2001 Miami Hurricanes and the Most NFL-Rich College Football Teams Ever

Dan Tylicki@DanTylickiAnalyst IDecember 14, 2010

2001 Miami Hurricanes and the Most NFL-Rich College Football Teams Ever

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    MIAMI - NOVEMBER 15:  Kellen Winslow #81 of the Miami Hurricanes waits outside the huddle on the sidelines as the Canes defeated the Syracuse Orangemen 17-10  during NCAA football action on November 15, 2003 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. (Photo by
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    As the college football season wraps up, a national champion will be crowned, and all eyes will turn to the NFL Draft. Players will declare and work out for teams in hopes of being one of the top picks selected.

    Being selected in the NFL Draft is the culmination of one's collegiate efforts and is sometimes why players decide to attend the schools they do.

    After all, some college teams, even if they weren't national title contenders, have brought in a boatload of talent that went on to have great success in the NFL.

    The following are 20 of the best college classes in this regard—the ones who gave the NFL the greatest talent.

2001 Miami Hurricanes

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    1 Dec 2001:  Quarterback Ken Dorsey #11 of the Miami Hurricanes runs with the ball during the NCAA game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Miami defeated Virginia Tech 26-24.  Mandatory Credit:  Criag Jones/Getty Im
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    One of the greatest college teams of all time also had one of the greatest draft pools of all time.

    Six players were drafted in the first round, and many of them still play today: Andre Johnson, Bryant McKinnie, Jeremy Shockey, Phillip Buchanon, Ed Reed and Mike Rumph.

    Not to be outdone, the later rounds included Clinton Portis, Ken Dorsey and Najeh Davenport. Underclassmen who later joined the league include Jonathan Vilma and Willis McGahee.

    You could build an NFL team with just the 2001 Hurricanes.

2004 Miami Hurricanes

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    Miami defensive back Brandon Meriweather (19) celebrates a play for  the South  team at the 2007 Under Armour Senior Bowl in Mobile Jan. 27. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    The Hurricanes in 2004 did not have the same success as the team in 2001, but once they got to the NFL, they could hang with the rest.

    Drafted players include Antrel Rolle, Roscoe Parrish and Frank Gore. Underclassmen who later went on to be drafted include Devin Hester, Kelly Jennings and Brandon Meriweather.

1980 Pittsburgh Panthers

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    CANTON, OH - AUGUST 7: Russ Grimm poses with his bust during the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium on August 7, 2010 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Pittsburgh Panthers had a great team in the early 1980s that saw some NFL success. They don't have the quantity that Miami does, but they had multiple Hall of Famers. Hugh Green, Randy McMillan, Mark May, Rickey Jackson and Russ Grimm were among the selections.

    Their sophomore quarterback was also drafted a couple years later: Dan Marino.

1982 SMU Mustangs

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    LONG BEACH, CA - APRIL 19: Former football player Eric Dickerson attends the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 32 Annual Pro/Celebrity Race on April 19, 2008 in Long Beach, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
    Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

    Controversy aside, this team focused on quality over quantity in moving to the NFL.

    Eric Dickerson became a high-level pro running back and set the single-season rushing record, Wes Hopkins is an underrated defensive back and Craig James was the last white player until recently to rush for 1,000 yards.

    Beyond that, Dale Hellestrae was a longtime fixture in the Cowboys' multiple Super Bowl victories, and Rod Jones and Joe Phillips played for a while as well.

1999 Tennessee Volunteers

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    11 Oct 1997:  Jamal Lewis of the Tennessee Volunteers runs with the ball during a game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Tennessee won the game 38-13. Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones  /Allsport
    Craig Jones/Getty Images

    Despite losing Peyton Manning, the 1999 Vols were a great team. They were national champions, and the talent they sent to the NFL reflected that.

    Jamal Lewis and Shaun Ellis were both first-round draft picks, and later picks included Raynoch Thompson, Deon Grant and Chad Clifton.

    The undergraduate roster is likely better: Travis Henry, Donte' Stallworth, John Henderson and Albert Haynesworth.

