the Bears after being cut by the Patriots, Gould has shown an innate ability to make clutch kicks in rain or snow.
Cameron Wake is an excellent choice as well, but I'd like to see another great season from him.
Can't wait to hear what you think about this!
Other Nittany Lions of note:
Pittsburgh: Larry Fitzgerald
Between Larry Fitzgerald and Darrelle Revis, it is very hard to say who the best in the NFL is from the Pittsburgh Panthers. But, in the end, Fitzgerald very well could go down as perhaps one of the best wide receivers of all time.
In college he was one of the most productive and impactful wideouts to ever step on a college campus. He barely lost out on winning the Heisman Trophy and won every receiving honor that could be given to one person. He has been nicknamed "The Best Hands in the NFL" and has made four Pro Bowls thus far, and nearly brought the people of Arizona a championship.
Other Panthers of note:
Purdue: Drew Brees
The face of the NFL right now, Drew Brees has truly put his stamp on the game both in his time as a professional and as a collegiate player.
At Purdue, Brees very well could be the greatest Big Ten quarterback in the history of the conference. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist twice in his time there, and led the Boilermakers to the Rose Bowl. But, his greatest accomplishment, of course, is leading the Saints to the Super Bowl last season and being named the game's MVP in a victory over the Colts.
Other Boilermakers of note:
Rice: James Casey
A former baseball player in the minor leagues for the Chicago White Sox, James Casey decided that he was going to give football a try, and enrolled at Rice to play for the Owls.
It was no doubt a wise choice as he played two seasons for the Owls, and was an all-conference tight end. He was than drafted by the local Houston Texans in the fifth round of the draft. He is still trying to make his way on the field, and hopes to make Rice proud.
Rutgers: Ray Rice
Rutgers' all-time greatest running back, Ray Rice has become quickly one of the best forces to hit the NFL. He was a Doak Walker finalist along with being an All-American, and shattered countless record.
He was a second-round pick by the Ravens and has quickly become a Pro Bowler in his short career.
San Diego State: Kirk Morrison
He was twice named the Defensive Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference before being a third-round pick in the NFL.
Kirk Morrison has been a tackling machine since coming into the NFL as he led the the Raiders in tackles in 2007. He has since been traded to the Jaguars under defensive-minded Jack Del Rio.
San Jose State: Joe Nedney
The all-time leading scorer in the history of his alma mater, Joe Nedney once booted a 62-yarder while in college.
Since then he has bounced around to eight different teams in his career, and the left-footed kicker has been known to have among the best distance on kicks in the league.
South Carolina: Sidney Rice
"King Rice," or Sidney as he is known to some, has been blowing by corners since high school. But, in college he made a name for himself breaking the USC record for touchdown receptions at the school in only two seasons.
He was a second-round choice by Minnesota, where he exploded with Brett Favre in 2009 and was selected to the Pro Bowl. He also holds the record for touchdown receptions in one playoff game with three.
Other Gamecocks of note:
South Florida: Mike Jenkins
A Florida native, Mike Jenkins had a standout career as a corner at South Florida which included an appearance on the All-American team along with other honors.
That is why he was a first-round pick by "America's Team" and has since made it to the Pro Bowl.
Southern Mississippi: Brett Favre
What is there to say that hasn't already been said.
He is perhaps the toughest and perhaps best player ever to lace them up (which could be said for a select few) and is a throw back to old-school football players.
He has almost all the records, good and bad, that a quarterback could have, and has the streak for consecutive starts along with three MVPs, 11 Pro Bowls, and most importantly a Super Bowl while with the Packers.
Stanford: Toby Gerhart
I think in a few short months it is going to be very difficult to not have Andrew Luck in the position that I have Toby Gerhart in as of now.
