Colleges That Have Produced the Most NFL Players

From college to the pros

As with many professional pursuits, the path to gridiron glory begins in college. NFL rosters are comprised of players from colleges large and small, but some NCAA programs excel at constantly cranking out top-quality players who go on to the pros. While some schools are known for producing CEOs or millionaires, these 11 colleges, accounting for ties, have the most NFL players on active rosters in the 2020 season, according to NCAA data.

Clemson University (SC)

NFL players: 29

U.S. News rank: 74 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment: 25,822

4-year graduation rate: 60%

Since 1902 the Clemson Tigers have clawed their way to more than 740 overall victories, 21 conference championships and 46 bowl appearances. Clemson has also amassed three national championships, the first coming in 1981 and more recent titles coming in 2016 and 2018.

Learn more about Clemson University.

University of Notre Dame (IN)

NFL players: 29

U.S. News rank: 19, National Universities

Total enrollment: 12,681

4-year graduation rate: 91%

Since first taking the field in 1899, the Fighting Irish have gone on to become one of the more storied programs in college football. The program has amassed more than 850 wins, 38 bowl game appearances and 13 national championships, according to the NCAA, the most recent in 1988.

Learn more about the University of Notre Dame.

University of Oklahoma

NFL players: 29

U.S. News rank: 133 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment: 28,079

4-year graduation rate: 44%

The first season of Oklahoma football was in 1903. The Sooners have since hit more than 850 overall wins, claimed 48 conference championships and played in 53 bowl games. Oklahoma also has seven national championships and has produced two of the last three Heisman Trophy winners, a prize awarded to the top player in college football at the end of each season.

Learn more about the University of Oklahoma.

University of Miami

NFL players: 30

U.S. News rank: 49 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment: 17,811

4-year graduation rate: 73%

The Hurricanes blew into NCAA football in 1936 and have picked up nearly 600 wins, nine conference championships and 40 bowl appearances. Miami was a tour de force in the 1980s, picking up three of their five national championships in that decade and the most recent in 2001.

Learn more about the University of Miami.

Pennsylvania State University–University Park

NFL players: 32

U.S. News rank: 63 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment: 47,223

4-year graduation rate: 68%

The Penn State Nittany Lions, who began play in 1889, are among the most storied programs in NCAA history. To date, Penn State has racked up more than 870 wins and four conference championships, and has played in 50 bowl games. PSU also claimed the NCAA national championship twice in the 1980s and has remained an enduring force in college football for decades.

Learn more about Pennsylvania State University–University Park.

University of Georgia

NFL players: 32

U.S. News rank: 47 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment: 38,920

4-year graduation rate: 66%

The Bulldogs kicked off their inaugural season in 1902 and surpassed the 800 win mark in the 2019 season. Those wins are paired with 13 conference championships and 56 bowl appearances over the years. Georgia claims five national championships, with its most recent in 1980.

Learn more about the University of Georgia.

University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

NFL players: 33

U.S. News rank: 24 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment: 48,090

4-year graduation rate: 80%

A perennial force in college football, the Wolverines have racked up more than 930 wins, 42 conference championships, 48 bowl appearances and nine national championships, with most of those coming in the early decades of the program, which started in 1881.

Learn more about the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor.

University of Florida

NFL players: 39

U.S. News rank: 30 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment: 52,407

4-year graduation rate: 67%

The Gators have bit down on more than 700 victories since the program launched in 1911. Along with those wins come nine conference championships, 45 bowl game appearances and three national championships, most recently in 2008.

Learn more about the University of Florida.

Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge

NFL players: 41

U.S. News rank: 153 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment: 31,756

4-year graduation rate: 44%

The history of LSU football stretches back to 1902. The program has claimed 12 conference championships, played in 52 bowl games and has more than 780 wins. The Tigers have also won four national championships, most recently in 2019.

Learn more about Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge.

Ohio State University–Columbus

NFL players: 50

U.S. News rank: 53 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment: 61,391

4-year graduation rate: 62%

The Buckeyes have won more than 800 games since the inaugural 1904 season. Those wins include 39 conference championships, 51 bowl appearances and eight national championships, with the most recent title coming in 2014.

Learn more about Ohio State University–Columbus.

University of Alabama

NFL players: 56

U.S. News rank: 143 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment: 38,100

4-year graduation rate: 50%

The Alabama Crimson Tide program has been a dominant force in college football since 1902. The program counts more than 930 wins, 27 conference championships, 71 bowl game appearances and a slew of national championships. The university counts 17 national titles to its name, albeit with some dispute, and has claimed four in the last decade alone.

Learn more about the University of Alabama.

Find your all-American college.

Get more information about how to choose a college, and check out the complete rankings of the Best Colleges to find the school that’s best for you. For more advice and information on how to select a college, connect with U.S. News Education on Twitter and Facebook.

Colleges with the most NFL players

— University of Alabama

— Ohio State University–Columbus

— Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge

— University of Florida

— University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

— Pennsylvania State University–University Park

— University of Georgia

— University of Miami

— Clemson University

— University of Notre Dame

— University of Oklahoma

More from U.S. News

5 Myths About Athletic Scholarships

What the Coronavirus Means for College Sports and Recruiting

10 College Majors With the Highest Starting Salaries

Colleges That Have Produced the Most NFL Players originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 10/14/20: This slideshow has been updated to include new information and reflect ranks from the 2021 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings.

Related Categories:

Latest News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up