The Top 25 NFL Talent-Producing Programs in College Football

Beau BarkerdingContributor IAugust 29, 2011

The Top 25 NFL Talent-Producing Programs in College Football

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    Putting guys in the league is something all major college football programs want to be a part of in spades.  

    The number of former players on current NFL rosters is a measure of success, a reassurance of relevancy, the ultimate recruiting angle, a barometer of coaching caliber and a source of pride.

    As the sun rises on a new NFL season, come inside and see which programs have been stocking the pro pond.  Bragging rights included.  

    Note: Obviously, NFL rosters are still fluid.  This is the tally at the time this data was compiled.  Also, this is purely quantitative.

25: Kansas State

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    Kansas State

    Two decades into the Bill Snyder era, the middle America "Little Apple" has produced some big talent among the taller trees of the Big 12.

    NFL Players: 20

    Offense: 12

    Defense: 8

    The Household Names: Josh Freeman, Terence Newman, Darren Sproles

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: 0 

    Undergrad Enrollment: 19,205

    State Population: 2.85 million

24 (tie): Mississippi State

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    Mississippi State

    The wheels are turning on the Dan Mullen train in Starkville.  Bulldog fans have enjoyed marked improvement on the field and on the recruiting trail.  Mullen developed former overall No. 1 pick Alex Smith and first-rounder Tim Tebow.  Despite recruiting head to head with the SEC powers and two formidable in-state schools, Mullen's inventive offensive mind should have more Bulldogs crossing the draft stage in years to come—assuming he sticks around. 

    NFL Players: 21

    Offense: 9

    Defense: 12

    The Household Names: Tommy Kelly, Jerious Norwood

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: 0 

    Undergrad Enrollment: 15,074

    State Population: 2.97 million

24 (tie): Texas A&M

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    Texas A&M

    Raking the rich recruiting region of Houston and East Texas, Mike Sherman appears to have returned a sense of competitive consistency to College Station.  Debates rage on as to how the impending move to the SEC will impact recruiting at A&M, but Sherman's NFL experience and pro-style systems should continue to produce NFL players.

    NFL Players: 21

    Offense: 9

    Defense: 12

    The Household Names: Von Miller, Martellus Bennett, Ty Warren

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Yale Lary

    Undergrad Enrollment: 36,952

    State Population: 25.15 million

24 (tie): Texas Tech

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    Texas Tech

    Mike Leach deserves credit for nine years of talent development in Lubbock, but Tommy Tuberville is a seasoned recruiter and there is no reason to think that the program's transition from pile-of-stats to pile-of-dust philosophy will result in a drop off in NFL pile-of-talent.  

    Be it perception or reality, some would insist Tuberville played the recruiting second fiddle to Alabama in many living rooms across the Southeast during his time at Auburn.  In Texas, he might be playing fourth fiddle (to Texas, A&M and OU), but don't look for Tuberville to flinch as he pushes kids up the ladder doing what he's always done: more with less.    

    NFL Players: 21

    Offense: 13

    Defense: 8

    The Household Names: Michael Crabtree, Wes Welker

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: 0

    Undergrad Enrollment: 25,462

    State Population: 25.15 million

23 (tie): Oklahoma State

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    Oklahoma State

    The NFL talent pool is rising in Stillwater.  Mike Gundy is making some noise outside of the press conference room.  Gundy's time as a Cowboy dates all the way back to 1986 when he signed to play QB at OSU.  An Oklahoma native, his recruiting ties run deep.  Gundy was the subject of a heated recruiting battle between OU and OSU as a high school recruit.  In that regard, not much has changed in the Gundy household and the Sooner State.        

    NFL Players: 22

    Offense: 11

    Defense: 11

    The Household Names: Dez Bryant, Kevin Williams

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas

    Undergrad Enrollment: 23,522

    State Population: 3.75 million

23 (tie): Syracuse

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    While head coach Doug Marrone tries to return the 'Cuse to winning ways, the Orangemen juice has been worth the squeeze for the NFL.  Marrone, a Syracuse alumnus, brings NFL playing and coaching experience (including an offensive coordinator role under Sean Payton) to the table that should serve the program well and keep the program on the NFL radar.            