But, Toby Gerhart was the man who along with coach Jim Harbaugh brought the Stanford Cardinal football program back to prominance. In his junior and especially his senior season, Gerhart was unstoppable for Stanford. He was the runner-up for the Heisman, won the Doak Walker, Jim Brown and Archie Griffin awards, and landed every other honor out there in college football.
He could have gone back for another season, but instead went pro and has seen some action behind Adrian Peterson with the Minnesota Vikings.
Other Cardinal of note:
Syracuse: Dwight Freeney
Marvin Harrison and Donovan McNabb had held this honor before him as being the best Orange in the NFL. But now Dwight Freeney, who is one of the better pass rushers of his generation, stands alone.
His list of accomplishments are incredible considering he should have several more good seasons ahead of him. He has been a Pro Bowl selection six times, was an All-Decade player, and was a member of the Colts' Super Bowl championship. In 2005, Freeney was also named as the Defensive Player of the Year.
Other Orange of note:
Temple: Raheem Brock
Coming from Bill Cosby's beloved Temple Owls, Raheem Brock has had a very successful NFL career since being drafted into the league in 2002.
He established himself as a solid lineman with the Colts for many years, and was a member of the team when they won the Super Bowl. Since leaving Indy he has joined up with the Seahawks.
Tennessee: Peyton Manning
One of the best to ever suit up the pads.
Peyton Manning has been amazing at every level since he began playing the game. He was perhaps the greatest Vol of all time in Knoxville despite never winning the national championship in his time there. He won every award that he was eligible for except for the Heisman Trophy.
And, upon coming into the NFL he has never looked back. Four MVPs, 11 Pro Bowls, Super Bowl MVP, and an All-Decade selection are but some of the accomplishments for #18.
Other Vols of note:
Texas: Brian Orakpo
The Longhorns have long be known to make the biggest and best at the next level. In the case of Brian Orakpo, it is certainly the case.
An athletic "freak" who won all the awards that they could hand out in college, Orakpo was a first-round pick by the Redskins. He has since made it to the Pro Bowl as a rookie and is one of the best young defensive players in the game.
Other Longhorns of note:
Texas A&M: Pat Williams
Though his time in the league has come to end, Pat Williams has been one of the biggest and best at his position over the years in Buffalo and Minnesota.
In Minnesota he was apart of the famous and imposing "Williams Wall" with lineman Kevin Williams, and in his time in the league was named to three Pro Bowls.
Other Aggies of note:
TCU: LaDainian Tomlinson
Undoubtely one of the best running backs in history, LT has been terrorizing defenses since high school. He was a Doak Walker winner at TCU and was also a Heisman Trophy finalist before coming to the NFL.
In his time in San Diego he broke the record for most rushing touchdowns in one season and was named MVP of the league in 2006. He also has been named to five Pro Bowls and was named to the All-Decade Team.
He is a Hall of Famer in waiting and is hoping to win a ring to add to his great career.
Texas Tech: Wes Welker
No one has ever thought Wes Welker could do it. Whether he was not given a scholarship to play in college until the last minute, or being undrafted out of Texas Tech after being a productive wideout and amazing special teams player, Wes has always overcome the odds and shown he is one of the best at what he does.
He has been to the Pro Bowl on three different occasions and has also led the league in receptions in a season.
Other Red Raiders of note:
UTEP: Johnnie Lee Higgins
A football and track star at UTEP, Johnnie Lee Higgins was brought into the league by Oakland to be an explosive punt returning threat.
And, early on in his career he was just that. He was able to return punts for touchdowns in two straight games in 2007 and led the Raiders receivers in yards that season as well.
Toledo: Chester Taylor
Few players play out the course of their careers as strangely as Chester Taylor. Though he has shown throughout his career that he has the ability to be a starter in the league, he has been a backup for every team that he has played for.
Troy: DeMarcus Ware
One of the best players in football, DeMarcus Ware has shown that he is among the most fierce and unstoppable players in the game.
