Detailed Findings & Methodology
Having talented players is the biggest key to success in college football. Coaching is important, but having strong, fast, and agile athletes who can take their talent to the next level is crucially important. Alabama has been the dominant program in the NCAA, winning five titles since 2009.
It’s probably no coincidence that Alabama has also had the most players drafted since 2010 with 61. Twenty-one of those players were drafted in the first round, and the Crimson Tide will likely add several more first rounders in 2018. All of the top 20 schools at churning out NFL players have at least one national championship.
Alabama has pumped the most players into the NFL over recent years, but it still falls behind fellow SEC schools LSU and Florida — the schools with the most alumni currently in the NFL. Heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, LSU and Florida each have 56 alumni in the league, while Alabama has 49. Two other SEC schools, Georgia and Auburn, also made it into the top 10. Alabama has produced 352 NFL players in its history, the most of any SEC school but just the eighth most in NFL history.
Even though SEC schools lead the way, programs all over the country have a proven track record of producing NFL players. The best 30 college football programs at producing NFL players are in 20 different states, including California, Texas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
As college football programs have built up decades of history, many seem to have established a knack for turning out certain positions better than other schools. Purdue has never been a powerhouse program, but it’s produced three Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in Drew Brees, Len Dawson, and Bob Griese. And of the 378 all-time players Penn State sent to the NFL, more than 60 played linebacker. Several programs, including Florida, Texas, and Ohio State all claim to produce the best defensive backs in the NFL.
In order to determine which colleges produce the best pro prospects, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed NFL data from Pro Football Reference. Schools were ranked based on the number of players each college has sent to the NFL, how many games those players played, and how well those players performed at the next level. If a player attended more than one school, their stats were considered for both programs. Pro Bowls refers to the number of total Pro Bowls a school’s products were selected to attend.