    NFL Players: 22

    Offense: 11

    Defense: 11

    The Household Names: Dwight Freeney, Donovan McNabb,

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Jim Brown, Larry Csonka, Al Davis, Floyd Little, John Mackey, Art Monk, Jim Ringo

    Undergrad Enrollment: 14,201

    State Population: 19.38 million

22 (tie): Arizona

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    This branch of the Stoops coaching family tree has been good for the roots of the NFL.  Head coach Mike Stoops has NFL-playing experience as a defensive back and experience developing a championship program as a member of his older brother's staff at OU.  Stoops hired well on the recruiting front and the staff has developed some solid pro talent.                     

    NFL Players: 23

    Offense: 12

    Defense: 11

    The Household Names: Lance Briggs, Antoine Cason, Mike Bell

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: 0

    Undergrad Enrollment: 30,953

    State Population: 6.4 million

22 (tie): Arkansas

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    The transition from Houston Nutt to Bobby Petrino wasn't met with a drop-off in talent like it may have been at other programs.  Arkansas recruits well in the SEC and top-of-the-line facilities complement a head coach with NFL and big-program experience.              

    NFL Players: 23

    Offense: 15

    Defense: 8

    The Household Names: Felix Jones, Peyton Hillis, Ryan Mallett, Darren McFadden

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Lance Alworth, Dan Hampton

    Undergrad Enrollment: 17,247

    State Population: 2.92 million

22 (tie): TCU

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    The Horned Frogs have long been fighting for national respect in the college ranks, but respect has been paid on NFL rosters.  Head coach Gary Patterson—arguably the best bang for the bucks in college football—has done big things at a small school in his 10 years in Fort Worth.  

    The recent move to a BCS conference should improve an already solid NFL talent output.                  

    NFL Players: 23

    Offense: 10

    Defense: 13

    The Household Name: LaDainain Tomlinson

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Sammy Baugh, Bob Lilly 

    Undergrad Enrollment: 9,142

    State Population: 25.15 million

21: Boston College

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    Boston College

    Much in the same mold of most notable football alumnus Doug Flutie, Boston College plays above its measurables in the development of pro talent.  After the very public firing of head coach Jeff Jagodzinski, the Golden Eagles hired Frank Spaziani.  With more than a dozen years on staff at BC under his belt, "Coach Spaz" looks to leverage leadership continuity into (continued) consistent talent development.                

    NFL Players: 24

    Offense: 13

    Defense: 11

    The Household Names: Matt Hasselbeck, B.J. Raji, Matt Ryan

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Art Donovan, Ernie Stautner

    Undergrad Enrollment: 9,009

    State Population: 6.55 million

20 (tie): Arizona State

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    Arizona State

    There is no NFL talent drought in the desert.  Washington native and former college quarterback Dennis Erickson has been the head coach in Tempe for five seasons.  Although he guided Miami to two national championships (1989 and 1991), Erickson has spent the bulk of his career on the West Coast.  Along with two stints as an NFL head coach (San Francisco and Seattle), Arizona State is Erickson's third head coaching gig in the Pac-10.  

    This Arizona Staff recruits California well and Erickson's experience is almost peerless.

    NFL Players: 26

    Offense: 16

    Defense: 10

    The Household Names: Todd Heap, Terrell Suggs

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Mike Haynes, John Henry Johnson, Randall McDaniel, Charley Taylor

    Undergrad Enrollment: 56,562

    State Population: 6.4 million

20 (tie): Purdue

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    After a decade under head coach Joe Tiller and his innovative spread offense, the Purdue program transitioned into the hands of Danny Hope in 2008.  As the offensive line coach under Tiller, Hope developed several NFL offensive lineman and was the architect of the line that protected Drew Brees.                  