Since coming to the Cowboys after getting 27 sacks in his college career, Ware has been put in five Pro Bowls, and by many accounts is the best pass rusher in the league. He is only beginning to hit the prime of his playing career, which could go on to be one of the more brilliant the league has seen.
Other Troy players of note:
Tulane: Matt Forte
Matt Forte for the Bears is becoming a mainstay of excellence in both the rushing and receiving game much like Marshall Faulk was for the great Rams teams.
Forte was a great running back for Tulane, where he was a Doak Walker finalist with outstanding stats against what was surely deemed "inferior" competiton. Despite this, he was taken in the second round by the Bears and had a superb rookie season.
He has since overcome a sophomore slump to regain the rookie form.
Tulsa: Garrett Mills
Garrett Mills is college football's all-time receiving yards leader in a season for tight end. Though this great accomplishment helped him get drafted in the fourth round in the NFL, he has seen little action while being on several teams.
UCLA: Maurice Jones-Drew
One of the most electrfying players in the NFL, Maurice Jones-Drew, or simply "MJD," has been huge in terms of real, on-the-field football and in the fantasy leagues for millions.
In college he set the all-time NCAA mark for punt return average and was one of the great Bruin running backs that they have ever had. Since joining the Jags, MJD has enjoyed amazing seasons including two Pro Bowl appearances, and has taken over fantasy football with his long runs and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Other Bruins of note:
USC: Troy Polamalu
It is hard to choose the greatest playing now from some schools. But, an NFL talent factory like USC is especially hard. It's a good thing there is a standout player like Troy Polamalu that can make that job a little bit easier.
Troy was apart of the Trojan teams that were some of the best that any college football fan has seen over the past couple of decades. He was one of the best secondary players in the country before going in the first round to the Steelers.
Since then he has become perhaps one of the five best defensive players in the game, with six Pro Bowls to his credit to go along with his two Super Bowl rings. He was also named to the All-Decade Team.
Other Trojans of note:
Utah- Jordan Gross
It is hard to leave off a couple people with the last name "Smith" on the list of great former Utes in the NFL, but Jordan Gross plays a key role in everything the Panthers offense has done since 2003.
At Utah, Gross was a finalist for the Outland Award and was a consensus All-American selection. Since that time he has made two pro bowls, and has is the key piece of the puzzle in rebuilding the struggling offense of the Carolina Panthers.
Other Utes of note:
Utah State- Chris Cooley
The outspoken Chris Cooley, tight end for the Washington Redskins is surprisingly as candid as he despite being born in Wyoming and attending Utah State in college.
At Utah State he was a top tight end in the country. He was even a finalist for the Mackey Award as he led tight ends in receptions in his senior season. His off the field zanyness has been kept in check by his outstanding on the field play that has led his to be in the pro bowl on two different occasions.
Vanderbilt- Jay Cutler
It is a hard thing to do in becoming one of the best in the SEC and NFL when you were on the constant losing trend of being a Vanderbilt Commader.
But, Jay Cutler has done just that. In college he made an impact immediately and in his time in Nashville he set all the offensive passing records that an individual can set at a particular school. He was a Johnny Unitas finalist and was a 1st team All-SEC selection in his senior season. In the NFL he has shown his dynamic talent and rocket passing arm on many occasions. Despite having a tendency to throw the interception, he has made the pro bowl before, and now with Chicago has made it his team.
Virginia- Matt Schaub
Matt Schaub was simply the best offensive player that the University of Virginia has ever seen. Any player that holds over 20+ offensive records for their alma mater must have been doing something right in his time there.
And, since leaving the Cavaliers and stepping out of Michael Vick's shadow as his backup in Atlanta, Schaub has been brilliant. Though he has had to overcome injuries in his career, he has become a pro bowler and his tandem connection with Andre Johnson is one of the best QB-WR combo's in the entire league.
Other Cavaliers of note:
Virginia Tech- Michael Vick
The story of Michael Vick is a tale that many American's, football fans or not have come to know very well.