1980 USC Trojans

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    Sep 1988:  Strong safety Ronnie Lott of the San Francisco 49ers focuses on the ball as he follows in pursuit during a 49ers game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.   Mandatory Credit: Allsport USA/ALLSPORT
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    The roster of the 1980 Trojans is so good that it could be compared to the 2001 Hurricanes. Keith Van Horne, Dennis Smith and Ronnie Lott were first-round draft picks, and the players drafted in the 1981 class were even more decorated.

    The 1980 team at USC included Marcus Allen, Chip Banks, Bruce Matthews, Jack Del Rio, Roy Foster and Hoby Brennan. Add a quarterback to this core and you have yourself a team.

2003 USC Trojans

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03:  Reggie Bush #5 of the USC Trojans runs with the ball against the UCLA Bruins during the game on December 3, 2005 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. USC won 66-19. (Photo by Christian Petersen/G
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    You could move this up or down a year depending on who you want to include (put it at 2002 if you want Carson Palmer or Troy Polamalu in), but nonetheless USC in the early 2000s was an NFL factory.

    The draft class in 2004 wasn't anything special: just Keary Colbert and Kenechi Udeze. After that, though, the doors flew off.

    NFL players on the 2003 team include Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Matt Cassel, Sedrick Ellis, Steve Smith, Eric Wright and Lofa Tatupu, to name a few. Perhaps there are no future Hall of Famers there, but certainly there are good players.

1987 UCLA Bruins

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    29 Oct 1988:  Quarterback Troy Aikman of the UCLA Bruins runs down the field during a game against the Washington State Cougars at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  Washington State won the game 34-30. Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell  /Allsport
    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    Once upon a time, UCLA was actually good in football. They had Freeman McNeil, Jay Schroeder and others that ended up drafted.

    Their 1987 team, however, was amazing at the pro level. Players drafted included Gaston Green, Ken Norton Jr., Willie "Flipper" Anderson and David Richards.

    The following year, Carnell Lake was drafted, as was a quarterback selected by the Cowboys named Troy Aikman.

2003 LSU Tigers

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 6:  Offensive guard Terrell McGill #68 of the LSU Tigers waives the team flag after the game against the Georgia Bulldogs inthe SEC Championship Game on December 6, 2003 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. LSU defeated Georgia
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Many remember the championship dispute between USC and LSU in 2003, but what some may not is that LSU's team may have been better in the NFL. Marcus Spears and LaRon Landry led the defense, but the offense is what was truly loaded.

    Outside of bust quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn, the offense in the NFL includes Joseph Addai, Michael Clayton, Devery Henderson and Dwayne Bowe. They also make up half of the Bengals' offensive line with Andrew Whitworth and Nate Livings.

1994 Florida State Seminoles

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    DENVER - OCTOBER 05:  Running back Warrick Dunn #28 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up prior to facing  the Denver Broncos during NFL action on October 5, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Buccaneers 16-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Get
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    One year removed from the national championship, the 1994 Florida State team was likely better as an NFL team than a college team.

    The many players that went on to the NFL include Derrick Brooks, Zack Crockett, Corey Fuller, Orpheus Roye, Warrick Dunn and Tra Thomas, just to name a few.

1999 Florida State Seminoles

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    20 Nov 1999:  Reggie Durden #1 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates on the field during the game against the Florida Gators at the Ben HillGriffin Stadium in Gainsville, Florida. The Seminoles defeated the Gators 23-30. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The 1999 team was another one that was simply loaded on offense. They did have some players drafted on the defensive end (Corey Simon, Chris Hope), but it was the offense that shined. Players drafted from that include Chris Weinke, Travis Minor, Peter Warrick and Ron Dugans.

    If those names sound more like NFL busts, let's try Laveranues Coles, Anquan Boldin, Javon Walker and Sebastian Janikowski.

1997 Michigan Wolverines

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 12: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Patriots beat the Bears 36-7.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    When one thinks of Michigan, late 1990s, Tom Brady comes to mind. Beyond that, though, they were also the national champions in 1997 and turned that into a great NFL legacy.

    Besides Brady, NFL players included Brian Griese, Jay Feely, Steve Hutchinson, Dhani Jones, Anthony Thomas and Charles Woodson.