    NFL Players: 26

    Offense: 11

    Defense: 15

    The Household Names: Drew Brees, Matt Light, Kyle Orton

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Len Dawson, Bob Greise, Hank Stram, Rod Woodson

    Undergrad Enrollment: 31,145

    State Population: 6.5 million

20 (tie): Rutgers

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    Head coach Greg Schiano is Rutgers.  For a program that won its first bowl game in 2006, it's remarkable how many current professional players once roamed the halls at Rutgers.  A former NFL coach with the Chicago Bears, Schiano coached Dan Morgan, Jonathan Vilma and Ed Reed during his time at the University of Miami.  Schiano has turned a hapless program into a contender and a consistent producer of next-level talent.                 

    NFL Players: 26

    Offense: 11

    Defense: 15

    The Household Names: Kenny Britt, Ray Rice

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: 0 

    Undergrad Enrollment: 42,327

    State Population: 8.8 million

20 (tie): Stanford

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    Stanford has a longstanding football tradition, but as the highest ranking academic institution with an FBS program, Stanford's place on this list is impressive.  Jim Harbaugh has moved on to the NFL, but during his four seasons at Stanford he turned the program around with an extensive NFL background as both a player and a coach.  New head coach David Shaw, Harbaugh's offensive coordinator, brings NFL experience to the table as well.  Shaw is a Stanford alumnus whose father also coached at Stanford and in the NFL.                   

    NFL Players: 26

    Offense: 16

    Defense: 10

    The Household Names: Toby Gerhart

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: John Elway, James Lofton, Ernie Nevers

    Undergrad Enrollment: 7,000

    State Population: 37.5 million

20 (tie): UCLA

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    Head coach Rick Neuheisel replaced his former UCLA teammate Karl Dorrell in 2007.  Like Dorrell, Neuheisel brought NFL experience to Los Angeles.  Despite strong hires and solid recruiting classes in the face of cross-town rival USC, the Bruins have underachieved.  

    Regardless of the current direction of the program, there continues to be NFL talent on the field.                 

    NFL Players: 26

    Offense: 11

    Defense: 15

    The Household Names: Maurice Jones-Drew, Mercedes Lewis

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Troy Aikman, Tom Fears, Jimmy Johnson, Bob Waterfield

    Undergrad Enrollment: 27,000

    State Population: 37.5 million

19 (tie): Clemson

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    Dabo Swinney took over for Tommy Bowden midseason in 2008.  Swinney is an excellent talent evaluator and recruiter who served as both wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator under Bowden.  Often recognized as one of the best on the recruiting trail, Swinney should have potential NFL talent headed his way year in and year out.        

    NFL Players: 27

    Offense: 12

    Defense: 15

    The Household Names: CJ Spiller, Brian Dawkins

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: 0

    Undergrad Enrollment: 15,500

    State Population: 4.63 million

19 (tie): Michigan State

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    Michigan State

    In a state with two big programs, Michigan State has consistently developed NFL-caliber talent over the years.  Head coach Mark Dantonio is a defensive-minded coach who has spent his fair share of time at big-time programs under big time coaches (including Jim Tressel and Nick Saban).  Dantonio developed 13 NFL draft picks while defensive coordinator at Ohio State where he was a part of the 2002 national championship team.  

    With recent staff shakeups at nearby powers Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan, there is no reason to think this staff won't continue to lure future NFL talent to East Lansing.                 

    NFL Players: 27

    Offense: 17

    Defense: 10

    The Household Names: Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Herb Adderley, Joe DeLamielleure

    Undergrad Enrollment: 36,058

    State Population: 9.88 million

19 (tie): Pitt

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    Head coach Todd Graham enters his first season in Pittsburgh.  Departed Pitt alumnus and Pittsburgh native Dave Wannstedt pulled in considerable talent during his tenure and revived his reputation as a recruiting assassin, a reputation he earned as an assistant under Jimmy Johnson at the University of Miami.  Along with the best mustache in sports, Wannstedt brought NFL blood and to the Steel City campus and NFL-caliber athletes to match.  Graham looks to increase the wins while maintaining the NFL talent level.                   