Some love him, some hate him, some respect him, while others resent him. In a football sense it is amazing what he has accomplished despite losing a part of the prime of his career to being in prison.
In college he led the Hokies to the National Championship and was a Heisman finalist. As a pro he has made it to the Pro Bowl on four different occasions and continues to be perhaps the most exciting player to ever lace them up.
Other Hokies of note:
Wake Forest- Aaron Curry
A quick and dominating All-American at Wake Forest, Aaron Curry was drafted with the 4th overall pick in the draft by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2009 Draft.
Yes, the former Butkus Award winner had a senior season that not many can match for the Demon Deacons. He was given the most money in his first contract than any player at a non-quarterback position. Pete Carroll will look to Curry to be the "rock" of his defense for many years to come.
Washington- Olin Kreutz
In future years, Jake Locker is going to try to take this spot and make it his. But, until that day comes it will belong to the intimidating Bears center Olin Kreutz.
After becoming an All-Pac 10 player, Olin decided to leave the Huskies early in pursuit of the NFL. He is the only Bear from the failed Dave Wannstedt era, but continues to be a leader of the Bears to this day. He is a six-time pro bowler and was selected to the All-Decade team.
Other Huskies of note:
Washington State- Marcus Trufant
Many back in the day would have expected Ryan Leaf to be the man representing the Cougars. But, that is not how it shaked out and Marcus Trufant is the best of the best from Washington State.
Trufant was an extremely dominant corner in college as he did not allow a single touchdown against himself in the last two years at WSU. He was All-Pac 10 and a second team All-American before being drafted by the homestate Seahawks in the 1st round.
He has since become one of the most reliable corners in the league making a Pro Bowl appearance in 2007, and has recorded 19 interceptions in his career.
West Virginia- Steve Slaton
One of the most storied players in Big East history, Steve Slaton had a legendary college career, and has shown that he possess the ability to compete in the NFL with anybody.
This former Heisman finalist owns almost every offensive record at West Virginia and for that matter most of the records for the Big East Conference. Perhaps one of his best records was his single-handely scoring 36 points against Louisville. He was taken in the 3rd round of the draft by the Texans, and had a brilliant rookie campaign showing he could do it all. Since than Slaton has been often injured and has been moved to special teams, and backed up Arian Foster, but still is a dangerous threat anytime he touches the ball.
Other Mountaineers of note:
Western Kentucky- No Players in NFL
Way to represent WKU.
Western Michigan- Greg Jennings
Aaron Rodgers favorite target in Green Bay these days is undoubtely former Western Michigan Bronco Greg Jennings.
The man who has the WMU record for all-purpose yards, and is in the top ten in MAC history in that statistic has made amazing adjustments to the NFL game. He was taken in the second round of the draft by the Packers, and has since shown to be very prone to make the big-time catch.
Wisconsin- Joe Thomas
Looking up a franchise left tackle is every NFL teams dream to ensure the quarterback survives throughout the season. That is exactly what the Browns have in Joe Thomas.
At Wisconsin, Thomas was one of the best offensive lineman to play in the Big Ten in years. He won the Outland and Jim Parker awards in his time as a Badgers, He was drafted by the Browns with the 3rd overall pick in the NFL Draft along with Brady Quinn, who did not work in Cleveland.
He has since become perhaps the Browns best and most solid player making the pro bowl in all three seasons, and will no doubt attend many more in what appears to be a Hall of Fame bound career.
Other Badgers of note:
Wyoming- Malcom Floyd
Obviously, Wyoming is not the most talked about state or college in the union. But, they did produce productive Chargers wideout Malcom Floyd.
In his time in Laramie he was one of the better wide receivers in the Mountain West conference before going undrafted in 2004. The Chargers signed the 6'5 wideout and since that time he has played his entire career in San Diego. He has been a solid threat for Phillip Rivers to go along with Antonio Gates among others.