2003 Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith runs from the pocket during the 2007 Under Armour Senior Bowl game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama, January 27, 2007. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    While many of these teams load up the NFL with great offense, Ohio State teams go the other way, bringing loads of defense into the league.

    The 2003 team sent Will Smith, Chris Gamble and Michael Jenkins into the league in the first round, though they did take a year off in 2004, not sending in much besides Mike Nugent.

    In 2005 and 2006, they unloaded everything into the NFL, including A.J. Hawk, Donte Whitner, Santonio Holmes, Bobby Carpenter, Nick Mangold, Ashton Youboty, Ted Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez and Troy Smith.

2005 Texas Longhorns

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    HOUSTON - DECEMBER 3:  Quarterback Vince Young #10 of the Texas Longhorns holds up the trophy following the Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship against the Colorado Buffaloes at Reliant Stadium on December 3, 2005  in Houston, Texas. The Longhorns defeated the
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The 2005 Longhorns had a mix of great upperclassmen that won the championship as well as great freshmen who are now making an impact on the NFL. Players drafted include Vince Young, Ahmard Hall, Cedric Griffin and Michael Huff.

    Players drafted or who played later on include Justin Blalock, Colt McCoy, Selvin Young, Jamaal Charles, Limas Sweed, Brian Orakpo and Michael Griffin.

1981 Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 27:  Head coach Turner Gill of the Kansas Jayhawks coaches from the sidelines during the game against the Missouri Tigers on November 27, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The Nebraska Cornhuskers always seem to create NFL talent, even if they don't have the country's best teams.

    Such was the case in the early 1980s, where graduates included Irving Fryar, Roger Craig, Mike Rozier and Dave Rimington. Not necessarily huge names, but they had very nice careers nonetheless.

1995 Nebrasksa Cornhuskers

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    7 Sep 1996:  Running back Ahman Green of the Nebraska Cornhuskers looks up field as he makes a cut to the outside during a carry in the Cornhuskers 55-14 victory over the Michigan State Spartans at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Mandatory Credit:
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    While the 1981 team was good, the 1995 team was great, winning the national title for the second straight year.

    Players that went on to the NFL from this team were Kris Brown, Ahman Green, Eric Warfield and Grant Wistrom, to name a few.

1988 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    26 Nov 1988:  Flanker Raghib Ismail of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs down the field during a game against the Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  Notre Dame won the game 27-10. Mandatory Credi
    Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images

    Some time ago, Notre Dame was the face of college football, as is evident in their 1988 championship. While they had many go on to the pros, some of them ended up having short yet tragic careers (Jeff Alm and Rodney Culver).

    Others did have solid careers, however, such as Todd Lyght, Andy Heck, Rod Smith, Anthony Johnson and Raghib Ismail. The cream of the crop, however, was potential Hall of Famer Ricky Watters.

1984 BYU Cougars

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 18:  Monday Night Football Analyst Steve Young talks just prior to the start of the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field on October 18, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by J. Mer
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    This group of national championship players took a while to get moving in the NFL but was great once they did.

    The top of this group is Hall of Famer Steve Young, though linemen Trevor Matich and Bart Oates were solid. Others who were productive at the pro level include Kurt Gouveia, Leon White, Vai Sikahema and Jason Buck.

1987 Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    6 Dec 1998:  Barry Sanders #20 of the Detroit Lions carries the ball during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars defeated the Lions 37-22. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran  /Allsport
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    The 1987 Oklahoma State team didn't have many players enter the NFL. What they lacked in quantity, they made up for in quality. In 1988, Ricky Shaw and Thurman Thomas were drafted, and in 1989, Hart Lee Dykes was drafted.

    Another player that was drafted in 1989 was none other than Barry Sanders.

1997 Georgia Bulldogs

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    BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 05:  Wide receiver Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on while playing against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter of the game at M&T Bank Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Geof
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    Georgia in the late 1990s was composed of a team of very good players. Once they made the leap to the NFL, they became great.

    Players on the 1997 team include Hines Ward, Champ Bailey, Chris Terry, Patrick Pass, Marcus Stroud and Richard Seymour.

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