    NFL Players: 27

    Offense: 9

    Defense: 18

    The Household Names: Larry Fitzgerald, LeSean McCoy, Darrelle Revis 

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett, Russ Grim, Rickey Jackson, Dan Marino, Joe Schmidt

    Undergrad Enrollment: 18,371

    State Population: 12.7 Million

18 (tie): Mississippi

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    With 10 years under his belt in the SEC West, Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt is a steady hand in the back yard of several of the nation's most elite programs.  Nutt replaced Ed Orgeron, a coach known for his recruiting prowess and talent evaluation on both the college and professional levels.  Flanked by the likes of Alabama, Auburn and LSU and sharing the state with Mississippi State and Southern Miss, the head football coach in Oxford always has his hands full on the recruiting trail.  Nutt is as capable as anyone to keep the talent ripe.                  

    NFL Players: 28

    Offense: 13

    Defense: 15

    The Household Names: Eli Manning, Michael Oher, Mike Wallace, Patrick Willis 

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Gene Hickerson, Frank "Bruiser" Kinard

    Undergrad Enrollment: 13,500

    State Population: 2.97 million

18 (tie): South Carolina

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    South Carolina

    The Steve Spurrier NFL head coach experiment didn't work out, but the Spurrier players to the NFL machine rages on.  A Heisman Trophy winner, a 10-year career in the NFL, a decorated college coaching career, a national championship and a mind that changed SEC football...Spurrier has it all. 

    This guy took Duke to a bowl game—my grandchildren won't witness that in their lifetimes.  

    With the SEC East wide open and several huge recruits now on campus, it's safe to assume that the ol' ball coach will continue to put Gamecocks into the NFL.                

    NFL Players: 28

    Offense: 12

    Defense: 16

    The Household Names: John Abraham, Sidney Rice

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: 0 

    Undergrad Enrollment: 29,957

    State Population: 4.63 million

18 (tie): Virginia

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    Al Groh resigned from his NFL head coaching position to take the UVA (his alma mater) job and deliver instant NFL credibility to Charlottesville.  Despite an impressive NFL resume that includes a super Bowl and 10 years under Bill Parcells, the Groh era at Virginia is over. 

    Second-year head coach Mike London looks to push the program back onto the tracks.  London brings head coaching experience and some NFL coaching experience to the table.  Time will tell if he can grow Groh's talent crop.                  

    NFL Players: 28

    Offense: 17

    Defense: 11

    The Household Names: Ronde Barber, James Farrior, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Matt Schaub, Heath Miller  

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Bill Dudley, Henry Jordan, Ralph Wilson, Jr. 

    Undergrad Enrollment: 14,039

    State Population: 8 million

17: Illinois

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    Always known as a premier recruiter, Ron Zook took his talents to Champagne in 2005 following his fall from grace at the University of Florida.  Zook has defensive NFL coaching experience, which includes a stint as defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints. 

    Under Zook, Illinois has signed several quality recruiting classes.  Despite the ebb and flow on the field (Rose Bowl in 2007, no bowl in 2008 and 2009), the talent output has been consistent.                

    NFL Players: 29

    Offense: 17

    Defense: 12

    The Household Names: Pierre Thomas, Brandon Lloyd, Rashard Mendenhall 

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Dick Butkus, Harold "Red" Grange, George Halas, Bobby Mitchell, Ray Nitschke, Hugh "Shorty" Ray

    Undergrad Enrollment: 31,173

    State Population: 12.83 million

16: Fresno State

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    Fresno State

    Frankly, I didn't see this one coming.  When the green "V" was put on the helmets to implore the program to "own the valley" from which it draws both its support and talent base, NFL rosters were the ultimate beneficiaries. 

    Pat Hill arrived in Fresno in 1997 and instilled the "anyone, anywhere" scheduling mentality.  Aggressive scheduling primed the recruiting pump and put kids on television and into the NFL.                    

    NFL Players: 30

    Offense: 18

    Defense: 12

    The Household Names: David Carr, Ryan Mathews

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: 0

    Undergrad Enrollment: 22,816

    State Population: 37.5 million

15 (tie): Louisville

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    Louisville is a program rebuilding, but the talent push to the NFL has been ongoing.  Second-year head coach Charlie Strong brings a wealth of SEC coaching experience to the table.                

