Colleges with Most NFL Players

Colleges with Most NFL Players

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The Crimson Tide has the most players at arguably five position groups this season, including at wide receiver instead of linebacker.

The National Football League finally released its annual roster breakdown for opening weekend, and to the surprise of no one Alabama had the most players of any school with 54. 

It's the fourth straight season the Crimson Tide has held that status, of having the most former players on active rosters when the NFL kicked off the regular season. It had 44 in 2018, 56 in 2019, and 53 last year, even when some players opted out due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Alabama also shared the league lead with 39 in 2017, so it's added 15-20 players in the past four years, which is remarkable. 

Here's the wow factor ...

When Nick Saban took over the Crimson Tide in 2007, Alabama had 21 former players in the NFL that season, which was tied for 19th. 

Because Alabama didn't have anyone selected in the subsequent draft, and then just four players in 2009 (Andre Smith, Glen Coffee, Antoine Caldwell and Rashad Johnson) the overall number dropped. The Crimson Tide wasn't among the top 25 programs in active players in the NFL again until 2011, when it had 26.  

Nowadays you see Alabama called position U at numerous spots, including running back, defensive line, linebacker and defensive back. 

In terms of just pure numbers (quantity only, not quality of talent), the Crimson Tide is at least tied for the most players at four positions in the league this season: 

• Running back 6

• Wide receiver 8 (tied with Clemson, LSU)

• Defensive tackle 9

• Defensive back 12

That the Crimson Tide added wide receivers and subtracted linebackers is extremely telling about how things have changed under Saban. 

Alabama could also claim a share of the quarterback title at three, although the NFL considers Jalen Hurts to be from Oklahoma since he last played for the Sooners. AJ McCarron also got hurt before the season started. 

Five other programs are at least tied for the lead of two position groups: Iowa (tackle and tight end), LSU (wide receivers and linebackers), Michigan (guard and defensive end), Missouri (center and quarterback) and Notre Dame (tight end and linebacker). 

Note that the list didn't include Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State or Oklahoma. 

More NFL Roster Breakdown 

Alabama's numbers are actually a lot better than they look. 

This is the only time of the year that the NFL does its version of the official census because roster are otherwise always in flux. 

Again, for Week 1 there were 54 former Crimson Tide players active. Per The Ultimate Alabama Crimson Tide Players in the NFL Database, the number is already up to 56 heading into this weekend. 

Moreover, there 17 additional Alabama players with NFL teams who are not active on rosters (the majority of whom are either on practice squads or injured reserve, neither of which count toward the 53-man team). 

That's a total of 73, which no other program can come close to touching. 

Rounding out the top five was Ohio State (50), LSU (47), Georgia and Notre Dame (both with 36).

The Big-12 and Pac 12 didn't have a program in the top 10. Southern California wasn't in the top 20 (while the other USC, South Carolina, was) which helps explain why the Trojans are looking for another head coach. 

According to the SEC it had a total of 363 former players on opening weekend rosters, up from 356 last season.

  • Alabama 54
  • LSU 47
  • Georgia 36
  • Florida 33
  • South Carolina and Teas A&M 24
  • Auburn 23
  • Mississippi State 20
  • Kentucky, Ole Miss, Missouri and Tennessee 18
  • Arkansas 15
  • Vanderbilt 14

Tide-bits 

• Alabama getting JoJo Earle so involved in the offense this early in the season has been telling, especially when he's been targeted. The true freshman led all receivers with seven catches for 85 yards, including a 39-yard connection with reserve quarterback Paul Tyson. Starter Bryce Young looked to him six times, including on a third down, and completed all six throws. Earle's going to be a force this season. 

• Only two teams in the SEC have had more penalties than Alabama's 17, Tennessee (18) and Ole Miss (26). If that doesn't annoy Saban enough, seven of the Crimson Tide's nine last week were for 10 or 15 yards.  

• Most surprising statistic of the young season: Alabama leads the SEC in time of possession.  

• Least surprising stat: The Crimson Tide has the early lead in turnover margin at plus-four. 

• Oddsmakers at SI Sportsbook believe in Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, listing Alabama (2-0 SU; 1-1 ATS) as the favorites (+200) to win the national championship for the second consecutive season.

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Christopher Walsh's notes column appears Fridays on BamaCentral.

The National Football League finally released its annual roster breakdown for opening weekend, and to the surprise of no one Alabama had the most players of any school with 54. 

It's the fourth straight season the Crimson Tide has held that status, of having the most former players on active rosters when the NFL kicked off the regular season. It had 44 in 2018, 56 in 2019, and 53 last year, even when some players opted out due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

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