    NFL Players: 31

    Offense: 21

    Defense: 10

    The Household Names: David Akers, Deion Branch

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Johnny Unitas

    Undergrad Enrollment: 15,125

    State Population: 4.34 million

15 (tie): Oregon State

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    Oregon State

    Head coach Mike Riley has been around the NFL and has been at Oregon State (this time around) since 2003.  A local Corvallis high school football hero, Riley won a national championship as a player under Bear Bryant at Alabama.  There is no doubt Riley has an eye for talent as he continues to send players across the draft stage.                  

    NFL Players: 31

    Offense: 14

    Defense: 17

    The Household Names: Steven Jackson, Matt Moore, Chad Ochocinco

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: 0

    Undergrad Enrollment: 20,143

    State Population: 3.8 million

14 (tie): Alabama

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    Nick Saban is the prototype when it comes to banging the "I can get you to the NFL" drum on the recruiting trail.  The Belichick disciple card is still as relevant as ever and there is no denying that Saban flat-out develops NFL talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. 

    Saban awoke a sleeping giant at LSU and he returned Alabama to the mountaintop by recruiting and developing raw talent into NFL caliber skill sets.  Saban maintains as good a pro pipeline as any head coach in the game.                    

    NFL Players: 32

    Offense: 11

    Defense: 21

    The Household Names: Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, DeMeco Ryans

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: John Hannah, Don Hutson, Joe Namath, Ozzie Newsome, Bart Starr, Dwight Stephenson, Derrick Thomas

    Undergrad Enrollment: 24,884

    State Population: 4.78 million

14 (tie): Georgia Tech

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    Georgia Tech

    Head coach Paul Johnson (ACC Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2009) leads the Yellow Jackets into his fourth season as the program faces a recent NCAA probation ruling.  Johnson inherited the program on probation with reduced scholarships and performed relatively well in implementing his systems and developing next level athletes.                 

    NFL Players: 32

    Offense: 13

    Defense: 19

    The Household Names: Keith Brooking, Tashard Choice, Calvin Johnson

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Joe Guyon, Billy Shaw

    Undergrad Enrollment: 13,672

    State Population: 9.69 million

14 (tie): Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame

    Notre Dame always has and always will recruit nationally.  Head coach Brian Kelly enters his second season in South Bend after taking over for Charlie Weis.  Prior to Notre Dame, Kelly's coaching experience has always been at smaller programs.  It will be interesting to see if Kelly can polish up the Notre Dame brand and it will be interesting to see what that will mean for the NFL.            

    NFL Players: 32

    Offense: 20

    Defense: 12

    The Household Names: Brady Quinn, Justin Tuck

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Nick Buoninconti, Dave Casper, George Connor, Paul Hornung, John McNally, Wayne Millner, Joe Montana, Alan Page, George Trafton

    Undergrad Enrollment: 8,371

    State Population: 6.49 million

14 (tie): Wisonsin

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    Barry Alvarez turned a desperate program around and the transition from the Alvarez era to current head coach Bret Bielema in 2006 has been relatively seamless.  The winning ways have kept the talent taps running in Madison and onward to the NFL.                

    NFL Players: 32

    Offense: 22

    Defense: 10

    The Household Names: Michael Bennett, Owen Daniels

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Arnie Herber, Elroy Hirsch, Mike Webster

    Undergrad Enrollment: 28,960

    State Population: 5.7 million

13 (tie): North Carolina

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    North Carolina

    The UNC football program is staggering into what looks to be a dark room on the heels of multiple player suspensions last season and the untimely dismissal of Butch Davis just two weeks prior to the start of camp this summer.  Davis is an exceptional recruiter who leverages his wealth of NFL and big program college coaching experience. 

    With a bumpy Tobacco Road ahead, the UNC brand should overcome, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the football program slide down this list over time.              

    NFL Players: 33

    Offense: 18

    Defense: 15

    The Household Names: Hakeem Nicks, Julius Peppers, Jeff Saturday

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Chris Hanburger, Lawrence Taylor

    Undergrad Enrollment: 18,579

    State Population: 9.54 million

13 (tie): Virginia Tech

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    Virginia Tech

    In a world of coaching musical chairs, Virginia Tech alumnus Frank Beamer has been a model of continuity and consistency in Blacksburg.  Beamer fields competitive teams year in and year out and the same goes for his talent contribution to the next level.            

    NFL Players: 33

    Offense: 16

    Defense: 17

    The Household Names: DeAngelo Hall, Michael Vick

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Bruce Smith

    Undergrad Enrollment: 30,739

    State Population: 8 million

12: Oregon

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    Head coach Chip Kelly is one of the most innovative offensive minds in the game today.  Assuming the recent NCAA heat doesn't turn into fire, Kelly should continue to benefit from the longstanding West Coast relationships among his staff members and the lure of the Nike culture in Eugene.  Building on a national championship game appearance and improved conference footing, Kelly's athletes should play up to the NFL level.                 

    NFL Players: 34

    Offense: 17

    Defense: 17

    The Household Names: LeGarrette Blount, Jonathan Stewart

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Dan Fouts, Alphonse Leemans, Mel Renfro, Norm Van Brocklin, Dave Wilcox, Gary Zimmerman

    Undergrad Enrollment: 19,534

    State Population: 3.8 million

11 (tie): Florida State

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    Florida State

    In my opinion (and I know this doesn't exactly make me an oracle), Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher is the best recruiter in college football.  Joining Bobby Bowden's staff as "head coach-in-waiting" afforded Fisher the opportunity to deepen his already deep recruiting ties in the Southeast as he prepared to take the wheel from the legend. 

    Fisher has a reputation for developing quarterbacks, and in a state overflowing with talent, Fisher should have no trouble moving Florida State up this list in the years to come.  What he lacks in NFL experience, Fisher makes up for in NFL draft results. 

    Also, the Nick Saban lineage on his resume and the national championship ring on his finger don't hurt.                     

    NFL Players: 37

    Offense: 16

    Defense: 21

    The Household Names: Anquan Boldin, Antonio Cromartie, Christian Ponder

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Fred Biletnikoff, Deion Sanders

    Undergrad Enrollment: 31,005

    State Population: 18.8 million

11 (tie): Maryland

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    NFL talent production has not been slow going for the Terps.  New head coach Randy Edsall has some NFL coaching experience, but Ralph Friedgen was responsible for consistently developing NFL talent during his decade in College Park.                 

    NFL Players: 37

    Offense: 20

    Defense: 17

    The Household Names: Vernon Davis, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Shawne Merriman,

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: 

    Undergrad Enrollment: 26,922

    State Population: 5.78 million

11 (tie): Michigan

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    Despite being amidst the turmoil of transition right now, Michigan has always been a part of the NFL talent conversation.  The Rich Rodriguez era has given way to the Brady Hoke era in Ann Arbor, but a shift in offensive philosophy doesn't figure to decrease the quality and quantity of prime talent going blue.            

    NFL Players: 37

    Offense: 18

    Defense: 19

    The Household Names: Tom Brady, Chad Henne, Charles Woodson, Braylon Edwards, Mario Manningham  

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: George Allen, Dan Dierdorf, Len Ford, Benny Friedman

    Undergrad Enrollment: 26,208

    State Population: 9.88 million

10: Penn State

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    Penn State

    Joe Paterno has done so much as a football coach and his talent contribution to the NFL is certainly no exception.  For 60 years Paterno has run his program formula and the result has been a continuous push of talent to the professional ranks.

    NFL Players: 39

    Offense: 19

    Defense: 20

    The Household Names: Kerry Collins, Robbie Gould 

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Jack Ham, Franco Harris, Mike Michalske, Lenny Moore, Mike Munchak

    Undergrad Enrollment: 38,594

    State Population: 12.7 million

9 (tie): Auburn

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    The last two Heisman Trophies and the last two crystal footballs reside in the state of Alabama as a testament to the talent being developed in that part of the country.  Auburn finally broke through to a BCS Championship last year, but former Auburn players have been breaking through to the NFL for a long time.               

    NFL Players: 41

    Offense: 19

    Defense: 22

    The Household Names: Cam Newton, Ronnie Brown, Takeo Spikes, Cadillac Williams

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Frank Gatski

    Undergrad Enrollment: 20,221

    State Population: 4.78 million

9 (tie): California

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    In his 10 years in Berkeley, head coach Jeff Tedford has revitalized the program and guided the Golden Bears to national relevancy.  Known as a relentless worker who often sleeps in his office, Tedford, a California native and the state's highest paid public employee, has his fingerprints all over NFL depth charts.            

    NFL Players: 41

    Offense: 23

    Defense: 18

    The Household Names: Nnamdi Asomugha, Scott Fujita, Tony Gonzalez, DeSean Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Aaron Rodgers

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Les Richter

    Undergrad Enrollment: 25,530

    State Population: 37.5 million

9 (tie): Nebraska

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    It was always my impression that Bo Pelini had limited recruiting responsibilities as defensive coordinator at LSU. True or not, Pelini's Nebraska staff has landed and developed some quality talent that is more in tune with the rich heritage of the program. Some believe the move to the Big Ten will benefit Nebraska as a more natural geographical fit. Regardless, Pelini has developed numerous current pros throughout his career with more to come.

    NFL Players: 41

    Offense: 18

    Defense: 23

    The Household Names: Ndamukong Suh, Carl Nicks 

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Bob Brown, Guy Chamberlin, Link Lyman

    Undergrad Enrollment: 18,955

    State Population: 1.83 million

8: Oklahoma

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    Bob Stoops has been doing it and doing it and doing it well for a long time.  With a plethora of Sooners on NFL rosters, there is no denying that Stoops has been a stalwart when it comes to developing talent that can play on Sundays.  Stoops recruits Texas hard and he fills his rosters out with guys who believe he will show them the NFL door.                   

    NFL Players: 42

    Offense: 24

    Defense: 18

    The Household Names: Sam Bradford, Tommie Harris, Adrian Peterson 

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Troy Aikman, Tommy McDonald, Lee Roy Selmon

    Undergrad Enrollment: 20,892

    State Population: 3.75 million

7 (tie): Florida

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    It's not much of an exaggeration to say that Florida has been talented three deep at every position for two decades.  Will Muschamp inherits a loaded program that resembles the loaded roster Urban Meyer inherited from Ron Zook. 

    Florida is perpetually swamped with talent and Muschamp brings NFL coaching experience to Gainesville.  Also, Muschamp has paid his coaching dues playing significant rolls under Saban, Tuberville and Mack Brown.                    

    NFL Players: 43

    Offense: 22

    Defense: 21

    The Household Names: Jabar Gaffney, Rex Grossman, Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow 

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Emmitt Smith, Jack Youngblood

    Undergrad Enrollment: 32,064

    State Population: 18.8 million

7 (tie): Iowa

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    Kirk Ferentz arrived in Iowa City in 1998 following two consecutive NFL position coach jobs (OL) in the NFL.  It seems as though Ferentz's name is mentioned for just about every pro and high-profile college coaching vacancy these days, but the Hawkeye head coach insists he's happy at Iowa.  Iowa or elsewhere, Ferentz will remain a terrific talent evaluator and developer in the eyes of NFL general managers.                

    NFL Players: 43

    Offense: 18

    Defense: 28

    The Household Names: Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, Aaron Kampman

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Paul Krause, Andre Tippett, Emlen Tunnell 

    Undergrad Enrollment: 20,574

    State Population: 3.1 million 

6: Tennessee

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    There always seems to be a talent bumper crop on Rocky Top.  Phil Fulmer spent 30 years in Knoxville and during that time the program produced NFL talent year after year.  The Lane Kiffin tour stop flickered into the Derek Dooley era and the program is hunting for positive traction again in the SEC East. 

    NFL Players: 44

    Offense: 21

    Defense: 23

    The Household Names: Arian Foster, Albert Haynesworth, Peyton Manning, Jason Witten 

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Doug Atkins, Reggie White

    Undergrad Enrollment: 22,000

    State Population: 6.35 million

5: Georgia

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    In recent years, Georgia has proven to be chronically overrated on the football field, but it's impossible to discount Mark Richt's ability to develop guys who end up playing on Sunday. The Bulldog fan base is worn out on the ups and downs, but the reality is that NFL talent delivery has been stuck on up.            

    NFL Players: 45

    Offense: 19

    Defense: 26

    The Household Names: Champ Bailey, A.J. Green, Knowshon Moreno, Richard Seymour, Matthew Stafford

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Fran Tarkenton, Charley Trippi

    Undergrad Enrollment: 26,142

    State Population: 9.69 million

4: Ohio State

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    Ohio State

    The NFL has long been the lucky recipient of talent developed in the Horseshoe.  Say what you will about his recent compliance transgressions, but Jim Tressel refined loads of talent during his ten years in Columbus.  Luke Fikell has been tabbed to carry the torch for the storied program and he'll be expected to bring big talent in and push big talent up to the NFL.                       

    NFL Players: 51



    The Household Names: Ted Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez, A.J. Hawk, Santonio Holmes, Nick Mangold, Terrelle Pryor, Will Smith, Beanie Wells, Antoine Winfield

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Sid Gillman, Lou Groza, Dante Lavelli, Dick LeBeau, Jim Parker, Ed Sabol, Paul Warfield, Bill Willis

    Undergrad Enrollment: 38,479

    State Population: 11.54 million

3: LSU

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    The unfair knock on Les Miles that he's been sustaining a program with Nick Saban's players is a notion that's been chronologically buried on the bayou. It's been said that you can recruit for LSU on a moped, but Miles deserves full credit for fortifying the state borders, hiring top notch recruiters and consistently reaching his paws into the Houston/East Texas region. The only things certain in this life are death, taxes and LSU sending kids to the league.

    NFL Players: 52

    Offense: 26

    Defense: 26

    The Household Names: Joe Addai, Bradie James, Dwayne Bowe, Ryan Clark, Glenn Dorsey, Kevin Faulk, LaRon Landry, Patrick Peterson 

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Jim Taylor, Y.A. Tittle, Steve Van Buren

    Undergrad Enrollment: 23,686

    State Population: 4.53 million

2: Texas

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    One of the true recruiting gold standards for as long as I can remember, Mack Brown owns a fertile recruiting ground the size of, well, Texas. With infrequent exceptions (often at the hand of Bob Stoops), Brown gets who he wants, fills his classes early and takes kids from signing day to draft day as well as anyone in the business.

    NFL Players: 54

    Offense: 25

    Defense: 29

    The Household Names: Colt McCoy, Cedric Benson, Ricky Williams, Casey "Big Snack" Hampton 

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Earl Campbell, Tom Landry, Bobby Layne, Tex Schramm

    Undergrad Enrollment: 38,168

    State Population:  25.15 million

1 (tie): Miami

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    The University of Miami has impacted more drafts than Budweiser.  Miami has been a talent machine forever.  I know guys who, as a strategy, develop fantasy football teams around players from The U.  Unfortunately for the Canes, the investigation file in the NCAA office points to a precipitous fall down and potentially off this list.  As for today, Miami shares the top spot.               

    NFL Players: 59

    Offense: 29

    Defense: 30

    The Household Names: Frank Gore, Devin Hester, Ray Lewis, Santana Moss, Ed Reed, Antrel Rolle, Jeremy Shockey, Jonathan Vilma, Reggie Wayne, Kellen Winslow

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Ted Hendricks, Michael Irvin, Jim Kelly, Jim Otto

    Undergrad Enrollment: 10,368

    State Population: 18.8 million

1 (tie): USC

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    The University of Southern California has been a football factory for generations.  Moving on from the Reggie Bush saga, USC is a program that should fight on through scholarship losses and sanctions.  Recruits are still lining up to play at the Coliseum and that means the NFL pipeline will persevere.                       

    NFL Players: 59

    Offense: 32

    Defense: 28

    The Household Names: Reggie Bush, Matt Cassel, Matt Leinart, Clay Matthews, Taylor Mays, Troy Polamalu, Mark Sanchez

    Pro Football Hall of Fame: Marcus Allen, Morris Badgro, Frank Gifford, Ronnie Lott, Bruce Matthews, Ron Mix, Anthony Munoz, O.J. Simpson, Lynn Swann, Willie Wood, Ron Yary

    Undergrad Enrollment: 17,380

    State Population: 37.5 million